UCLIC Research Seminar Series

UCLIC Research Seminar 15th June:  Christopher Frauenberger, Vienna University of Technology – OutsideTheBox - Rethinking Technology Design with Autistic Children
Christopher Frauenberger, Vienna University of Technology

Title

UCLIC Research Seminar 15th June: Christopher Frauenberger, Vienna University of Technology – OutsideTheBox - Rethinking Technology Design with Autistic Children

This is a UCLIC and LKL Joint Seminar

This is a joint London Knowledge Lab and UCL Interaction Centre seminar.

Abstract

Most technology that is designed for people with disabilities, pragmatically focuses on mitigating their functional limitations. With the OutsideTheBox project, we take a different approach and critically reflect on concepts of disability and how these are embodied in the technologies we design. In our work, we aim to explore meaningful roles for technology with autistic children that responds to desires and ideas that go beyond narrow conceptions of assistance or intervention. Such open and holistic approaches require new ways of participation of autistic children in design to unlock opportunity spaces that would otherwise be inaccessible to neuro-typical adult designers. In this talk, I will present work conducted in the past one and a half years during which we have engaged children in intense co-design processes to create their own smart thing. I discuss how we re-interpreted participatory methods to facilitate collaboration and how each smart thing we created, tells a unique story about the life-worlds of autistic children. I will present our efforts in capturing our design experiences in a new format we call Design Exposes, to carefully construct knowledge from this work and I discuss the challenge of how to evaluate the experiences autistic children have with such technology.

Biography

Christopher Frauenberger is Senior Researcher at Vienna University of Technology and Principle Investigator of OutsideTheBox- Rethinking Assistive Technologies with Children with Autism (outsidethebox.at). He holds a PhD in Computer Science from Queen Mary, University of London and subsequently worked as Postdoctoral Fellow at Sussex University. In his academic research he focused on exploring interactive technologies in the context of people with disabilities. This included designing auditory displays for the visually impaired, investigating non-verbal communication in people with schizophrenia and technologically enhanced learning environments for autistic children. Methodologically he is committed to participatory design approaches and often interprets collaborative techniques from other fields in his work.