2023 autumn semester

September - October activities

The course “Exploring Non-Bionormative Prosthesis Design” at our university draws 13 students from diverse backgrounds, both international and local. With expertise spanning industrial design, textile design, interaction design, animation, graphic design, and more, this dynamic mix of students promises a rich and multidisciplinary exploration.

Disability Studies

Incorporating Critical Disability Studies theories into the course offered students a unique perspective centered on personal experiences rather than just theoretical texts. Luca Szabados's participation further challenged normative perceptions, fostering a more inclusive learning environment.

Digital Crafting

The tangible material conditions of digital craft are considered a process rather than a product, which leads to understanding why design is more than
an interface between a material object and its use However, challenges related to limited access to 3D printing resources in the university hindered their involvement due to slow and restricted availability of 3D printers.

September 15

The introductory session provided students with insights into the doctoral research and the concept of discursive prototypes, setting the stage for a deeper exploration of these critical topics throughout the course.


‘Science’, ‘design’, ‘disability’, and ‘technology’ has a common aspect in being somewhat homogenous. Therefore they trespass the boundaries of categories, representing variation in methods and paradigms in the shared common cultural everyday space.

Design + Disability

The ethical and political dimensions of design for disability do not necessarily affect
the user experience of a disabled person but instead help improve the experience of being


With a prosthesis functioning as a social symbol and a political emblem for oneself, the distinction between aesthetics and usability is blurred.


The discursive co-design process with the active contribution of a person with a disability leads to self-reflections on the part of a designer.


The framework of situated research in the design discourse closely connected to disability studies maps out and builds up a view of co-Ability.


The digitally crafted prosthetic prototypes encode a tangible chain of thoughts as a result of the design synthesis of knowledge and research

Getting to know each other

September 22Group formulation

In the early stages of the course, we aimed to foster a sense of community and collaboration among the students and lecturers. To achieve this, we organized interactive games like “blind drawing,” where students had to draw each other’s faces without looking at the paper, providing a lighthearted yet effective way for everyone to get to know each other better and create a more comfortable learning environment. These engaging activities helped break the ice and build connections that would prove valuable throughout the course.

In addition to the interactive games, I also provided each student with a 3D-printed set of central elements for assembly during the introduction week. This allowed them to familiarize themselves with the shape of the already designed parts, further enhancing their practical understanding of the course material.

We conducted a randomized group exploration of an imaginary object, during which Luca engaged in insightful discussions with the students about their design ideas. This activity encouraged creative thinking and collaborative problem-solving from the very beginning of the course.

Object-based exploration of possibilities and practices mediated and supported the redefinition of a possible reality

September 29co-Ability situative discourses

“Disabled people are often outstanding problem solvers because they simply have to be creative. Life for disabled people is a continuous series of challenges to be overcome” (Miller et al., 2004).

In preparation for the course, students were tasked with bringing everyday objects from their daily lives to the classroom, seeking to understand how Luca Szabados, who lives with a disability, tackles these challenges. The particularity of the initial situations can provide directions to further discussions and physical investigations to the students, so we encouraged them to bring the most challenging objects. Based on Lucas and the student’s reflections, we explored special occasions where she would appreciate a prosthesis, including the 1)extension and expansion of prosthetics, 2)alternative connections for body prosthetics, and the 3)connection between prosthetics and the environment.

categorized the objects by function and location of use

Each student contributed 1-3 objects, and as a starting point, we categorized them based on their purpose and where they were typically used (e.g., kitchen, hobby, appearance, food).

Questioning the bio-normative model and also question the necessity of an artificial interpretation of a biological limb.

In conclusion, our discussions, informed by Luca's feedback and insights, led us to identify three distinct categories for potential prosthetic advancements. These categories encompassed the extension and expansion of existing modular prosthetics, exploring alternative connections for body prosthetics, such as those involving the knee or core of the body, and examining connections between prosthetics and the environment, including interactions with walls and larger objects within the surroundings.

Taxonomy of Difficulty and Testing Difficulty: Exploring Everyday Challenges in Prosthesis Design

Involving all students and Lucas's feedback and creating discursive situated dialogues, we developed a taxonomy of everyday objects based on their perceived levels of difficulty. Luca then demonstrated how she interacts with these objects, highlighting the real-life challenges she faces. Through these discussions, we explored her strategies for overcoming or avoiding specific tasks and objects.

Sensitivity training with Anita Takar

— The “situativity” adopts the complex sensitivity to the human context (Winograd, 1996).


Anita, an art education specialist at Csillagház Primary School in Budapest’s 3rd district, specializes in educating and teaching children with multiple disabilities. This unique school, the first of its kind in Hungary, emerged from an experimental approach and has evolved to cater to children with multiple impairments. For university students engaged in research through situative experiences, this opportunity provided a fresh perspective on understanding bodily abilities and capacities. The workshop exposed our students to various impairments, allowing them to experience these challenges personally. Subsequently, they engaged in reflective discussions within their peer groups and received discursive theoretical input from Anita. This multifaceted approach provided students with a deeper understanding of disability and enriched their research experiences.


a collaborative drawing exercise was conducted using a unique tool. This tool, positioned at the center, featured individual lines connected to each participant, and the challenge was to collectively create a simple drawing without verbal communication to convey their intentions.

Symbols and Signs

familiarize with symbols and signs, either as a main method of communication or as a way to support speech.

AAC ('augmentative and alternative communication')

Communication is a dynamic, bidirectional process, and assistive technology plays a crucial role in enhancing various non-verbal communication methods. AAC encompasses a wide range of tools and aids, including purpose-built devices, standard digital devices with specialized software, as well as analog adaptations, all of which facilitate effective communication for individuals with diverse needs.

Adaptive art tools for children with disabilities

Exploring adaptive art tools designed for disabled children serve as conduits for their creative expression, offering easy-grip drawing instruments that are typically larger in size for comfortable handling. These tools may also incorporate geometric shapes like triangles to enhance control and accessibility, empowering children with disabilities to engage in the creative process with greater ease.