VIP Design Course


For students interested in diving deeper into accessible design and earning course credit, HuskyADAPT offers several courses each year.

All courses focus on pairing multidisciplinary teams with local need experts to tackle a design challenge. VIPs (vertically-integrated projects) are open to all undergraduate and graduate students, from all UW majors and programs. Please see the past projects page for examples of prior VIP design projects.


Attention: The VIP course will not be offered for the 2019 - 2020 school year. 


HuskyADAPT: Accessible Design

The inaugural VIP group of students and teachers from the 2017-2018 academic year.

What is inclusive design? How do we design products that meet the diverse needs of our society?

This 2-quarter course introduces students to inclusive design, assistive technology, and disability studies while working on a design challenge. Each week’s course includes a lecture, hands-on activity for your project, and team time. Teams of 3-5 students from diverse departments are paired with local need experts to work on a design challenge. Students are expected to dedicate 10-12 hours/week to work on their design challenge with the goal of creating a functional prototype by the end of the course. Note students must commit to attend BOTH quarters (2 credits per quarter). 

Please see the syllabus for more information.

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Follow participatory design best practices
  2. Understand introductory principles of disability studies and how they relate to engineering design
  3. Engage in a co-design process with community members with disabilities
  4. Identify the principles of inclusive design and how they benefit diverse communities
  5. Lead and contribute to a multidisciplinary team
  6. Identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
  7. Design a system or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints


HuskyADAPT VIP Projects

Depending on project needs, some design challenges are offered as VIPs for course credit each year. These courses focus on a specific design challenge and often include multiple teams working together to meet the needs of local need experts.


Developing adaptive play technologies

Play is for everyone. Creating opportunities for children and adults with disabilities to have greater access to toys, play technology, and open-source inclusive design is an immediate need in the Pacific Northwest. As part of the UW community, the Taskar Center and Husky ADAPT are working with PROVAIL therapy center to create the first adaptive toy lending library in the Pacific Northwest. 

This VIP will work on projects including developing open-source designs (circuit design as well as switch design) with the broader community, integrating and publishing a comprehensive circuit design and curriculum to engage occupational therapists, special ed school educators and parents on creating adapted toys, and researching adaptive play technology adoption and abandonment at a larger scale than previously attempted.

Who should apply: Graduate and undergraduate students with an interest in circuit engineering, recreation and play design, rehabilitation medicine, and disability studies. To apply, please send current transcript, whether you can commit two consecutive quarters, and the reason for your interest in the course to

Undergrads sign up for ENGR 297: (SLN 14520)

Graduate students sign up for ENGR 497: (SLN 14530)


What is a VIP?

These courses operate in conjunction with the University of Washington Vertically-Integrated Projects (VIP) Program, which supports hands-on, project-based, undergraduate and graduate research and exploration. The VIP Program operates in a research and development context, with teams of students and faculty working on real-world projects. Undergraduate students that participate in VIP earn academic credit for their participation in design efforts. The teams are:

  1. Multidisciplinary - drawing students from all disciplines on campus;
  2. Vertically-integrated - maintaining a mix of sophomores through PhD students each quarter;
  3. Long-term - each undergraduate student may participate in a project for up to three years and each graduate student may participate for the duration of their graduate career.

The continuity, technical depth, and disciplinary breadth of these teams are intended to:

  1. Provide the time and context necessary for students to learn and practice many different professional skills, make substantial technical contributions to the project, and experience many different roles on a large, multidisciplinary design/discovery team.
  2. Support long-term interaction between the graduate and undergraduate students on the team. The graduate students mentor the undergraduates as they work on the design/discovery projects embedded in the graduate students' research.
  3. Enable the completion of large-scale design/discovery projects that are of significant benefit to faculty members' research programs.

Learn more about different UW VIPs here