Here's an IDeA: Making the world "universal"

Aug 20, 2010

I was at the University at Buffalo interviewing a gentleman for a completely unrelated story when I stumbled upon an idea. Actually, the IDeA.

Primer: IDeA = the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access. 

Officially, they practice human centered design through research, development, service, dissemination and educational activities. Hmm. That's a little too official for me. 

Essentially, they want to make the world accessible for everyone. That's "universal" design. 

You should see their lab. It's literally walking into the imagination of smart, creative people. They design bathrooms, buses, kitchens, etc. that can be adjusted, shifted and used easily by people of all abilities. Honestly, a lot of it is futuristic and fun. And their passion is apparent. 

As the Americans with Disabilities Act turns 20 this summer, IDeA is trying to practice what the law preaches. Recent studies have indicated strides in accessibility have been limited. 

Stay tuned. The Innovation Trail will likely do a story on these folks. In the meantime, think about your environment. Let me explain...After visiting IDeA, I thought about how easy it was for me to wash my hands, jump into a car, etc. These are things, of course, we all take for granted. It's helpful from time to time to notice the incredible ease with which many of us go about our daily tasks.