In his latest book, The Design of Future Things, design lama Donald Norman posits the development of self-propelling luggage, then considers the implications:
“The luggage, with its wheels, would behave like a handicapped object, so it would need to seek out curb cuts at street intersections and ramps and elevators to maneuver within buildings. Human wheelchair users are often stymied: the wheeled luggage would be even more frustrated. And beyond curbs and stairs, navigating through city traffic would likely defeat its visual processing systems.”
So the ultimate impetus for universal design might not be the needs of humans, but of machines? Fascinating, Captain.