I'm Mariana Pinheiro, an Industrial Designer and Entrepreneur passionate about fun, emotional products. I loves to reshape technology through my creative designs, and develop tools that stimulate the user’s senses and enhance their everyday experiences. I have pursued my undergraduate degree in Product Design in Brazil, where I also spent a year and a half studying Surface Design and the impact of textures and patterns in everyday objects. I used to design and sell my products to the local Brazillian community. My special interest in technology brought me to Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), where I pursued my MFA in Industrial Design and was introduced to the field of Access Technology.
Over the past two years, I have been deeply involved in the development of a series of Access Technology Projects that have the potential to benefit the local community. Due to a close relationship with the Al Sigl Community of Agencies (http://www.alsigl.org), an institution that provides services for people with disabilities, my projects have been developed side by side with the end users. At RIT, I have been collaborating with a multidisciplinary team, designing interactive toys / therapy tools for children with disabilities. My products are being tested by children and therapists through collaboration with Al Sigl and other agencies, with the goal of bringing them to a larger community in the near future.
RIT has also provided Me with the opportunity to engage with my academic community and with students on projects that can have a positive impact in people’s lives. I have experience teaching both Graduate and Undergraduate classes and I love to to engage my students in critical thought about the future of technology and its impact in society. I'm currently working at RIT’s Access Technology Prototyping Lab and Student Incubator, where I'm leading a series of Access Technology Projects and continuing the research and development for my startup.
I believe that technology can be designed to be accessible, engaging and most of all, fun!