Supporting our projects: Fabric by Designers

January 24th, 2013

Many thanks to owner Avi Assor, for the generous discount he provided to the EDGE Lab for materials that will be used in our Adaptive Design lab. If you are in the Queen West area looking for fabric or notions, check out Fabric by Designers.

Gaming the imagination: counterpublics and the contestation of symbolic production

January 9th, 2013

Gaming the imagination: counterpublics and the contestation of symbolic production is a video that addresses the political ramifications of the shift in production of videogames for oppositional groups known as ‘Counterpublics’ . What do these groups, and their contestation of who gets to be in control of symbolic production mean for society today? It is a digital report from the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies, York University, and the EDGE Lab at Ryerson produced and narrated by Lab RA Daniel Joseph. Enjoy.


Happy New Years GamingEdus Style

January 1st, 2013

GamingEdus is a project hosted at the EDGE Lab, and we’re happy that it has lit the way into the next year.

EDGE Lab Alumni Dr. Yukari Seko featured at EENET

December 27th, 2012

The Evidence Exchange Network (EENet) newsletter features EDGE Lab Alumni Dr. Yukari Seko. Yukari is presently CIHR Postdoctoral Fellow at Social Aetiology of Mental Illness program at CAMH. Her project is Exploring Motivations for Creating Self-injury Content Online

Bringing Adaptive Design to McMaster University

December 22nd, 2012

Jason and I had a great meeting with Brianna Smrke and Alisha Sunderji, two Arts and Science students from McMaster University, who visited the EDGE Lab to find out how they can make adaptive design happen in Hamilton. We’re all hoping that we can start a collaboration between our two cites.

Jen Cole on ‘Original Cyborgs: Disability and Technology’

December 12th, 2012

GimpGirl director and EDGE Lab collaborator Jen Cole on “Original Cyborgs: Disability and Technology”:

When we think of deep integration with technology, disability is rarely thought of unless it is a direct focus. There are technologies being developed such aswheelchairs that are controlled by thoughtrobotic exoskeletons being developed primarily for people with spinal cord injuries to allow them to walk, andstair climbing wheelchairs. They are still clunky and imprecise (or ridiculously expensive and not covered by insurance), but perhaps indicative of future adaptive technology. The “cyborg chic” technologies such as “Skinput” style keyboards andwearable computer technology often are not accessible or designed with an eye to Universal Design concepts.


EDGELab Director develops tools to help build children’s autonomy

December 7th, 2012

Ryerson Today has profiled the Lab director.


Early Childhood Studies professor Jason Nolan is pioneering a new set of tools and practices that modify physical and sensory environments so that children with physical and cognitive disabilities can participate barrier-free in play, learning, family life and the community.
Often, children with disabilities do not receive sufficient support for their basic needs. Early Childhood Studies professor Jason Nolan, who is also director of Ryerson’s Experiential Design and Gaming Environments (EDGE) lab, believes the field of adaptive design (AD) holds great promise for helping such children thrive. AD, Nolan explains, “is rooted in the belief that we need specific tools and techniques to modify physical environments cheaply and easily, so that children with disabilities can participate in barrier-free play, learning, family life and the community.”

Nolan is focusing his research on tools that increase children’s autonomy. One of Nolan’s main efforts has involved using cardboard and other easily accessible materials to engineer custom adaptations, therapeutic seats, play tables and computer kiosks. Recently, he has also extended AD into soft-circuitry and wearable computing such as garments that can allow non-verbal children to speak. His work is supported by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation; the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation; the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council; and the Graphics, Animation and New Media (GRAND) Network of Centre of Excellence.

“I don’t take a ‘medical’ or disease model of disability,” says Nolan. “Instead, I work directly with children to create new designs that extend their ability to interact with and engage the world around them and, in some cases, to acquire the skills to help others.” Nolan’s approach departs from ‘universal’ design by focusing, instead, on the child’s ‘expertise’ about her or his own condition, which he refers to as “user-initiated” design.

Nolan is also active in spreading AD-related knowledge and best practices among fellow scholars and practitioners. He is a member of the advisory boards of the Adaptive Design Association and the GimpGirl Community. Nolan is autistic and is setting up the Toronto chapter of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) at Ryerson.

Adaptive Design in Japan

December 2nd, 2012

Aya Asano lives in Osaka, Japan and works with Ryouiku-Space Yu (nonprofit organization supporting mentally/physically challenged children. Aya works as nursing staff and arts instructor in pottery、water color painting, saori weaves, as well a providing Waldorf education support

She became interested in adaptive design and has been working on some objects of her own that she’s blogged about (page in Japanese), based on the “Geta Chair” design (video). This chair helps children could stay very calm and makes it easier for them to act appropriately.

Now that this rocker is in use she’s looking to make more.

The next step is for her to build a longboard rocker that Melanie prototyped for an autistic teen back in the summer

Faculty of Community Services Student Achievement Event

November 19th, 2012

Students at the EDGE Lab recently showcased their work at the Faculty of Community Services Student Achievement Event. Interns Vivian Chan and Safiyah Nakhuda, featured the work they created during their field placement. Lab tech Rubina Quadri, presented a privacy divider built for a class research project about children’s privacy-seeking behaviour in group settings. Former intern Reilly Dow, created a poster summarizing what she learned at the Adaptive Design Association in New York when she was able to visit as part of her placement at the EDGE Lab.

These cardboard blocks made by Vivian Chan, are constructed to be a low cost alternative to expensive wooden block math sets.

Hard at work.
This assistive device, built by Safiyah Nakhuda, is used to help someone get out of a chair on their own.






























Geta chair holders

November 8th, 2012












Many interns and volunteers make a geta chair (a.k.a. rocker ) as a first project at the EDGE Lab. Volunteer Yuka, created customized shelving for them and a carrier so that they can be easily transported.

The carrier is painted by the EDGE Lab’s Artist in Residence, Sae Kimura.