Background Information on
Assistive Technology (AT) is a generic term
that includes both the description of devices that benefits older adults and
people with disabilities as well as the process that makes them available to
this population. An AT device is one that has a diagnostic, functional,
adaptive, or rehabilitative benefit. Engineers employ an AT process to design,
develop, test, and bring to market new devices. Other professionals are
involved in evaluating their need, prescribing them, supplying them, installing
and setting them up, instructing their use, and assessing their benefit. These
products promote greater independence, increased opportunities and
participation, and an enhanced quality of life for people with disabilities by
enabling them to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish (or
had great difficulty accomplishing, or required assistance) through enhanced or
alternate methods of interacting with the world.
There are an estimated 54 million
Americans (20.6 percent of the population) with some level of disability which
limits their ability to fully participate in society. As the nation ages, the
number of people experiencing such limitations will certainly increase. New AT
devices incorporating novel designs and emerging technologies have the
potential to further improve the lives of people with disabilities and older
ENGR110/210 consists of
semi-weekly lectures from experts in the field, including designers,
entrepreneurs, clinicians, and users. Beyond these lectures, students engage in
a team-based design project experience that includes need finding, project
identification, and design. Teams interact with users of assistive technology,
design coaches, and project partners.
Expectations for Students:
taking Perspectives in Assistive Technology, students will:
Gain a full appreciation for and an
understanding of the engineering, medical, and social aspects associated with
the design, development, and use of assistive technology,
Learn about a wide variety of
issues in technology development, including intellectual property rights and
best practices in community engagement, and
Engage in a comprehensive design
experience that includes working with users of assistive technology to identify
needs, prototype solutions, perform user testing, practice iterative design,
and communicate results.
The Winter Quarter
ENGR110/210 explores technology that benefits people with disabilities
and older adults.
The course consists of semi-weekly
class session that features discussions, guest lectures, field trips, an
assistive technology faire, a film screening, and student project
Enrollment is open to any student -
undergrad or grad - from any discipline.
The course content in non-technical.
There are no exams, quizzes, problem sets, or finals.
There is an opportunity to work on
projects that address real problems experienced by individuals in the local
community. These projects are pursued in teams of three. Students choose
projects pitches by people from the community who would benefit from a device
that would enhance their function, improve their independence, and / or
increase their quality of life.
Students can also suggest their own
projects - typically one that benefits themself (as a student with a
disability) or a family member (or friend) with a disability. Such projects
must be approved by the instructor.
The flexible course structure includes
individual and team-based assistive technology design project options as well
as a lectures-only option. The team project option is 3 units. A smaller
individual project option is 1 unit with a letter grade. Taking the course as a
seminar (no project) is 1 unit CR/NC.
Perspectives in Assistive Technology is a
one-quarter (10-week) course taught at Stanford during the Winter Quarter that
explores the design, development, and use of technology that benefits people
with disabilities and older adults. Students from diverse disciplines (mostly
mechanical engineers) and from all academic years (approximately equally
divided between upper class and graduate students) have enrolled in the
The course combines classroom
discussions, presentations by guest lecturers, team and individual projects,
site visits to medical and engineering facilities, an assistive technology
faire, a film screening, and project presentations by students.
This course consists of twice-weekly
presentations by guest lecturers who are experts in the greater assistive
technology field, including product designers, entrepreneurs, researchers,
clinicians, and assistive technology users. Lectures are open to all students
and community members (local individuals without a Stanford affiliation),
including non-enrolled students interested in a particular lecture and
individuals with disabilities. Guest lecturers address a wide variety of issues
in assistive technology such as disability and rehabilitation, research and
development, service learning, brainstorming and needfinding, design software,
intellectual property, technology licensing, personal perspectives, and human
subjects in research.
Tours of local medical facilities and
engineering laboratories (VA Spinal Cord Injury and Brain Injury Services and
Stanford Motion and Gait Analysis Laboratory) as well as the Magical Bridge
Playground (a facility designed to be accessible and inclusive for kids and
parents with disabilities) are scheduled during the quarter. They provide an
off-campus learning experience.
The Assistive Technology Faire provides
an opportunity for students and community members to get an up-close look at a
variety of commercial devices. Users of assistive technology products as well
as small companies and agencies serving individuals with disabilities and older
adults bring assistive technology devices to display and
Beyond these lectures and tours,
students can participate in an individual or team-based design project
experience that addresses problems faced by users of assistive
The course is taught by David L. Jaffe
who holds a BS degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan
and a MS degree in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University. Prior
to coming to Stanford, he was a Research Biomedical Engineer at the VA Palo
Alto Health Care System's Rehabilitation Research and Development Center. At
the VA his interests were designing, developing, testing, and bringing to
market microcomputer-based devices for veterans with disabilities including
communication, mobility, and information systems.
Course Description on Explore
ENGR 110: Perspectives in Assistive Technology (ENGR 110)
Seminar and student project course. Explores the
medical, social, ethical, and technical challenges surrounding the design,
development, and use of technologies that improve the lives of people with
disabilities and older adults. Guest lecturers include engineers, clinicians,
and individuals with disabilities. Field trips to local facilities, an
assistive technology faire, and a film screening. Students from any discipline
are welcome to enroll. 3 units for students (juniors, seniors, and graduate
students preferred) who pursue a team-based assistive technology project with a
community partner - enrollment limited to 24. 1 unit for seminar attendance
only (CR/NC) or individual project (letter grade). Total enrollment limited to
classroom capacity of 50. Projects can be continued as independent study in
Spring Quarter. Designated a Cardinal Course by the Haas Center for Public
- Teaching Team:
- David L. Jaffe, MS - dljaffe
- Course Lecturer
Expose students to the engineering,
medical, and social issues facing engineers, researchers, entrepreneurs,
clinicians, older adults, and individuals with disabilities in the design,
development, and use of assistive technology
Engage students in a team-based
project experience that exercises team working skills (leadership &
organization) and applies an engineering design process to address difficulties
experienced by individuals with disabilities and older adults
Provide an opportunity for students
to interact with users of assistive technology in the local community along
with health care professionals, coaches, and project partners
Enhance students' critical thinking
and communication skills, with specific emphasis on in-class discussions,
report writing, and project presentations
Encourage students to use their
engineering skills and design expertise to help individuals with disabilities
and older adults increase their independence and improve their quality of
To encourage learning, discussion, and respectful
interaction between students, the teaching team, and guest lecturers, the use
of digital devices such as laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc. is only
permitted before and after class and during the short class session
Each class session typically begins with a ten to
fifteen minute interactive discussion that promotes critical thinking,
analysis, and questioning.
Presentations are given by guest lecturers who address
a wide variety of issues in assistive technology such as disability and
rehabilitation, research and development, service learning, brainstorming and
need-finding, design software, intellectual property, technology licensing,
personal perspectives, and human subjects in research.
Tours of local medical facilities and engineering laboratories are
scheduled during the quarter.
The description of
the student project options are given below.
students whose schedule does not permit working on a team-based project in
ENGR110/210, one and two credit unit lecture-only options are offered.
As there are no assignments or exams, the grading is Credit / No Credit
- no letter grades are given for these options. Students enrolled with the one
unit option must attend at least 10 class sessions, including the first class
session, Introduction to Assistive
Technology, while the two unit option requires attendance in all class
One and Two Credit Letter Grade
For students whose schedule does not permit working on a
team-based project in ENGR110/210, but wish to receive a letter grade,
one and two credit letter grade options involving an Individual Project are
Individual Projects are designed to be
less time-consuming for a student whose schedule does not permit working on a
team-based project but wishes to receive a letter grade and one or two credit
units. Students working on an individual project must meet with the course
instructor during the second week of classes to discuss and agree upon the
specifics of the project. Also see Required Course and Individual Project
Individual Projects differ from Team
Projects in that they (Individual Projects) address simpler problems, have less
complex solutions, may not involve a user, or result in a lower level of
prototype functionality (such as producing a CAD design instead of a working
Optionally, two students may work
collectively on an Individual Project as a way of enhancing their project
experiences and making Individual Projects more appealing to students currently
on the Team Project Wait List.
Individual Projects are offered as
either 1 credit unit (requires attendance in at least 10 class sessions,
including the first class session, Introduction to
Assistive Technology) or 2 credit units (requires attendance in all 20
Individual Project Assignment
asked to interview an individual with a disability or an older adult, choose
and pursue a specific project activity, present their work, submit a final
comprehensive final project report that encompasses their efforts for the
entire quarter, and reflect on their experiences.
Team Project Option (3 credit
Students work in teams of no more than three to address
problems faced by individuals with disabilities and older adults in the local
community with the goal of fabricating, testing, and presenting a functional
prototype device or software application. Team project activities include
selecting team members; considering project choices; selecting a project;
meeting with project partners, assistive technology users, design coaches, and
the course instructor; understanding the problem; identifying the need;
searching for existing commercial products; brainstorming and identifying
appropriate project design alternatives; selecting a project design to pursue;
fabricating a prototype; testing and analyzing the performance of the
prototype; iterating the fabrication and testing steps; presenting and
demonstrating the project; writing a report; and reflecting on the course and
team project experience.
Mid-term Team Project Assignment
first half of the quarter, students form into teams, select a team project,
contact the individual who suggested the project, interview an individual with
a disability or an older adult who would benefit from the project, gather
information on existing products and research, determine the magnitude of the
need, brainstorm and evaluate potential solutions, present their findings, and
submit a report of the team's progress.
End-of-term Team Project Assignment
the second half of the quarter, teams choose a specific design concept and
fabricate / test a functional prototype. The embodiment of the chosen design
will be in the form of detailed sketches, drawings, and a functional prototype.
Teams present their design in class and submit a final comprehensive final
project report that encompasses their work for the entire quarter and
individually reflect on their course and team project
Project ideas come from various public
and private sources in the community, such as the Department of Veterans
Affairs (VA) Palo Alto Health Care System's Spinal Cord Injury Center, local
assistive living facilities, senior centers, as well as from foundations like
the Muscular Dystrophy Association, or from individuals.
Funding to support the course and
student projects come from Stanford sources, company partners, foundations,
Students working on team projects use
the Product Realization
Lab facilities to fabricate their prototypes. The fee for its use is
$60 for one quarter.
Students who wish to work on a team
project and have a limitation in the total number of units they can take in the
Winter Quarter may enroll for one or two credits, but are expected to complete
all the 3-unit course requirements.
|Team Mid-term Report
||Week of March
|Individual and Team Final
The course enrollment is capped at 27
students taking the course for 3 credit units - which equates to 9
three-student teams. This limit is imposed by the desirability of having
7-minute student team mid-term and -end-of-term presentations in the 80-minute
class session. (There is no cap on the 1 credit unit options.)
In the event that the cap is reached,
students can choose to be added to a Wait List. If a previously enrolled
student who enrolled for 3 credit units drops the course, his/her spot is given
to the first individual on the Wait List (with priority given to graduating
seniors). Please note that there is no guarantee that any students already
enrolled for 3 credit units will indeed drop the course although 11 students
have done so last year.
Here are all the enrollment options for
students to consider:
Wait List Option - As
described above, students can take their chances with the Wait List. If a spot
opens up, I will notify the student. If no spots open up, students will be
required to choose one of the following options.
Individual Project Option -
Students may enroll in the course for 1 credit unit and work on an individual
project for a letter grade and are required to attend at least 10 class
Seminar Option - Students
may enroll in the course for 1 credit unit and are required to attend at least
10 class sessions for CR/NC with no project participation.
Taking the Course Twice
Option - Please note that students may enroll in the course (as ENGR110)
for either of these 1 credit unit options in the current year and take the
course (as ENGR210) for 3 credit units in a subsequent year with credit given
for lectures already attended. This option would not apply to graduating
seniors. (Three students have exercised this option.)
Independent Study Option -
Students may enroll in ME191 (Independent Study) in a subsequent quarter and
work on an individual project for a letter grade and a negotiated number of
Next Year Option - Students
who will be around next year may sit in (without enrolling) on lectures they
find interesting and enroll in the course the following year with credit given
for the lectures already attended.
Sit in on Class Session
Option - Students may choose not to enroll in the course, but are most
welcome to sit in on any class sessions that interest them.
A student who has missed a course event
(class session, field trip, or deadline) or has knowledge he/she will miss a
course event should not provide a reason for his/her absence as this
requires the instructor to make a judgment on the validity of his/her reason.
Instead, the student should ask how to make up the missed event.
Missed Class Session
All enrolled students are
encouraged to attend all ENGR110/210 lectures.
Enrolled students taking the course
for 1 unit must attend at least 10 lectures including the first lecture,
Introduction to Assistive
One Excused Class Session for
Student Project Teams
Student project teams (taking
the course for 3 units) may be excused from attending one class
session (after Week 6) to work on their team projects. The instructor may
designate which class session can be missed.
The following guidelines must
The entire team must
arrange to work on their project together during the missed class session
The team must inform the
instructor of their desire to work on their project prior to the class
session that will be missed.
- All team members must be up
to date on all class sessions - ie, any missed class sessions must have been
Making Up Missed Class
Missed class sessions may be
made up by first reviewing the material from the missed class session: view the
video (taking notes), following along with the PowerPoint slides, reading any
handout material, viewing any photos and other videos, and browsing any
weblinks posted on the lecture webpage.
Next arrange to meet with the
instructor to discuss the missed class session. Be prepared to lead the
conversation on the class session's content with questions, comments,
observations, thoughts, and reflections. Consider "What one item did you hear,
see, or learn that was new, surprising, interesting, or provided a new
perspective?" The meeting should take about 20 minutes.
After the meeting, the student
will be credited with "attending" the class session.
Missed class sessions should be
made up at the earliest earliest opportunity (ideally within a week) as it may
be more difficult to find the time to review the material and meet near the end
of the quarter.
Grade Impact for Missed Class
If one or more required class
sessions are missed and are not made up by the deadline for grade submission,
the student's grade will be affected as follows:
For students taking the course
as Credit / No Credit, the following options are available for student
who have not attended at least 10 class sessions:
- Receive No Credit for
- Request to receive
Incomplete for the course. If subsequently the missed class sessions are
made up, the grade will be changed to Credit.
For students taking the course
for a Letter Grade, the following options are available for students who
have missed one or more class sessions:
- Deduct one incremental
letter grade (ie "A" becomes "A-", etc) for each missed class session not made
- Request to receive
Incomplete for the course. If subsequently the missed class session(s)
are made up, a letter grade reflecting the student's performance will be
Report and Presentation
- * Participation includes meeting
with instructor, actively listening, posing questions to the guest speakers and
the course instructor, engaging in class discussions, verbalizing thoughts and
analyses, and submitting Weekly Individual Reports.
Letters of Recomendations and
- Please note that a student's
individual project contributions may not be evident if he / she is working on a
Be aware that the course instructor
is not a professor, nor does he have a PhD. Make sure this is ok with the
agency or institution to which the Letter of Recommendation is being
For Mechanical Engineering students
seeking a Coterminal
Degree, a cummulative grade point average of 3.7 is highly desirable. If
this average is met, a Letter of Recommendation is a simple formality for the
instructor to complete. The student must waive his / her right to inspect the
contents of the Recommendation. Submit a filled-out, signed, and dated
Recommendation Form (Coterminal Application for ME
Program - page 6) to the instructor - no envelope is
For students who desire a Letter of
Recommendation for a university application or job employment, a declaration
must be made at the start of the quarter and the student must meet with the
instructor three times during the quarter (beginning, midway, and end)
to provide the instructor an opportunity to follow the student's progress
throughout the course.
Requests for a Letter of
Recommendation must be made at least a month in advance of the due
Please review this webpage, "Getting a
Letter of Recommendation" by Scott D. Anderson, a Lecturer in
the Computer Science Department of Wellesley College.
Creating and enhancing a supportive
educational environment is one of the University's highest priorities. Ensuring
that students with disabilities have full access to all instructional settings
is part of the University's efforts.
Students who may need an academic
accommodation based on the impact of a disability must initiate the request
with the Office of
Accessible Education (OAE). Professional staff will evaluate the request
with required documentation, recommend reasonable accommodations, and prepare
an Accommodation Letter for faculty dated in the current quarter in which the
request is being made. Students should contact the OAE as soon as possible
since timely notice is needed to coordinate accommodations. The OAE is located
at 563 Salvatierra Walk; phone: 650/723-1066.
If you require a disability-related
accommodation to participate in the course, please contact the
course instructor. Requests should be
made at least two weeks in advance.