Institute of Education


OutsideTheBox - Rethinking Technology Design with Autistic Children

3:00 pm to 4:00 pm, 15 June 2016

Outside The Box

Event Information

Open to



Room 405, 66-72 Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT

This is a joint UCL Interaction Centre (UCLIC) and UCL Knowledge Lab seminar. 


Christopher Frauenberger


Most technology that is designed for people with disabilities, pragmatically focuses on mitigating their functional limitations. With the OutsideTheBox project, they take a different approach and critically reflect on concepts of disability and how these are embodied in the technologies we design.

In their work, they aim to explore meaningful roles for technology with autistic children that responds to desires and ideas that go beyond narrow conceptions of assistance or intervention. Such open and holistic approaches require new ways of participation of autistic children in design to unlock opportunity spaces that would otherwise be inaccessible to neuro-typical adult designers.

In this talk, Frauenberger will present work conducted in the past one and a half years during which they have engaged children in intense co-design processes to create their own smart thing. He discusses how we re-interpreted participatory methods to facilitate collaboration and how each smart thing they created, tells a unique story about the life-worlds of autistic children. 

Frauenberger will present their efforts in capturing their design experiences in a new format they call Design Exposes, to carefully construct knowledge from this work and he discusses the challenge of how to evaluate the experiences autistic children have with such technology.

This event is open to all, free of charge.

About the presenter

Christopher Frauenberger is Senior Researcher at Vienna University of Technology and Principle Investigator of OutsideTheBox- Rethinking Assistive Technologies with Children with Autism.

He holds a PhD in Computer Science from Queen Mary, University of London and subsequently worked as Postdoctoral Fellow at Sussex University. In his academic research he focused on exploring interactive technologies in the context of people with disabilities.

This included designing auditory displays for the visually impaired, investigating non-verbal communication in people with schizophrenia and technologically enhanced learning environments for autistic children. Methodologically he is committed to participatory design approaches and often interprets collaborative techniques from other fields in his work.

For further information please contact Mina Vasalou: a.vasalou@ucl.ac.uk