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Designing Beyond the Norm to Meet the Needs of All People

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Event Details:

Peter W. Axelson, MSME, ATP, RET
Beneficial Designs, Inc.
Director of Research & Development

Abstract: Peter will talk about the difference between Universal, Adaptable, and Adaptive design. Peter was the first undergraduate using a wheelchair for mobility to live on the Stanford campus in 1976 when accessibility issues were just beginning to be addressed. Those experiences and the desire to participate in the same physical activities as every other college student who had professional and recreational interests shaped his career as a designer. Peter will share how his interests spawned the creation of Beneficial Designs, Inc to support the development of personal, activity specific and environmental technologies for people of all abilities. His experience in obtaining Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grants to develop and functionally assess products, services, and the designs of outdoor environments, has provided many opportunities for he and his staff to change the way people with impairments of all kinds are able to participate in all aspects of life activity. His company works toward universal access through research, design, and education to enable persons of all abilities to participate in the physical, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of life.

Biosketch: Peter Axelson is a rehabilitation engineer who sustained a spinal cord injury in a 1975 climbing accident while in the Air Force Academy. He continued his education at Stanford University, where he began applying engineering and design principles to overcome daily living hurdles faced by people with disabilities. In 1981 he founded Beneficial Designs, Inc. an engineering design firm dedicated to designing, developing, and testing assistive technologies. His accomplishments include developing the first chairlift-compatible mono-ski with a shock absorber, working to establish wheelchair testing standards, improving seating systems for wheelchairs, and creating a system to assess trails that will improve access to outdoor trails for people of all abilities.

Peter is the founder and the Director of Research and Development of Beneficial Designs and spends much of his time traveling throughout the world attending meetings and presenting his work. He's also a pilot and avid mono-skier.

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