The project's subject matter focuses on the issue of Universal Design. The idea is that all new products and services should be designed and made in such a way that they do not cause difficulties to any person, regardless of their disability, age, gender or other obstacles. The target group of the project are mainly people professionally involved in utility design.
As emphasized by the project coordinator, Dr. Eng. Dorota Kamińska from the Institute of Mechatronics and Information Systems at the Faculty of Electrical, Electronic, Computer and Control Engineering at TUL:
Nowadays, society sees the need to reduce exclusions and sees it as an opportunity for more dynamic development. It is essential that future engineers are aware of the needs of the users of their products and services, because understanding their requirements is essential for the successful development and introduction of innovative products that meet and respond to the different needs of their customers. Meetings with the academic staff of Lodz University of Technology, as well as surveys conducted among students by the Disabled Persons Office (BON) at TUL indicated that the level of awareness and knowledge about the design of a universal and empathic approach is an area that requires improvement. Therefore, the main task of the teams working in the project will be to improve the competence of future engineers, educators and designers in this area.
An additional advantage of the project, which will lead to a better understanding of the recipient's perspective taking into account their needs and feelings, will be the use of practical tools, based on Mixed Reality - augmented and virtual reality (AR, VR).
User access to virtual environments will be enhanced by influencing other senses, using physical simulators of traffic limitations. This will allow to increase the level of experience of the users of the created system. They allow, among others, to simulate movement limitations typical for seniors, people with movement disabilities, with emotional, acoustic or visual perception dysfunctions, which will significantly increase the level of empathy acquired by users.
The substantive guarantee of the project is a close cooperation between scientists and representatives of potentially excluded people's environments when creating scenarios and auxiliary educational materials. Due to the epidemic limitations associated with COVID-19, the meeting starting the project took place online on October 5th.
The project is co-financed by the Erasmus+ programme in Action 2 - Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education. The consortium includes, apart from TUL, University of Aveiro, University of Technology in Porto, University of Tartu and J. Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine in Łódź.
More about the project: www.mrud.p.lodz.pl.