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Team-Based Design of Assistive Technology Devices

During the 2021 fall semester , the UK Human Development Institute collaborated with Dr. Justin HuberUK College of Medicine, and Dr. Babak Bazgari, from the UK College of Engineering working with 16 students in the Team-Based Design of Assistive Technology Devices. Each of four groups started with multiple project proposals identified from their summer shadowing experience at Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital. They presented their projects and analyzed each idea with the Real Win Worth It framework analysis. The selected project for each group then went to data collection and development.  Funds were made available through a National Institutes of Health grant and the HDI Student Scholarship Fund. Each group carried their selected project through prototyping and concept generation.  Group one worked on a device to reduce the probability of pressure ulcers by alternating pressure, temperature, and or reducing friction on the buttocks. Group two developed an assistive device to allow for self-catheterization of female wheelchair users.  Group three focused on creating a device, via electrical/mechanical or other stimulation, to remind post-stroke patients to maintain proper posture during activities. Similarly, group four developed a device to support posture correction in stroke patients with hemiparesis. All groups presented their prototypes to a group of professionals, users, and other stakeholders.

For more information about this project or HDI’s work as the University’s Center on Disability, contact Christina Bard at

HDI Collaborates on NIH Research Education Program Grant

The UK Human Development Institute in collaboration with the UK College of Engineering and the UK College of Medicine Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Medicine have received a National Institutes of Health R-25 Research Education Program grant: Team-Based Design of Assistive Technology Devices. This program invites students to apply for an opportunity to complete courses in engineering and universal design, participate in a clinical immersion experience at Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital, and gain practical skills and knowledge by working with people with disabilities who use assistive technology devices. Based on availability of funds, students will have additional opportunities to apply for funds from the HDI Student Fund to develop prototypes.

Contact for more information.

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Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2020

Thursday, May 21, 2020 is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). According to the GAAD web site, the goal of this day is to talk, think, and learn about digital access/inclusion and people with different disabilities. Digital accessibility is the ability of a website, mobile application, or electronic document to be easily navigated and understood by a wide range of users, including people who have visual, auditory, motor, or cognitive disabilities.

The University of Kentucky Human Development Institute (HDI) promotes accessibility using the principles of Universal design (UD) and assistive technology. Universal design is about making places and resources useable by a world that is very diverse.

Universal design is a priority at HDI. We strive to increase the capacity of our partners and those we serve to ensure that physical and learning environments are accessible to all regardless of education, language, or disability. Visit our website for more details.

The HDI Universal Design Unit offers evaluation, consultation, training, and technical assistance services to review print and online products, communication environments, and devices. Our current clients include higher education, social service agencies, health care, city planning, and private employers.

Contact HDI at to learn more.

Young man with brown hair and beard wearing a black coat and brown flannel shirt seated at a library table in front of books. Multi-colored 3D printed objects are on the table.

Eagle Scout Project Supports Alternative Communication

Nate Slack, a senior at West Jessamine High School and member of Boy Scout Troop 473 at the Nicholasville United Methodist Church, completed his Eagle Scout project by leading volunteers to print 3-D tactile symbols developed by the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill – Project Core. Nate used resources provided by the Jessamine County Public Library to print these symbols that are an alternative form of communication for children who are blind. The 45 printed objects will be donated to the Human Development Institute Center for Assistive Technology Services (HDI CATS).

HDI CATS is the Assistive Technology Regional Center serving Lexington and the surrounding area. HDI CATS provides assistive technology (AT) activities in accordance with the federal Assistive Technologies Act of 1998, as amended. AT is any item or piece of equipment (both low-tech and high-tech) used to improve and/or maintain independence in the home, at work, school or play.

Nate will present his project to the Eagle Board of Review in the coming weeks. If the project is approved, he will be the 91st Eagle Scout from Troop 473. HDI CATS appreciates this extraordinary donation that will benefit the children and families that we serve.

Learn more about HDI CATS at

HDI CATS Contact
Christina Bard-Espinosa

Two men with Down syndrome in a meeting.

2019 Spring Institute in Assistive Technology on March 28

On March 28, HDI CATs hosted a the FREE 2019 Spring Institute in Assistive Technology conference at the UK Student Center. The event featured sessions by experts in assistive technology, a user panel, and hands on demonstrations of a variety of AT devices. It was aimed at students, researchers, faculty, staff, community members and self-advocates. Continue reading