FORW-RD Thinking Seminar Series| Sara Hendren

Friday, February 17, 2023
12:00 pm to 1:30 pm

United States

Floor/Room #

FORW-RD Thinking Seminar Series

What Can a Body Do? How Disability Remakes Design

Co-sponsored by...

NSF Research Traineeship Program on Future of Robots in the Workplace (FORW-RD), Interactive Media and Game Development (IMGD) Program, and JustT Collaborative (WPI’s Public Interest Technology initiative).

Prosthetic limbs and assistive technology: these are the most common engineering terms for the places where disability meets design. But disability remakes the world in so many ways—high-tech and low-tech tools, furniture, architecture, streetscapes, and much more. Sara Hendren takes us through a tour of some of the most vivid and compelling design ideas where disability is the beating heart of innovation, weaving disability history, art-science hybrids, and human-centered approaches to building desirable futures for all of us.


Sara Hendren is a humanist in tech—an artist, design researcher, writer, and professor at Olin College of Engineering. Her book What Can A Body Do? How We Meet the Built World explores the places where disability shows up in design at all scales: assistive technology, furniture, architecture, urban planning, and more. It was named one of the Best Books of 2020 by NPR (National Public Radio) and won the 2021 Science in Society Journalism book prize. Her art and design works have been exhibited in museums worldwide and are held in the permanent collections at MoMA and Cooper Hewitt. In 2021-22, she was a fellow in Education Policy at the New America think tank, where she researched the future of work for adults with cognitive and developmental disabilities.




Robotics Engineering
Contact Person
Kristen Keane, FORW-RD NRT Program