NYIT students presenting their project at The Viscardi Center.


Creative Design Solutions to Aid People with Disabilities

May 31, 2017

During the spring semester, NYIT students in management, computer science, and digital art and design worked together in the interdisciplinary Viscardi Industry Project course to create products to support people with disabilities. On May 19, they presented their projects to their client, The Viscardi Center, a network of non-profit organizations that provides a lifespan of services for children and adults with disabilities.

“The students had to think outside of their usual discipline box and extend their skills to new applications,” said faculty mentor Terry Nauheim, associate professor and chair of Digital Art and Design at NYIT College of Arts and Sciences. “For example, the digital art and design students were providing graphic designs, animations, and illustrations to be incorporated into a computer science student’s coding and application design, which was then adapted into a business student’s customer value proposition.”

Along with Nauheim, Joanne Scillitoe, associate professor at NYIT School of Management, and Michael Nizich, adjunct assistant professor and director of the Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovation Center (ETIC), taught the class.

The course, offered once before in fall 2015, has proven to be a big success with both the students and The Viscardi Center. “I can’t help but quote my colleague Jon Polster, instructional technology specialist, and this year’s liaison for the Henry Viscardi School” said Nauheim. “The sentiment applies to those of us involved here at NYIT as much as it does Viscardi: ‘I have to be honest, the last presentation was one of the more inspiring events I’ve seen take place in my educational career. It felt like being at a TED Talk, except the topic was about us, our school, and how to combine technology and project-based learning to support people with disabilities.’”

Here is a roundup of the projects:


Project: Educational Board Game
Students: Julie Skeggs, Krishen Patel, Selwyn Jacob, Nicholas Romero-Huggins
About: Designed to create a fun way for students to learn, the brightly colored computer game features animals with disabilities. Players move throughout the game by answering a series of questions based on the school’s curriculum. It is aimed at students in grades 1 – 5. The slogan is: “Through Education, We Entertain You!”


Project: Fab Lab
Students: James Averill, Michael Serrecchia, Dominique Hay, Ronith Gangireddygari, and Michael Xie
About: Students designed Viscardi’s new Fab Lab with an appealing wall design featuring geometric designs and 2D illustrations based on the Viscardi mascot. The goal was to create a modern and vibrant space where students can gather. The new layout also features a digital schedule, where students can record how much time they spend at a certain station of the Fab Lab.


Project: Accessible Coding Website Design
Students: Janine Lee, Kevin Comiskey, Nicholas MacIntyre, and Yuan Chang
About: A web application that helps persons with disabilities learn to code features easy-to-use tools and instructions to assist people with designing their own website. Its interface is operated through a wheel design that allows for methods of user control, alternative to a mouse, including Leap Motion and/or facial motion capture.


Project: FabHelper
Students: Anthony Huttie, Jorge Gonzales, Pauline Flores, and Victoria Heuremann
About: The website helps Viscardi staff members and students learn the tools and software of Viscardi’s Fab Lab, including 3D printing, 3D modeling, laser engraving and cutting, and CorelDraw and Tinkercad software.