6.811: Principles and Practice of Assistive Technology

Syllabus and Timeline

6.811 is a project-based course. In small teams, you will work closely with a person with a disability in the Cambridge area to design a device, piece of equipment, app, or other solution that helps them live more independently. Over the course of the term, each team meets with its "client," iterates through multiple prototypes, and learns about the challenges and realities of designing technologies for people with disabilities.

To be successful in developing assistive technology that is effective and gains acceptance, you will need to understand the person's realities and needs, grasp the situations and environments in which the device will be used, and appreciate the broader context of disability and assistive technology in society. To realize this goal, this course has the following components:

Weeks 1-5: Foundational Lectures and Understanding User Requirements

We will introduce the history and current state of assistive technology and the challenges that remain today. The specific concepts that we will explore in class include contextual inquiry, user analysis, and evaluation metrics.

Please contact TA Tom Lieber or Professor Teller at ppat@csail.mit.edu with any questions.