Principles and Practice of Assistive Technology (PPAT)
Video Credit: Ben Glass and Tommy Girdwood
What is PPAT: Principles and Practice of Assistive Technology ?PPAT is a 12-unit, interdisciplinary, project-based course in which small teams of students work closely with a person with a disability in the Boston/Cambridge area to design a device, piece of equipment, app, or other solution that helps them live more independently. Over the course of the term, each team meets with their client, iterates through multiple prototypes, and learns about the challenges and realities of designing assistive technologies for people with disabilities.
PPAT was founded, taught, and championed by Professor Seth Teller, who conceived of the course and taught PPAT in 2011, 2012, and 2013.
If you would like to stay informed about PPAT, you can:
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What are some past student projects?Some examples of past projects have included:
Videos of Past Projects
Along with the project, the course includes guest lectures from experts in rehabilitation, human-computer interfaces, product designs, and people living with physical or cognitive impairments, and lab exercises in which students use and evaluate various assistive technologies.
Should I take PPAT?
We seek students from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines. Any experience in design is helpful, but not necessary. Teams of three to four students will complement each other's skill sets. Many of the students are in Courses 2 and 6, but students from all majors are welcome.
This course is a good fit for students interested in public service, user-centered product design, working closely with a client with a disability (potentially in consultation with their caregivers and/or clinicians), and tackling difficult, real-world problems. In the past several years, students have consistently given PPAT overall ratings of 6.2 - 6.4 out of 7 in end-of-term subject evaluations.
Course 6 Majors
Course 6 majors can use 6.811 as an EECS Independent Inquiry subject under the new curriculum, or as an Advanced Undergraduate Subject under the old curriculum.
Course 2 Majors
Course 2 majors can petition to use 2.78 as a restricted elective. Students in 2-A can use 2.78 as a concentration subject - no petition needed.
We encourage students from all technical backgrounds to take PPAT. If you are interested, come to the first class and investigate how PPAT can count towards your degree requirements.