Designing Beyond the
Norm to Meet the Needs of All People
Peter W. Axelson, MSME, ATP, RET
Beneficial Designs, Inc.
Director of Research & Development
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
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, improving 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.
- Beneficial Designs,
- 2325 P-51 Ct., Suite 402
- 775/783-8822 x121
- 775/783-0813 fax
- peter -at-
- Lecture Material:
Universal Trail Access Project - video 3:01
- Pre-lecture slides - 908 Kb pdf file
- Slides - 11.3 Mb pdf file
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