Design for Digital Inclusion

The DDI group researches diversity and technology from a design perspective. The group focuses on technology development for resource constrained environments in order to counteract what could be called a failure of imagination in terms of how devices, software, and services are designed. With the advent of newer, smaller, and cheaper technologies, the user base and use scenarios for information and communication-centric technologies has expanded to include a broader base of the global population.

At DDI, we think about the other 5 billion potential users, we think about computing beyond the workplace or the desktop, and we think broadly about technologies that can help address the challenges of everyday life. Central to the lab's work is to demonstrate how technologists, social scientists, and humanities scholars can collaborate on technology-related development and implementation projects. DDI's projects range from designing and developing a portable ultrasound machine for midwives in Uganda, investigating gaming patterns of children in Brazil, to researching the needs of the homeless and other transit-dependent communities in the United States.

Current Projects:

  • Midwife's Ultrasound:

    Designing a portable ultrasound unit that will help midwives in developing countries provide improved care, greatly reducing the risk of complications such as obstructed labor, hemorrhage and infection at birth.
  • Transportation:

    Researching the needs of the homeless and other transit-dependent communities in the United States and abroad.
  • Non-Instrumental Computer Use:

    Investigating whether non-work activities, such as gaming, sending e-mails, or participating in social networking can help people develop the comfort, skills, and expertise they need to improve their social and economic situations, particularly in the areas of employment and education.
  • New Models for Engineering Education:

    Exploring the role of informal learning in broadening participation in Science, Engineering, Technology and Math (STEM) fields and fostering innovation and experimentation.
Additionally, the group continues to analyze data resulting from the Central Asia + Information and Communication Technologies (CAICT) project, including design implications for MoSoSo (mobile social software).
Upcoming conferences:
ICTD 2010:
What Exactly is 'The Internet'?: The Social Meaning of ICTs and Their Ability to Impact Development

Experiences with a Transportation Information System that Uses Only GPS and SMS.

Date: December 13 - 16, 2010
Venue: London, England

Conference site
DEV 2010:
Portable Antenatal Ultrasound Platform for Village Midwives

Date: December 17 - 18, 2010
Venue: London, England

Conference site