Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Simona Donzelli 

BA [Hons] 3D Design Modelmaking + Digital Art

Hi, I’m Simona, an Italian 3D Designer and model maker. Design and Making have had always been my greatest passions. Thanks to these amazing academic years at IADT, I deepened my passion for digital, which led me to VR. This is the journey I want to pursue. I’m impressed by the impact that a VR experience leaves on the user who records the event as an actual personal experience with all the linked feelings; that’s why I want to combine this potential with an ethical design approach. I already had good digital knowledge, especially with software such as AutoCAD, Illustrator and Rhino. Since last year, though, I’m totally into 3d software like 3ds Max and Unity

A Virtual experience (VR) of a physical impairment condition

This is intended as an ethical design project that aims to help the inclusion of disabled people in society, growing empathy by living an involving experience such as the VR. I intend to suggest this tool to professionals such as Designers, Architects, Engineers who design, think, make and shape the world we live in. As a consequence of having this "personal experience" (so as experts describe it), in the role of a person with physical impairments, their subsequent products will be affected by that feeling; hence, the access to them would be offered to a more variated range of people. I'd propose this tool to institutions that aim to find new ways to solve the inclusion issue and companies that want to increase their users and customers typology.

The importance of social inclusion of disabled people and the role of Design and Technology

Society has the main responsibility for the marginalisation of people with physical and mental disabilities who, due to an unwelcome environment and scarcity of policies, are excluded from social life; this also produces an alarming risk of poverty.
Design, whose core aim is to find a solution to problems, has to find a way to improve the situation.
If we consider that disability results from an inadequate environment, its correction should trigger inclusion naturally.
There are already successful models that can be replicated and spread to simplifying the process. Those involve the design industry (and its actual implementation) and the show business (that helps to build familiarity).
The workplace's inclusion is also a vital step forward to take; that is productive both for the worker and the employer.
Inclusion also means a growth of interaction and cultural development. Creativity is another field that can benefit from inclusion and vice-versa.
The main goal of inclusion is to create "Normality".
As opposed to the "hero" disabled figure, who fights to claim his/her rights, the "ordinary" disabled figure cannot or doesn't want to fight any war and aims to have an average life, made of normality.
Personalised and artistic prosthetics help the acceptance either from an able-bodied population (more inclined to approach a disabled that emphasise artistically the deficiency, rather than hiding it) and from the disabled themselves (who, due to a personalised prosthetic, feel more "unique" than "stigmatised"). However, wear a prosthetic should be a choice, not the strategy to be aesthetically accepted by society.
Technological progress makes it possible to regain functionality and accomplish tasks denied before, hence inclusion.
The growth of empathy and interaction, from society and professionals (as makers of the world in which we live), can benefit everyone in many ways. Virtual Reality is a tool that has a big chance to make this happens.