Three images from left to right: A woman in a form-fitting, long-sleeved prototype sound suit; close-up of the side of a woman's head, a bedazzled hearing aid in her ear; a colorful fabric sleeve covering a prosthetic leg.

Left to right: Soundshirt (prototype, 2015–16), designed by Francesca Rosella (Italian) and Ryan Genz (American) for CuteCircuit (London, UK, founded 2004); photo courtesy of CuteCircuit. Earring Aid, Bedazzled (2014), designed by Elana Langer; photo © Hanna Agar. Prosthetic Leg Covers (ca. 2011), designed and manufactured by McCauley Wanner and Ryan Palibroda for Alleles Design Studio (Victoria, Canada, founded 2013); photo courtesy of The ALLELES Design Studio Ltd.


Heinz Galleries

Access+Ability highlights some of the extraordinary research and designs developed over the past decade with and by people who span a wide range of physical, cognitive, and sensory abilities. Fueled by demand, as well as advances in research and technology, a proliferation of functional, life-enhancing products is creating unprecedented access.

The objects on view, many of which are still prototypes, represent the future of accessibility design. Low-tech designs that assist with daily routines, digital technology like eye-tracking devices for communicating and editing, sensors that stabilize tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease, innovations in all-terrain wheelchairs—these are some of the devices augmenting the potential for people to access the world.

Access+Ability was organized by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. The CMOA presentation of Access+Ability is organized by Rachel Delphia, the Alan G. and Jane A. Lehman Curator of Decorative Arts and Design.