Social Sensory Architectures

Mar 12, 2017

12:00pm – 4:00pm CT

Social Sensory Architectures is an on-going research project led by Sean Ahlquist at the University of Michigan to design technology-embedded multi-sensory environments for children with autism spectrum disorder. The research involves the development of therapies which utilize the reinforcing capabilities of a multi-sensory experience for skill-building tasks related to fine/gross motor control and social interaction. Through the use of advanced textile and structural design, sensing technology and bespoke software, complex textile landscapes are transformed into physically, visually and sonically interactive environments. The research was spurred initially by Ahlquist's observations of his daughter Ara, who has autism along with specific issues such as non-verbal communication, sensory-seeking and hypotonia. Involving faculty in psychiatry, kinesiology and practitioners in the field of autism therapy, the Social Sensory Architectures project seeks to study the linkages between issues of communication and movement related to developing opportunities for social interaction.

Social Sensory Architectures is a winner of SXSW Eco’s 2016 Place by Design Competition. Come test out this incredible use of emerging technologies, and learn more at

Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.

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