Human +

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 to Saturday, August 31, 2013
Resource Type:
Project Descriptions
Environment Type: 
Media and Technology, Broadcast Media, Exhibitions, Museum and Science Center Exhibits
General Public | Museum/ISE Professionals | Scientists | Evaluators
Engineering | Health and medicine | Life science | Technology
Access and Inclusion: 
Women and Girls
People with Disabilities
New York Hall of Science, University of Pittsburgh

"Human +" is a collaboration among the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI), NSF Quality of Life Technology Engineering Research Center (QoLT ERC) of the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), and the Institute for Learning Innovation. The project will engage engineers, educators, designers, and people with disabilities in a process of participatory design to create a 2,500 square foot traveling exhibition entitled "Human +". The STEM content is engineering, specifically the extraordinary technological advances being made to enhance human abilities. The project is making three significant contributions to the Informal Science Education (ISE) field: 1) It is a model of close integration of an NSF-funded engineering research center into an ISE project. (2) It engages people with disabilities, both as participants and audiences. (3) It broadens engagement with engineering as a participatory, creative, and socially important ISE undertaking. Project deliverables are: (1) a model for participatory design of ISE activities to generate innovation among engineers, people with disabilities, ISE professionals, and designers; and 2) a 2,500 square-foot traveling exhibition engaging the public in the science, technology, and social issues of human enhancement. Front-end evaluation will be conducted by OMSI to explore pre-existing knowledge and attitudes, integrating significant numbers of people with disabilities including veterans, young people, and older people. Formative evaluation will likewise be integrated with the participatory design process, with prototypes being tested both by audiences and by the core "Human +" participatory design team. Summative evaluation by Institute for Learning Innovation will address both the effectiveness of the participatory design process and the effectiveness of the exhibition in addressing the National Academy for Engineering goals for public understanding of engineering as a creative and socially engaged field. An estimated 700,000 visitors will experience the "Human +" exhibition at OMSI and NYSCI. In addition, OMSI will tour the exhibition through its extensive and diverse network of science centers, with 24 science centers having expressed interest as potential host sites. The Science Friday webcast/podcast will reach an estimated 1.3 million listeners. Public audiences will engage in the topic of engineering and better understand its importance to human existence through experiencing one compelling research area. The project team will work with the Veterans Administration and DARPA to engage veterans with disabilities both as participants and as audiences. The exhibit with its human-focused content will also stimulate interest among older adults and promote the engineering field to groups underrepresented in engineering such as people with disabilities, girls, and minority youth. The project places cutting-edge technology and engineering practice in a profoundly personal context. "Human +" will contribute to the empowerment of the great majority of people who have, or will have, disabilities during their lifetime and for those of us who care for people with disabilities.

Funding Program: 
Award Number: 
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Team Members

Eric SiegelEric SiegelPrincipal Investigator
Peggy MonahanCo-Principal Investigator
Stephen UzzoCo-Principal Investigator
Dan DingDan DingCo-Principal Investigator

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