Current product design methodologies do not typically address the creation of inclusive products (products that meet the needs of persons with and without disabilities). In this paper, empathic design principles and modular product design strategies are explored as part of a novel approach to inclusive design. The use of disability simulation as a data collection methodology both increases the safety and ease by which customer needs can be gathered and gives designers an empathic design experience with the products they develop. A disability simulation suit is designed to support empathic gathering of customer needs. The suit is subjected to validation trials to determine how accurately it mimics the physical and perceptual behaviors of persons with disabilities in users of the suit. Initial results show that the disability simulation suit provides a valid empathic design experience that yields similar customer needs and reduced dexterity as persons with disabilities.

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