Themes

Assistive technology (AT) is the application of organised knowledge and skills related to assistive products, systems and services, designed to maintain or improve an individual’s functioning and independence, and thereby promote their well-being.

We are leading AT 2030 - Life Changing Assistive Technology for All, a £10m global programme that will reach 3 million people.

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We believe that designing for and with disabled people and older people delivers not just sustainable solutions for those groups but crucially much better end results for all of us throughout our lives.

Our Director Iain McKinnon leads GDI Hub’s Inclusive Design. His work on the Inclusive Design Standards for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park details best practices for inclusive design within the built environment.

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We believe that through innovative collaborations interesting and creative ideas are developed.

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COVID-19 has taught us that those who are most affected by crisis are those who are already struggling in a system stacked against them. Similarly, we know that disabled people – particularly those experiencing injustice in low resource settings – don’t always have the luxury of seeing disability justice and climate justice as separate things. When floods hit, disabled people fare worst; when crops fail, the poorest struggle the most; when disasters strike, those least resilient are hit hardest, unable to migrate to avoid the impacts. Yet there has been little focus around disability in inclusive climate response and crisis resilience, and even less on the role technology could play. We believe that technology has the potential to support inclusive climate justice and community-based resilience models that can help everyone, even those most in marginalised in the community. As we ‘build back fairer’ we also have the chance to design the kind of world we want to see in the UK and beyond, we will work with partners to bring our disability innovation thinking to this space.

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Education is a resource which can transform lives, raise aspirations and build futures. We believe everyone has the right to learning that is inclusive, fair and life enhancing; and that technology has the potential to improve how children and adults interact with education throughout their lives. We will support this through our research into accessible education technology; our practice in East London and beyond; and through our teaching, including our own MSc. As accessible EdTech becomes more disruptive so new outcomes are possible. Too many EdTech solutions focus on the product, or the individual learner, and forget that support for teachers, parents and Governments are essential too. So we will work hard to ensure it is affordable; acceptable to users; of high enough quality; and provided within the systems that make it work, in the classroom and at home. GDI Hub is developing a suite of new technologies to aid inclusive learning - these range from tactile tools to cultural exploration kits and working with partners to identify opportunities for leapfrog technologies to transform the learning experience.

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