Federal / Regulatory

The Smart Phone: A first platform for pervasive computing

The mobile or smart phone is ushering in the real age of ubiquitous computing, and we shouldn't undervalue its importance. This issue highlights work that presents specific smart phone applications as well as programming infrastructure for further development and studies of emergent uses.

Wireless Technology Use by People with Disabilities: A National Survey

Access to and use of mobile wireless consumer technology (i.e., mobile devices like cellphones and tablets, software and services) has become critical to social and economic participation, especially for people with disabilities who already face additional barriers. This article presents data from the Survey of User Needs (SUN) conducted by the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies (Wireless RERC) from June
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The Georgia Tech Aware Home

The Aware Home Research Initiative (AHRI) at Georgia Tech is devoted to the multidisciplinary exploration of emerging technologies and services based in the home. Starting in 1998, our collection of faculty and students has created a unique research facility that allows us to simulate and evaluate user experiences with off-the-shelf and state-of-the-art technologies. With specific expertise in health, education, entertainment and usable security, we are able to apply our research to problems...

Wireless Technologies and Accessibility for People with Disabilities: Findings from A Policy Research Instrument

The near universal deployment in the United States of a wide variety of information and communications technologies, both wired and wireless, creates potential barriers to use for several key populations, including the poor, people with disabilities, and the aging. Equal access to wireless technologies and services can be achieved through a variety of mechanisms, including legislation and regulations, market-based solutions, and awareness and outreach-based approaches. This article discusses...

The Promise of Municipal WiFi and Failed Policies of Inclusion: the Disability Divide

Wireless technologies, especially those deployed by municipalities, have been offered as one way to enhance access to society at large, including people with disabilities and others on the wrong side of the digital divide. One of the promises of municipal WiFi, is free or low-cost service promised in the public interest of citizens. This paper presents research on the current state of municipal wireless network design and policies with regard to people with...

Universal Design of Auditory Graphs: A Comparison of Sonification Mappings for Visually Impaired and Sighted Listeners

Determining patterns in data is an important and often difficult task for scientists and students. Unfortunately, graphing and analysis software typically is largely inaccessible to users with vision impairment. Using sound to represent data (i.e., sonification or auditory graphs) can make data analysis more accessible; however, there are few guidelines for designing such displays for maximum effectiveness. One crucial yet understudied design issue is exactly how changes in data (e.g.,...

Accessibility of Emergency Communications to Deaf Citizens

Since 2001, the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies (Wireless RERC) has taken an active role in promoting accessibility of emergency alerting systems for Americans with disabilities. Among federal government initiatives is a new rule that will take effect in 2010, requiring that emergency alerts be sent using Short Messaging Service (SMS) from all cell phone towers in areas affected by emergencies. This paper shares consumer input on wireless emergency...

Tomorrow's Elders with Disabilities: What the Wireless Industry Needs to Know

Since the baby boom decades of 1946–1964, decreasing fertility rates and increasing lifespans have led to worldwide growth of the elder population. This growth is already challenging healthcare systems, family structures, and national economies. The growing population of elders is also focusing attention on the changes in mental, physical, and sensory abilities that come to everyone who lives long enough and to those with chronic disabilities due to accident or illness. This new focus...

Toward mobile phone design for all: Meeting the needs of stroke survivors. Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation

In the July-August 2008 issue of Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation, Greig and colleagues described a small, qualitative study of features of mobile phone handset design, documentation, and use that either enhance or hinder usability for people with aphasia. The authors noted that, despite considerable difficulties, study participants appreciated the social participation that mobile phones support. Findings to date of the Wireless RERC’s Survey of User Needs (SUN) reinforce...

Mobile Emergency Alerting Made Accessible

It is critical that next-generation warning systems be developed such that persons with disabilities are given equal access to emergency alerts. This paper discusses research and development activities to provide next-generation, mobile emergency alerting systems to people with disabilities. A framework for prototyping mobile phone-based emergency alert systems and multiple systems built on this framework are presented. Results from field trials indicated support and the need for accessible...

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The contents of this website were developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number 90RE5025-01-00). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this website do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.