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Digital Outcasts: The New Bootstrapping

The term “outcast” covers numerous demographic categories. It can represent the 54 million Americans currently living with a disability. It can refer to patients who live in isolation during long-term rehabilitation. It describes those living in economically disenfranchised neighborhoods. And it covers anyone who relies on a product or service for basic life functions, but are prevented access by poor design.

This presentation will detail three real world case studies of digital outcasts – members of disenfranchised populations who transformed their communities through a “grass roots” approach to technological innovation. Individual examples will include: a young man living with traumatic brain injury whose customized iPad app aids his treatment; the use of virtual reality as a form of pain distraction, and a mobile nutritional support program assisting community leaders living in urban "food desert" neighborhoods.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. Why are there still digital outcasts in today's technologically advanced world?
  2. What efforts are being made to evolve the basic tenets of web accessibility to more future-thinking approaches? Why don't today's "Section 508" arguments apply to these emerging contexts?
  3. What relevance to the efforts of digital outcasts have on me, a participant of SXSWi? What ambient benefit can possibly result from examining these trends?
  4. What can we learn from the efforts of digital outcasts, and why are these lessons critical to the future of our health and wellness landscape?
  5. What are the chances that I'll be a digital outcast one day?



Kel Smith, Principal, Anikto LLC

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