For the past five years, UCP of NYC has worked in partnership with Mouse, a national youth development nonprofit that empowers high school students to create technology to solve real problems and make meaningful change in the world.
On January 17th, seven individuals from UCP of NYC participated in interviews with 20 Mouse Design League high school students at the Mouse’s headquarters in order for the students to start developing prototypes for new assistive technologies for individuals with disabilities. The interview session was facilitated by Maggie Muldoon, Design League Coordinator at the Mouse Design League and attended by UCP Education Specialist Jonathan Toth and Sign Language Specialist Yvette Churchill. Among the UCP individuals were Paul Tedesco, who is known for creating the Stylus pen that helps individuals with mobility issues to use iPads, smart boards and other communications devices.
“This unique partnership with Mouse Design League and UCP individuals is a win-win for all,” said Peter Cobb, Director of Community Affairs at UCP of NYC. “It gives our individuals a chance to create new assistive technologies and educate students about disability. Many of the students participate year after year and develop friendships with our individuals, some of whom take a hands-on role in the design process with the students. It’s also great to see that some graduates go onto pursuing assistive technology as a potential educational or career goal.”
The next Mouse Design Retreat will take place at the Cooper Hewitt Museum on February 4th, where four groups of students will select an idea for a new prototype to develop and present at a design “Emoticon” competition in the spring. Every semester students who have participated in the Mouse/UCP collaboration have had entries among the top four finalists in the competition.