6.S196: Principles and Practice of Assistive Technology

Update: starting Fall 2012, EECS students can use 6.S196 as an AUS or as a Department Lab. In MechE, 6.S196 is a "Suggested Concentration" subject in the CIR track. We are looking into other types of credit for Aero/Astro students. We also encourage students from BCS, MAS, and everywhere else to join!

(The information below is for Fall 2011; the Fall 2012 PPAT website will be up soon.)

To be informed about registration information and other related news for the Fall 2012 offering of PPAT, please complete the form here.

banner for course with wheelchair, MBTA sign (credit to Dan4th on Flickr), mouth paintbrush, and accessible tablet

  • Lectures: Monday and Wednesday, 1pm-2pm in 32-124
  • Labs: Monday and Wednesday, 3pm-5pm in 32-044
  • Panels: Occasional Fridays, 1pm in 32-155
  • PPAT (6.S196) is an interdisciplinary 12-unit project-based subject in which small teams of students will connect with a "client" (a person with a disability) in the Boston area, learn about his or her challenges, and develop an assistive device, solution, or technology that meets his or her needs. Some example projects might include adapted sports equipment, mobile phone apps for voice synthesis and communication, aids for people with visual impairments, aids for people with tremor, accessible e-book readers, more comfortable or hygienic fittings for prosthetic devices, or novel mounting solutions for wheelchairs and accessories. Over the semester, you will meet with the client and work on designs and prototypes that suit his or her requirements. You will also present your work to a panel of AT experts, six weeks into the term and at the end of the term. The projects may be a strong fit for entries into the MIT IDEAS Challenge/Global Challenge, the MIT100K entrepreneurship competition, or other design and product development venues.

    The course will be led by Prof. Seth Teller (EECS), with contributions from Prof. Rob Miller (EECS) and a number of guest lecturers and panel members from the community.

    We are seeking students at all levels and from all technical backgrounds, particularly students in II (ME), III (MSE), IV (Arch.), VI (EECS), IX (BCS), XVI (Aero/Astro), XX (BE), and HST. We expect that the range of projects will include software, sensing, electronics, microcontroller interfaces, mechanical design, and/or materials selection and prototyping.

    We have also initiated collaborations with the MIT IS&T Assistive Technology Information Center (ATIC), MIT's Public Service Center (PSC), and the MIT Edgerton Center. We have established partnerships with several client groups, including The Boston Home in Dorchester, The Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton, and the The Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital in Braintree and Natick.

    This is a great opportunity to practice systems thinking and gain user-oriented engineering design experience while developing a solution that could have a positive impact on someone's life.

    Please contact TA William Li or Prof. Teller at ppat@csail.mit.edu with any questions.