Federal / Regulatory

Use of Mainstream Wireless Technology by Adults who Use Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Cellphones, smartphones and tablets offer considerable potential to enhance the independence and social and economic participation of people with disabilities. The rapid proliferation of smartphones and tablets has offered new low-cost speech generating options on mainstream platforms for users of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices. Data are presented from the Survey of User Needs (SUN), a national survey on use of mobile wireless technology by people across several...

Optimizing Accessibility of Wireless Emergency Alerts: 2015 Survey Findings

The Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system is a free, opt-out, national emergency alerting service that was deployed in 2012 as one component of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning Systems (IPAWS). Since 2012 over 10,000 WEA messages have been transmitted to mobile phones in the U.S. In 2015, a national online survey on WEAs (2015 WEA Survey) was conducted to understand the effectiveness of WEA messages for people with disabilities. The survey collected data on availability, awareness and...

Innovation and Wearable Computing: A Proposed Framework for Collaborative Policy Design

The rapidly expanding market for wearable computing devices (wearables), driven by the confluence of information and communication technology and public acceptance of a design aesthetic, suggests nearly limitless potential for consumer uses. As adoption of wearables spreads, there are cultural and social impacts that represent both barriers and opportunities, with subsequent public policy ramifications. All too often designers, technologists, and policymakers operate independently;...

Assets, Actions, Attitudes: Hearing and Vision Impaired Mobile Technology Personas

 Designers and engineers utilize personas and user profiles to give life and substance to user research findings. The pace of development and diffusion of mobile wireless technologies make modeling of consumer profiles ever more critical, especially for people with disabilities, for whom mobile technology can be either empowering or disenfranchising. Fueled by global competition and government policy in the US and elsewhere, inclusive design has become a priority for wireless device...

Learning Futures with Mixed Sentience

People with disabilities have benefited from the use of assistive technologies that compensate for, or augment functioning.  Socially assistive robots (SAR) both assist with functioning, and engage users socially, often as service, co- robots and companions.  Trends in networked learning communities suggest that membership and rules of exchange will define function, engagement and experiences.  Future communities will likely be...

Use of consumer wireless devices by South Africans with severe communication disability

Advancements in wireless technology (e.g. cell phones and tablets) have opened new communication opportunities and environments for individuals with severe communication disabilities. The advancement of these technologies poses challenges to ensuring that these individuals enjoy equal access to this increasingly essential technology. However, a paucity of research exists.   These wireless devices offer substantial benefits and opportunities to individuals with disabilities who rely on...

App Factory: A Flexible Approach to Rehabilitation Engineering in an Era of Rapid Technology Advancement

This article describes a flexible and effective approach to research and development in an era of rapid technological advancement. The approach relies on secondary dispersal of grant funds to commercial developers through a competitive selection process. This “App Factory” model balances the practical reliance on multi-year funding needed to sustain a rehabilitation engineering research center (RERC), with the need for agility and adaptability of development efforts undertaken in a rapidly-...

Spring Issue: March - April 2016 Technology and Disability Policy Highlights

This spring, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) moved the needle forward on several large communications issues that impact access by people with disabilities.  In April, the FCC Order concerning the Lifeline and Linkup programs [WC Docket No.11-42] took a variety of actions to create an affordable Lifeline broadband program.  The Order discusses the minimum service standards for Lifeline Services, asserting that functional Internet access is...

November 2015 Technology and Disability Policy Highlights

In November, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took several actions to improve communications access for people with disabilities. Regarding emergency communications, in efforts to implement the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA), they announced that beginning November 30, 2015, video programming distributors must provide emergency information television text crawls to people with vision loss by sounding an aural tone...

October 2015 Technology and Disability Policy Highlights

In October, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to update Hearing Aid Compatibility Rules for wireline, wireless and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telecommunications equipment. Among other things, the proposed amendments address concerns and request stakeholder input on developing an industry standard for wireline handsets and their volume controls, and extending volume control standards to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) equipment and wireless handsets. ...

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Disclaimer

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.