Clew Co-Design Program

Program Invitation

Are you interested in learning more about the research and development of assistive technologies? Do you enjoy trying out and testing new technologies like mobile apps and wearables? Would you like to explore careers in digital accessibility, design and software development? If you’ve answered YES, then we invite you to apply to the Clew Co-design Program - a nine-week program that will immerse you into the research, development and creation of mobile apps that are helping people who are blind and low-vision navigate and explore their surroundings.

This program is much more than just user-testing in a lab. The Clew Co-Designer program provides a nine-week learning experience for you to explore career areas in digital technologies.

Materials from Last Year

The details:

  • Program dates: June 6th, 2022 - August 5th, 2022.
  • Who: Blind and low vision individuals, O&M specialists, AT trainers.
  • Language requirement: the program will be conducted in English.
  • Number of available slots: 40 co-designers.
  • Participation: Can be virtual or on-site at Olin College of Engineering.
  • Technical Experience level: Comfortable using iOS. Using Clew is a plus.
  • Hourly commitment: 2-3 hours per week.
  • Compensation/Honorarium: Yes.
  • Application Form

Program Details

The OCCaM Lab at Olin College of Engineering has been pioneering the development of O&M technology for navigation and exploration using augmented reality. Professor Paul Ruvolo and his team of researchers have developed Clew - an iOS mobile app that is helping blind and low vision individuals navigate indoor environments. Clew uses artificial intelligence and augmented reality, AR to provide spatial information and navigational queues, allowing users to navigate routes within indoor environments. Clew has been available for 3 years with thousands of users worldwide. The Clew app is a novel platform that allows us to both use the smartphone to develop AR technology as well as a conduit for the co-design process. The co-design process allows our research team to engage with a large and diverse group of blind and visually imapired people to better understand how O&M technology plays in their daily lives.

Program Goals

The Clew Co-Design program is a nine-week program that recruits 35-40 B/VI individuals who are interested in participating in the research and development process of O&M technology for indoor navigation. The Clew co-design programs intends to:

  • Allow individuals who are B/VI to take an active role in designing technologies for O&M (this is what we mean by the term "co-design") by trying out app prototypes, contributing new ideas for app features, and providing critical feedback to create O&M technologies that create positive impact in the lives of B/VI folks from around the world. We want co-designers to have a sense of ownership over the technology that we collaboratively create and which we will provide at no cost to the B/VI community.
  • Provide an educational experience to B/VI individuals who are interested in exploring careers in STEM, product development, design and accessibility.

Your Participation

The program will be structured in the following way.

Co-Design work with the Clew Research Team (1.5 hours / week)

  • 1 hour per week using Clew or other O&M applications for indoor navigation.
  • ~1 hour every two weeks meeting with the team, participating in testing or interviewing.
  • Providing feedback, suggestions and ideas to the research team.
  • Providing rich data from your phone when using Clew for co-design activities. This data will include motion data as well as periodic snapshots from your rear-facing camera. All data collected will only be seen by the Clew team and the data collection and management plan has been approved by the Brandeis IRB, which is a body that seeks to ensure that risks and benefits to participants are handled appropriately.

Educational Activities (1-2 hours biweekly)

Biweekly workshops on the following career fields:

  • Design & Accessibility Testing
  • User Experience Research
  • Coding & Engineering

The ability to ‘shadow’ the research and development team. Mentorship and Advice with Professor Paul Ruvolo.


Participants will be compensated with a gift card for $200 US dollars for their participation in the program (e.g., the default is an Amazon Gift card). In order to be compensated, participants must fill out appropriate paperwork.

How to Apply

To apply to the program, we invite you to fill out our application form. If you have any questions, please contact Professor Paul Ruvolo at