Winter Quarter 2011 Course Announcement

Perspectives in Assistive Technology

David L. Jaffe, MS and Professor Drew Nelson
Tuesdays & Thursdays   4:15pm - 5:30pm
Main Quad, Building 370, Classroom 370


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Tuesday, February 8th

photo of Peter Axelson

Designing Beyond the Norm to Meet the Needs of All People
Peter W. Axelson, MSME, ATP, RET
Beneficial Designs, Inc.

Abstract: Peter will talk about the difference between Universal, Adaptable, and Adaptive design. Peter was the first undergraduate using a wheelchair for mobility to live on the Stanford campus in 1976 when accessibility issues were just beginning to be addressed. Those experiences and the desire to participate in the same physical activities as every other college student who had professional and recreational interests shaped his career as a designer. Peter will share how his interests spawned the creation of Beneficial Designs, Inc to support the development of personal, activity specific and environmental technologies for people of all abilities. His experience in obtaining Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grants to develop and functionally assess products, services and the designs of outdoor environments, has provided many opportunities for he and his staff to change the way people with impairments of all kinds are able to participate in all aspects of life activity. His company works toward universal access through research, design and education to enable persons of all abilities to participate in the physical, intellectual and spiritual aspects of life.

Biosketch: Peter Axelson is a rehabilitation engineer who sustained a spinal cord injury in a 1975 climbing accident while in the Air Force Academy. He continued his education at Stanford University, where he began applying engineering and design principles to overcome daily living hurdles faced by people with disabilities. In 1981 he founded Beneficial Designs, Inc. an engineering design firm dedicated to designing, developing, and testing assistive technologies. His accomplishments include developing the first chairlift-compatible mono-ski with a shock absorber, working to establish wheelchair testing standards, developing seating systems for wheelchairs, and creating a system to assess trails that will improve access to outdoor trails for people of all abilities.

Peter is the founder and the Director of Research and Development of Beneficial Designs and spends much of his time traveling throughout the world attending meetings and presenting his work. He's also a pilot and avid mono-skier.

Contact Information:
Beneficial Designs, Inc.
P.O. Box 69
Minden, NV  89423
775/783-8823 fax
peter -at-
Lecture Material:
Pre-lecture slides - 299 Kb pdf file
Telepresence for Robots video
Designing Beyond the Norm to Meet the Needs of All People - 982 Kb pdf file
Beneficial Designs Virtual Tour - 2.97 Mb pdf file
Project Examples - 2.75 Mb pdf file
Tools and Technology for Accessible Trails - 3.87 Mb pdf file
Public Rights of Way Assessment Process - 2.24 Mb pdf file
Audio - 1:15:24 - 17.2 Mb mp3 file
Beneficial Design - 36.4 Kb pdf file
Creating Universal Access - 54.0 Kb pdf file
Biden to lead delegation to Olympics opening ceremony
Beneficial Designs Newsletter - December 2010 - 161 Kb pdf file

Updated 02/10/2011

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