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  • Postdoctoral Fellowship application open: Accessibility researcher in physical computing and fabrication

    10:17 pm

    CREATE and UW departments are looking for a postdoc researcher to investigate using fabrication and physical computing technologies to address accessibility.

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  • Rory Cooper, CREATE Advisory Board member, receives IEEE Biomedical Engineering Award

    8:46 pm

    Congratulations to CREATE Advisory Board member Rory Cooper on receiving the 2022 IEEE Biomedical Engineering Award!

    For more than 25 years, Cooper has been developing technology to improve the lives of people with disabilities and his inventions have helped countless wheelchair users get around with more ease and comfort. 

    Rory A. Cooper, a white man with salt-and-pepper hair, dressed in a suit and tie.

    Cooper’s first innovations in mobility were a modification to the back brace he wore after a spinal cord injury left him paralyzed from the waist down, then a better wheelchair, then an electric-powered version that helped its user stand up. After earning his Ph.D. in electrical & computer engineering with a concentration in bioengineering at University of California at Santa Barbara, he focused his career on developing assistive technology.

    Cooper (second from the left) and his colleagues—David Constantine, Jorge Candiotti, and Andrin Vuthaj (standing)—at the University of Pittsburgh’s Human Engineering Research Laboratories working on the MEBot. Photo: ABIGAIL ALBRIGHT

    Since 2013, Cooper and his team at the University of Pittsburgh’s Human Engineering Research Laboratories have been working to develop advancements including a wheelchair that can travel on rough terrain. 

    The most common cause of emergency-room visits by wheelchair users is falling from the chair or tipping over. "This often happens when the individual’s wheelchair hits thresholds in doorways, drives off small curbs, or transitions from a sidewalk to a ramp,” Cooper said.

    The team hopes that the Mobility Enhancement Robotic Wheelchair, known as the MEBot, can minimize such injuries.

    The MEBot, can climb curbs up to 20 centimeters high and can self-level as it drives over uneven terrain. It does so thanks to six wheels that move up and down plus two sets of smaller omnidirectional wheels in the front and back. The wheelchair’s larger, powered wheels can reposition themselves to simulate front-, mid-, or rear-wheel drive.


    This article is excerpted from the IEEE Spectrum's award announcement.

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  • Carl James Dunlap Memorial Scholarship

    5:47 pm

    University of Washington student Carl James Dunlap had a powerful impact on the UW community with his vibrant personality and persistent advocacy for students with disabilities. To honor his legacy, the Dunlap family established the Carl James Dunlap Memorial Endowment. The Dunlap Memorial Endowment seeks to support students with disabilities encountering unique challenges when attending and completing higher education. The D Center is grateful to further Carl’s legacy by awarding two $2,000 Carl James Dunlap Memorial Scholarships to UW students for Winter 2023.

    The Dunlap Memorial Scholarship selection criteria is a UW student who identifies as having a disability and is currently receiving financial aid.


    Apply no later than January 31

    If you have any questions, please contact the D Center at dcenter@uw.edu.


    The Carl James Dunlap Memorial Fund is accepting donations to further help students with disabilities.

    Flyer for the Carl James Dunlap Memorial Scholarship with a link to contact dcenter@uw.edu for details and a picture of the UW Seattle campus in fall.

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  • UnlockedMaps provides real-time accessibility info for rail transit users

    7:30 pm

    Congratulations to CREATE Ph.D. student Ather SharifOrson (Xuhai) Xu, and team for this great project on transit access! Together they developed UnlockedMaps, a web-based map that allows users to see in real time how accessible rail transit stations are in six metro areas including Seattle, Philadelphia (where the project was first conceived by Sharif and a friend at a hackathon), Chicago, Toronto, New York, and the California Bay Area.

    screenshot of UnlockedMaps in New York. Stations that are labeled green are accessible while stations that are labeled orange are not accessible. Yellow stations have elevator outages reported.

    Shown here is a screenshot of UnlockedMaps in New York. Stations that are labeled green are accessible while stations that are labeled orange are not accessible. Yellow stations have elevator outages reported.

    Sharif, a UW doctoral student in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering advised by CREATE Co-Director Jacob O. Wobbrock, said the team also included nearby and accessible restaurant and bathroom data. "I think restaurants and restrooms are two of the most common things that people look for when they plan their commute. But no other maps really let you filter those out by accessibility. You have to individually click on each restaurant and check if it’s accessible or not, using Google Maps. With UnlockedMaps, all that information is right there!"

    Adapted from UW News interview with Ather Sharif. Read full article »

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  • CREATE Contributes to RFP on Healthcare Accessibility

    7:33 pm

    The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) requested public comment about comprehensive, longitudinal, person-centered care planning for people with Multiple Chronic Conditions (MCC). CREATE contributed to a disability justice-focused response that highlights nine recommendations:

    1. Account for medical trauma.
    2. Meet basic standards for accessibility.
    3. Value individual and community knowledge about MCC.
    4. Treat accessibility as a first-class component of patient care.
    5. Prioritize community.
    6. Look beyond "care."
    7. Remove financial barriers.
    8. Include people with MCC in planning.
    9. Enable people with MCC to enter clinical roles

    Read the full response (PDF).

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