Bike-Ability: The Cycle Revolution

Bicycle wheel placed on a table, showing the spokes in detail

In an era when cycling has become one of the main ways of getting around, and for many, a way of getting around the city cheaper, it is clear that the cycling boom is here to stay. The increase in the last decade, with some statistics claiming it to be as high as 60%, has seen bicycles make up 25% of the vehicles in the morning commute. That’s an outstanding figure!

Bike-Ability: The Cycle Revolution, was held Saturday 9th of April, and was a multisensory tour in response to the current Cycle Revolution exhibition at Design Museum, London. The exhibition runs from 18 November 2015 to 30 June 2016, celebrating the diversity of contemporary cycling in Britain from every day commuting to Olympic level competition, and looking at where design and innovation may take the riders of the future.

The Studio Session:

Participant holding up a bicycle wheel on a table, with her hands at the centre of the spokes, and about 1 foot away from her face.
Image: A participant exploring a Cycle Wheel and it’s Spokes.

The tour started in the 1.5 studio with a discussion around current accessibility issues and some of the implementation of reasonable adjustment by institutions and other work places. Our focus on this tour was to explore materials and function, and how these materials used in the design of bicycles affects their function and usability. The history of bike-making itself reveals a host of materials, from steel, which is very tough but very heavy, to aluminium which is a lot lighter and will not rust, unlike steel, to the carbon fibre bikes which are almost 4 times stronger than steel but a lot more expensive, to the bamboo bikes, which have been quoted as been stronger by weight than steel.

So my question, to get us started, was to ask what memories we have of our first bicycles as kids, and what that experience was like?

Participant holding a bicycle frame, at chest height, and exploring the tactile detail of the A-frame.
Image: A participant handling the Bicycle A-frame.

We compared steel, aluminium and carbon fibre frames and quite evidently, it was clear that the aluminium frame was a lot lighter than the steel frame and it also does not rust like the steel frame will, but the carbon fibre frame was much lighter than the aluminium frame but also a lot more expensive.

Almost 4 times stronger than steel, the lightweight carbon fibre frame can be woven into shapes that metals cannot be made into, and where metals need welding at corners and joints, carbon fibres can be woven in one complete shape. Its durability makes it the choice of Olympic and all tour de France cyclists.

Participant holding a loop wheel close to her as she runs her hands around the rubber wheel
Image: A participant holding the loopwheel close to her and running her hands around the wheel.

The Loopwheel is a bicycle wheel that looks very much like a wheelchair or pushchair wheel and it uses an alternative to spokes to provide a more comfortable ride. The loopwheel springs which are the blue parts of the wheel positioned to replace bicycle spokes are constructed from carbon composite strips developed in conjunction with an archery bow manufacturer. These provide massive shock absorption so that what would have been a bumpy rides becomes a perfectly smooth ride. They are a lot more expensive than the regular wheels but do not need the maintenance that spokes may need.

Participants holding the UltraBike kit and Julie from UltraCane stands in-between them explaining how it works
Image: Participants holding the UltraBike as Julie from UltraCane explains how the technology works.

The UltraBike is an ultrasound kit designed to allow blind or visually impaired riders to cycle independently. The kit fixes onto the centre of the handlebars on any bicycle and is completely detachable.

The kit contains two ultrasound sensors that are positioned on the front, and these sensors point directly forward but also angled slightly outwards by 5 degrees. This ensures that the sensors can detect not just what is in front of the cyclist but also what is on either side of them.

This is the UltraBike kit's factor arm on the table, with the yellow button sensor showing.
Image: The tactor button on the arm of the UltraBike kit vibrates when the sensors detect an obstacle.

The tactor button is like an antenna that is used by touching, and the word tactor itself comes from the latin word tangier, which means to touch. The tactor buttons will vibrate when the sensors detect the boundary of the cycle track that is ridden around, giving ample warning so the cyclist is able to steer away from obstacles and stay on course.

Future Bike: Live Challenge:

The future bike live challenge explored the future of bicycle building and the Bamboo Bicycle Club with the Autumn Yard Design Collective were at hand to show our participants some of the processes involved in making a bamboo bike. This session was not just about building a bamboo bike because the challenge pushed the limits of their bamboo bike frames with the unique addition of 3D printed, carbon fibre reinforced lugs.

A participant holds 2 bamboo frames at chest height and smiles as she places the bamboo sticks in the shape of a cross.
Image: A participant holds 2 bamboo frames together, smiling as she feels the texture and strength of the bamboo.

Bamboo is said to be stronger by weight than steel, which means 5 kilograms of bamboo gives you more strength and tensility than 5 kilograms of steel. That is why we hear of bamboo bridges and multi-story scaffolding in places like Vietnam.

Building performance bamboo bicycles is an intensive and lengthy process but when done properly, the rewards can be great, producing bicycle frames that are both stiff and durable, nimble and confident, and lively and smooth.

A bamboo bike displayed at the Design Museum.
Image: A bamboo bike displayed at the entrance of the Design Museum.

Bamboo Bicycle Club conceived the idea to combine high-tech, open-source 3D printed components, with low tech, naturally sourced bamboo tubes. Teaming up with Oxford Brookes who specialise in the testing and analysis of 3D printed technology, vital expertise has gone into the realisation of this project.

Using 3D printed, carbon fibre reinforced lugs and bamboo frames, the goal is to prototype an open source bike that can be easily replicated by anyone.

The UltraBike Demonstration:

The UltraBike kit mounted on a bicycle and ready to use.
Image: The UltraBike kit mounted on a bicycle and ready to use.

We had a demonstration of the UltraBike with our participants and got to understand how the technology works in real life situation. The sensors detect at a range of 8 metres though this setting can be changed to suit the specific requirements of a cycle track.

On this occasion and as we were at the museum’s premises, we did not have a cycle track to test the full range and capability of the UltraBike but we did give all participants the opportunity to test how the kit feels to the touch, how easy the controls were to use, and how the various range settings allow the cyclist to detect things well ahead of themselves. This is a biomimicry of how bats and dolphins use sonar feedback and echolocation to find their way around.

Participant about to get on the UltraBike
Image: A participant about to have a short trial run on the UltraBike.

By giving the rider the ability to detect obstacles well ahead of themselves, the UltraBike range detection will allow the cyclist time to turn into a bend without cycling too acutely into or off the side of the track. The nearer you get to an obstacle or the boundary of the track, the higher the level of vibration. An understanding of the intricate feedback from the sensors helps the rider define the layout of the space around and this is what gives the rider the manoeuvre-ability to ride around a supervised cycle track, and in cycling clubs.

Cycle Revolution exhibition runs from 18 November 2015 to 30 June 2016.

Credits:
Handling objects property of the Design Museum
UltraBike kit, by UltraCane
Bamboo Bike, by Bamboo Bicycle Club

Note:
The Design Museum will be closing its current site on 30 June 2016, and will relocate to the former Commonwealth Institute building in Kensington, to open on 24 November 2016.

MaMoMi. All rights reserved 2016


 

 

Displacement and Migration: A multi-sensory tour

The next multi-sensory tour at the Design Museum is titled Displacement and Migration.

Design Museum Jan tour
Design Museum, Shad Thames, London
Date: Saturday 9 January 2016
Time: 14:00

This tour will investigate migration, displacement and movement. Starting at Designers in Residence 2015, this tour will highlight elements of movement and mapping. The tour includes a session in the museum’s Learning studio, to explore the resources and enable discussion around movement and mapping.

Tours are free for blind and partially sighted visitors and their companions, including exhibition entry.

Advance booking is recommended but not essential. The tour meets in the museum foyer 10 minutes before the session is due to begin.

If you are interested in this tour, please use the online form here or call +44 (0)20 7940 8782.

Read more at: http://designmuseum.org/plan-your-visit/access/touch-tours/displacement-and-migration-a-multi-sensory-tour#sthash.l5R5nK5l.dpuf

LIGHT, SOUND AND THE ENVIRONMENT: A new Design Museum multisensory tour

The Design Museum have designed a new series of multisensory tours and the first one in the series is scheduled to hold on Saturday 11 July 2015.

This July multisensory tour, titled Light, Sound and the Environment, will explore how light and sound have been used to identify colour, and how we in turn respond to objects and items in the built environment.

Design Museum Tour. July 2015

The Design Museum continues to offer exhibition tours to its blind and visually impaired visitors, and this multisensory tour gives the opportunity to engage with objects from the museum’s Designs of the Year 2015 and Collection Lab.

Light, Sound and The Environment takes place on Saturday 11 July 2015, at 14:00.

To book on this tour, please call +44 (0)20 7940 8782. You can also view their website for more information at www.designmuseum.org

Tours are available free of charge, including museum entry, for groups of 2 – 6. Please call to discuss any specific needs.
The tours last approximately 1.5 hours and take place in the exhibition space.
Tours must be booked in advance.

Image and information used in collaboration with The Design Museum, London.

Met workshop for kids with visual disabilities | September 28: 2-3.30pm |

Programs for Visitors with Disabilities

 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, holds a Met workshop for kids with visual disabilities this weekend.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art welcomes all visitors and affirms its commitment to offering programs and services that are accessible to everyone. The Met’s Picture This! Family Program is for children ages 5-17 with visual disabilities and their families.

Date: Sunday, September 28, 2-3:30 pm
Theme: Made from the Earth
Explore objects made from the earth through detailed descriptions, touch, and other sensory activities. Create your own clay artwork to take home.

These workshops support multiple areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum, including orientation and mobility, social skills, independent living skills, recreation and leisure skills, and sensory efficiency skills.

Booking: This program is free, but registration is required. Register now! Or contact The Met for further information. Call (212) 650-2010 or email access@metmuseum.org.

Visit www.metmuseum.org/events/programs/programs-for-visitors-with-disabilities for more information.

 

Note: All information used permission of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Copyright Metropolitan Museum of Art


 

EXPLORING ACCESS.

EXPLORING ACCESS.
Access at the Design Museum: July 2014.

The Access programme at the Design Museum offers its blind, visually impaired and deaf visitors the opportunity to explore the museum’s permanent collection or special exhibitions with highly skilled museum educators, providing detailed and engaging experience of the works on display. The Design Museum is the world’s leading museum devoted to contemporary architecture and design, pioneering new thinking in design through its programme of exhibitions, events and learning projects.

DESIGNS OF THE YEAR 2014.
Closes on 25th of August.

DESIGNS OF THE YEAR 2014 is an exhibition that offers viewers the opportunity to review the last year in Design. Celebrating the very best across seven design disciplines, nominees were placed in categories ranging from Architecture, Product, Fashion, Furniture, Graphics, Digital and Transport. On show are items like the CHILD CHEMO HOUSE, KOBE in the Architecture category, through to the XL1 CAR designed by Volkswagen in the Transport category. Within these are a variety of objects and products to learn about and be fascinated by.

“These show the best of design, from initiatives in technology or materials to design that helps make life easier, safer or more stimulating. Which is your favourite nominee?” – Gemma Curtin, Curator, DESIGNS OF THE YEAR 2014.

The show is displayed on the second floor of the museum and there is easy access for wheelchair users via a lift that takes you from the ground floor. You travel through various themes like Care, Situation, Delight, Thought and Connect, with a clear view of the display and various items that can be touched.

For this publication, we will take a brief look at just a few items on display.

CLEVER CAPS

Designed by Claudio Patrick Vollers (Co-inventor & Designer) and Henry Suzuki (Co-inventor)

“Clever Caps are bottle caps which also work as building blocks. They can be collected and used on their own, but are also compatible with the world’s most popular building blocks. In this first commercial version, they were designed to fit PCO 1881 standard bottle necks, and include a tamper evident safety seal.” – Design Museum.

The Clever caps is fun, movable, changeable and adaptable. I see the younger visitors really enjoying this product.

THE SEABOARD GRAND

Designed by Roland Lamb and Hong-Yeul Eom

“The Seaboard is a reinvention of the piano keyboard, re-imagining the keys as soft waves that enable continuous and discrete real-time, tactile control of sound through three-dimensional hand gestures. The design combines contemporary minimalism and traditional handcrafted quality.” – Design Museum.

I like this one particularly because of its multisensory feature, as you play the keys through soft, silicone surface and can hear the sound through several headphones. This redesign of the piano allows a more intuitive control of the sound experience.

XL1 CAR

Designed by Volkswagen

“The Volkswagen XL1 becomes the world’s the most efficient liquid-fueled production car with an official combined cycle figure of 0.9 l/100 km (313 mpg) and an aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0.189. It requires only 8.4 PS to sustain a constant 100kph on a level surface in still air, a speed the car can reach from rest in 12.7 seconds.” – Design Museum.

The smooth curvaceous form and sleek lines around this car, and its aerodynamic shape, helps reduce drag and is equally good looking.

THE NEW CREMATORIUM AT THE WOODLAND CEMETERY

Designed by Johan Cesling

“Built on an undulating terrain in a wild wood section of the Woodland Cemetery, the New Crematorium features exposed white concrete and white glazed bricks in a building which is at once robust and sensitive.” – Design Museum.

The organic features of this product lends itself to greater exploration. The colour and texture of the brick used matches the building materials.

PAUL SMITH SHOP FACADE

Designed by 6a Architects.

“The cast iron used for this facade references London street furniture and creates a sharp contrast to the neighbouring Georgian townhouses. A sinuous pattern of interlocking circles puts an abstract spin on a classic Regency shape, while curved windows nod to the glass in nearby arcades.” – Design Museum.

Hidden in the facade is a Paul Smith drawing cast in the surface. This facade uses cast iron, a material with great thermic values.

Booking a tour:

To book a touch tour of this exhibition, please contact the access team via email at access@designmuseum.org or telephone 020 7148 6883.

View the Design Museum website at www.designmuseum.org

Next month, we will be reviewing LOUIS KHAN: THE POWER OF ARCHITECTURE, currently showing at the Design Museum.

 


 

Access Audience briefing.

TheDesignMuseum

The Design Museum, Shad Thames, London.

Question: Would you like to learn a bit more about museum signage and way finding?

Question: Why is it important to create a clear and concise way finding system in cultural institutions that best applies the build environment?

The Design Museum invites an Audience panel to attend a briefing on museum signage and way finding.

The plans:

Design Museum is relocating from its current location in Shad Thames, near Tower Bridge, to the former Commonwealth Institute building, High Street Kensington, in 2 years time. Current and potential visitors are being invited to find out more about plans for the new museum.

New Design Museum Time-lapse. December 2013.

Video courtesy Design Museum, London.

The museum has developed its signage and way finding strategy with consultants Cartlidge Levene. Now the museum would like to invite some of their audiences to learn what this strategy might look like and to also take questions.

Audience feedback:

The museum is running this audio-described briefing and questions session for blind and partially sighted visitors, and volunteers from the museum’s audience panels. The session will be held at the current Design Museum (near Tower Bridge) on Tuesday 11 February, from 10.30-12.30. Public travel costs will be reimbursed for attendees and alternative transport arrangements can be made where necessary.

If you are interested in attending or finding out more about this session please contact access@designmuseum.org or telephone 020 7148 6883.

The aim is for a cross section of participants and these sessions have a limited capacity so do respond quickly if you’re interested. Please get back to the Access team by Wednesday 5 February.

Image

Image Designworkplan, Netherlands.

Audience Integration in Public Arts venues: Accessibility.

Image

Supporting Accessibility in our various communities and amongst diverse interests through the arts, design and other Media platforms ultimately creates a more Accessible society. 

It is a known fact that the ageing population is increasing and greater longevity plus the increased numbers with known and recognised disability means there is an urgent need to tackle some of the issues surrounding Access and Inclusion.

Attending the Audience Accessibility Models for Performing Art Spaces seminar, held at the Daryl Roth Theatre 2, East street, New York, on the 7th of October, gave me an opportunity to gain more insight into the various approaches, policies and strategies currently in place to improve Access.

This event was co-sponsored by Art Beyond Sight and the Inclusion in the Arts, and brought together recognised arts and disability experts, arts professionals, government agencies, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) specialists, program directors and disability advocates, sharing best practices and resources for performing arts spaces.

______________________________________________________________________________

 Begin with the end in mind” – Stephen R. Covey

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It is crucial to understand exactly what is desired and what is possible as we continue to unravel some of the issues surrounding Accessibility. The above quote by Stephen R. Covey was used by Elisabeth Salzhauer Axel, founder and President of Art Beyond Sight (ABS), at the close of the seminar.

As we aspire for greater independence for our disabled community, “we all need to listen to the needs of the community and employ the various or multiple ends to fulfil these goals.” – Elisabeth Salzhauer Axel.

Below are a few excerpts and key texts taken from speakers at the seminar.

Speakers:

Julia Pinover is Senior Staff Attorney in charge of Disability Rights Advocates’ New York Office.

“Many of our public accommodation breaks the law by not providing effective communication and suitable seating arrangement.”

The law requires that:

Sight-lines in theatre seating should be comparable to the general public;

We cannot discriminate against people with disabilities, and there are no excuses for denying or segregating them;

We cannot deny someone the right to sit in a performance;

We cannot serve persons with disability with a separate benefit not available to others.

 

John McEwen is the Executive Director, New Jersey Theatre Alliance.

“When you are developing your Access programmes, always have long-range plans.”

Access programme providers should:

Include self-assessments to assess programme, services and facilities;

Create and provide non-discrimination policies (Policy statement);

Find out what more we can do to provide a better service;

Be encouraged to create a grievance procedure to resolve any disputes;

Be encouraged to share Advisory boards across organisations (for developing plans and strategies).

 

Jason R. Mischel is currently the Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel, New York City Mayors Office for People with Disabilities.

“We need to make the experience of people with disabilities as best and full an experience as other people are afforded.”

A lot of old buildings do not have appropriate seating and many have very poor sight-lines;

There are differences in the kind of facilities needed as some blind and deaf people have a variation in the tools needed.

 

David Sweeney is Executive Director of the Healing Arts Initiative, formerly known as Hospital Audiences.

“Removing barriers can be challenging.”

Many people have compound disability;

Cultural venues who are non-responsive have incomplete conversations;

We need to remove isolations and cultural divisions;

People need Education (informed perspectives) instead of the ignorance currently observed.

 

Christine Bruno is an Actor, director and coach.

“ADA compliance does not mean the venues or cultural institutions are Accessible.”

Accessibility has to do with communication;

We all need to keep the lines of communication open.

 

Beth Prevor is the co-founder and Executive Director of Hands On.

“Access should be about Audience up, not compliance down.”

The Ethos and ideology should be about improving Access;

We need to develop a centralised calendar for Accessibility programmes;

The experience is about communicating the experience and sharing the experience.

Other speakers included Frances Black, Director of Programs at A.R.T/New York; Lisa Caring, from Theatre Development Fund’s Accessibility Programs (TAP); Heidi Latsky, Artistic Director of Heidi Latsky Dance; Rachel Reiner, Senior Manager of Membership Services and Education Programs at The Broadway League, Inc; David Harrell, Actor, Speaker and disability Advocate; and Alexandria Wailes, Actor and ASL Consultant.

In summary, is this was a successful seminar, openly discussing Accessibility and Inclusion issues, and sharing best practice in Performing Arts Spaces and other Cultural institutions. It is clear that lines of communication need to be kept open not only between public accommodation providers, cultural institutions and their audience but also within the various disability audiences.

It has been stated that cross-institutional collaborations should be viewed as key to the success of removing barriers and improving Access because relevant information, expertise and resources can be shared by all responsive institutions, which will make this knowledge readily available and shared.

There is still a lot that can be done to educate front-of-house and Museum staff, the Managers, collections Curators and Directors on the issues around Accessibility, not only in the arts but in our lifestyle choices. The policies set up by government, and the practices upheld by cultural institutions, organisations and other responsive institutions can be equally supported by front-of-house staff and their management structure.

At the end of the day, the greatest concern and interest we currently have regarding Accessibility is about Audience Integration. 

We shall continue this goal with the end still in sight.

Audience Accessibility Models in Performing Art Spaces was co-sponsored by Art Beyond Sight and the Inclusion in the Arts