The Wireless Emergency Alerts Video Platform: Emergency Alerts in Many Formats Allow Access for All

This research brief reports on developing a software app that demonstrates the technical feasibility of providing WEA messages in multiple formats, namely text-based messages, spoken messages, symbology, and ASL video with captions, to improve the accessibility of the messages for all receivers. The results of a usability study examining how people who are Deaf understand the emergency messages in multiple formats are also described. 

Battery Extension Tool: A study of smartphone battery demand and conservation modes

The project surveyed power controls that currently exist within current mobile operating systems and evaluated the battery demand of wireless devices, comparing typical operation with optimal battery operation while various accessibility apps are in use. These data were analyzed to develop recommendations for best practices for battery charge extension of wireless devices. A proof-of-concept, customizable user interface prototype app, the Battery Extension Tool (BET), was developed to allow...

Technology and Disability Policy Highlights – Final Issue 2021

In September, the FCC celebrated Lifeline Awareness Week from the 20th through the 24th to bring attention to the Lifeline program and increase enrollment of eligible households. While in August, the Senate passed a $550 billion bill entitled the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. In the Act, there are specific federal provisions related to broadband. This newsletter highlights the six major provisions that the bill outlines to improve broadband and wireless


Technology and Disability Policy Highlights – July 2021

July marked the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As large gatherings are still approached with great trepidation, many advocates and members of the disability community celebrated virtually. President Biden, a co-sponsor of landmark legislation, released a Proclamation affirming the rights and protections of people with disabilities. Including equitable access to opportunities to increase economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and social


Wireless RERC on the Record: NTIA Survey Comments Encourage Accessibility of Survey Dissemination Processes

July 26, 2021 – The Wireless RERC submitted comments to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) regarding their request for input on the draft Internet Use Survey. A 67-question survey that they anticipate adding to the November 2021 edition of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS). A focus of our comments was ensuring that interviewers conducting personal visits are properly equipped to communicate with people who have...

Survey of User Needs, SUNspot 1 Use of Mobile Phones by Individuals with Disabilities, 2019-2020

This research brief presents findings from the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Wireless Inclusive Technologies’ (Wireless RERC) Survey of User Needs (SUN) for 2019-2020. We present key findings regarding mobile phone use and satisfaction by consumers with disabilities. A total of 219 respondents, or 98.3%, of users who responded indicated owning or using a wireless device such as a traditional cell phone, smartphone, tablet, or wearable device.

Survey of User Needs, SUNspot 2 Use of Wireless Technology Features and Wireless Device Activities by Individuals with Disabilities, 2019-2020

This report presents findings from the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Wireless Inclusive Technologies’ (Wireless RERC) Survey of User Needs (SUN) for 2019-2020. In this report, we present key findings regarding the use of wireless technology features by SUN respondents, including real-time-text, intelligent assistants, and visual and audio display options. We also discuss the use of wireless devices by individuals with disabilities for a variety of activities. Whereas...

Technology and Disability Policy Highlights – May 2021

Throughout May, the world celebrated Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The U.S. Access Board published a press release commemorating the progress of accessibility in the country. They acknowledged their accessibility and inclusion programming over the last few months leading up to GAAD. Individuals or companies looking to improve their accessibility practices can take one of GAAD’s virtual training sessions and learn more about digital accessibility guidelines and standards....

Technology and Disability Policy Highlights – Spring 2021

During March, disability advocates and members of the community celebrated Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) coordinated with state and local municipal governments to raise awareness for better inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in all aspects of human life. Each year a resource guide...

Technology and Disability Policy Highlights – February 2021

In February, the annual African American Conference on Disabilities (AACD) was virtual, free, and lasted throughout February. Britney Wilson, a graduate of Howard University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a Black woman born with Cerebral Palsy, gave the opening speech. She discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic illustrates why disability, and especially at the intersection of race and disability, has always been and always will be a social justice issue that deserves more...


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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.