Reports

Survey of User Needs-SUNspot 1: Use of Mobile Phones by Individuals with Disabilities (2017-2018)

This research brief presents findings from the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Wireless Inclusive Technologies’ (Wireless RERC) Survey of User Needs (SUN) for 2017-2018. We present key findings regarding mobile phone use and satisfaction by consumers with disabilities.

Research Brief: Accessibility, Usability, and Social and Cultural Acceptance of Next-Generation Wireless Devices

A new research brief by CACP researchers Nathan W. Moon, Paul M.A. Baker, and Kenneth Goughnour, summarizes findings from focus groups which explored accessibility, social appropriateness, and cultural acceptability issues of wireless technology related use among individuals with disabilities. The research was conducted for the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Wireless Inclusive Technologies (Wireless RERC). A total of 41 individuals with disabilities who use smartphones,...

New Wireless RERC Research Brief: Accessibility, Usability, and Social and Cultural Acceptance of Next-Generation Wireless Devices

Publication Type: 

A new research brief by CACP researchers Nathan W. Moon, Paul M.A. Baker, and Kenneth Goughnour, summarizes findings from focus groups which explored accessibility, social appropriateness, and cultural acceptability issues of wireless technology related use among individuals with disabilities. The research was conducted for the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Wireless Inclusive Technologies (Wireless RERC). A total of 41 individuals with disabilities who use smartphones, wearables, and "smart home" devices participated in the study.

Additional Information

Date of Publication: 
Friday, December 21, 2018

Wireless RERC Publishes Mobile Phone Accessibility Review

Publication Type: 

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has a statutory obligation to evaluate the impact of their regulations that implement the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA). Every two-years the FCC submits a report to Congress on the state of industry compliance with the CVAA. In anticipation of the FCC’s call for stakeholder input to inform their 2018 CVAA Biennial Report, the Wireless RERC conducted a 2017 Mobile Phone Accessibility Review (Accessibility Review/Review).  Preliminary results of the review were submitted to the FCC[i] in response to the request for “input on the state of accessibility of “mobile” or wireless services, including basic phones and feature phones (collectively referred to herein as non-smartphones), as well as smartphones.”[ii] This report contains the full summary and comparative analyses.

 


[i] Mitchell, H., LaForce, S., Moon, N., Baker, P.M.A., Garcia, A., & Jacobs, B. (2018, May 3). Comments submitted in response to the Public Notice in the Matter of The Accessibility of Communications Technologies for the 2018 Biennial Report Required by the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act [CG Docket No. 10-213, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau]. Federal Communications Commission: Washington, D.C.

[ii] Federal Communications Commission. (2018). FCC Invites Public Comment in the Preparation of Biennial Report to Congress. Retrieved from https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-18-340A1.pdf

 

Date of Publication: 
Monday, February 4, 2019

Mobile Phone Accessibility Review

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has a statutory obligation to evaluate the impact of their regulations that implement the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA). Every two-years the FCC submits a report to Congress on the state of industry compliance with the CVAA. In anticipation of the FCC’s call for stakeholder input to inform their 2018 CVAA Biennial Report, the Wireless RERC conducted a 2017 Mobile Phone Accessibility...

Wireless RERC Seeking Public Input on Leadership Workshop Takeaways

Publication Type: 

In June, the Wireless RERC completed the Summary Report for Using Technology R&D to Effect Policy Change Leadership Workshop.  One of the key goals of the workshop was to provide pragmatic advice on how to engage in the policymaking process. One aspect of engagement includes providing written comments in response to a call for public input. As such, we would like to offer you the opportunity to provide your input on the Small Group Discussions section (pp. 10-13). 

In the afternoon, the attendees had small group discussions on the following topics:

  1. Data sources at your disposal – organizational data that could provide support for policy recommendations.
  2. Disability access policy priorities - policy domains that should be on the regulatory agenda to improve parity of access by people with disabilities.
  3. Engaging stakeholders- strategies for encouraging people with disabilities and non-governmental organizations to participate in federal rulemakings.

Each group was asked to extract from their discussion three takeaways. From your perspectives as advocates, practitioners, academics, government, or industry stakeholders, we invite you to review the takeaways and submit concurring or opposing arguments. Do you agree with the takeaways that each group produced? Is there a significant issue regarding use of data, disability access policy priorities, or stakeholder engagement that went unaddressed?

We hope that you reply. If you so choose, please send your comments to Salimah LaForce (salimah@cacp.gatech.edu) by August 22, 2018.

Additional Information

Date of Publication: 
Thursday, July 5, 2018

Paper Brief: Save Lives, Withstand Catastrophe, and Stimulate the Marketplace

This paper brief describes approaches that could encourage the use of FM Radio (specifically the FM chip) via mobile devices as an emergency information source. The intent is to supply unbiased considerations to help ensure that individuals with disabilities and other populations disproportionately impacted by disasters have alternative and accessible means to receive emergency information when cell coverage is disrupted, and access to power is limited.

FM Radio and RBDS-Based Emergency Alerting - Volume 2018, 02 – February 2018

U.S. Federal agencies are responsible for governing emergency communications systems capable of effectively and expeditiously notifying the public. There are several approaches to communicate with the public, but they are limited to cellular networks and cable systems. These limitations are susceptible to damaged cell towers and power outages which can leave people without a means of attaining information in the wake of and during a disaster event. Opening other channels of communication,...

Technology and Disability Policy Highlights 2017 Top 25 Topics

Publication Type: 
Image shows the top 25 key words with those that appeared with greater frequency being larger than words that appeared less frequently.  In descending order, the words are: Disabilities  Wireless Information Technology FCC RERC Accessibility Emergency Communications Government Policy Education Research  Service(s) National Devices Health Assistive Alert(s) ADA Digital Mobile Design Internet

Technology and Disability Policy Highlights (TDPH) editors covered a wide range of disability access issues in 2017. The graphic word cloud depicts the twenty-five most used keywords in 2017. The top five words by frequency in the 2016 and 2017 TDPH’s were the same, varying only slightly in incidence and order. The topic that experienced the greatest shift from both years was “community,” shifting from 17th in 2016 to 36th in 2017. Compared to 2016, 2017 content featured more health, assistive technologies/services, American with Disabilities Act (ADA), design, government, and education subject matter.

The top five most cited words for 2017 were: disabilities, wireless, information, technology, and FCC (Federal Communications Commission). Under the “disabilities” keyword, the most covered disability type was vision, followed by deaf, mobility, and cognitive. A sampling of the disability-type-specific coverage included WayBand, a running assistant for users that are blind; smart glasses as an object and print-reading technology for people that are blind; telecommunications relay services; American Sign Language (ASL) interpreted emergency messages; Ava App, that facilitates group discussions for people who are Deaf or hearing impaired; and statistics on smartphone use by adults with physical, sensory and cognitive disabilities.

Improvements in sensor and wearable technology and internet communication this past year are rapidly accelerating the pace of research, development, and deployment. Content covered under the wireless, information, technology, and FCC topics reflect these advancements, covering artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), the internet of things (IoT), 3D printing, robotics, wearables, emergency communications access, and autonomous vehicles. In 2017, Nucleus 7, the first cochlear implant, fully  with the iPhone, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. A Google Glass app was created to work as a communication assistant for children on the autism spectrum. Sign-To-Text, a prototype Smart Sign Glove, is advancing the goal of bridging the communication gap between people who primarily communicate using ASL and people that use spoken languages. Also, 3D printed models were used as educational aids for students with cognitive and vision disabilities.

Augmented reality and virtual reality technology continue to advance at a prodigious rate, with new technologies allowing for great increases in resolution, computational power, and portability. Relúmĭno, launched in 2017, is a Samsung Gear VR app that pairs the headset with the user’s smartphone cameras to make images more accessible through magnification, color contrast adjustment, outlining objects, and screen filtering. Microsoft’s second HoloLens featured a built-in AI co-processor to make mixed-reality smarter. Apple announced its new augmented reality platform, ARKit, a free programming framework that lets developers and consumers create their own augmented reality applications. 2017 also saw virtual reality used in immersive digital therapy to reduce phantom pain in people with spinal cord Injuries.

Artificial intelligence boomed last year like few other areas in tech, with big tech companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook having poured tons of money into the AI field. Labs and universities published papers at a higher volume in 2017. Companion robots that science fiction had promised finally hit the U.S. Leading the way was robot assistants, like Mayfield Robotics’ Kuri. Kuri is a companion robot that can offer users a variety of personalized reminders and communication options, such as home security surveillance and a virtual assistant for various tasks through a small, human-centered form factor and interface.

The legislative and regulatory activities were responsive to many of these advances in technology. Throughout 2017, the FCC sought stakeholder input on regulatory, technical, and consumer issues related to the fusion of broadband and health care delivery, access to 9-1-1, enhancing emergency alerts, hearing aid compatibility of wireless devices, and of course, their decision to partially repeal the 2015 Open Internet Order, reclassifying Internet once again as an information service. In the legislative arena, there was movement on autonomous vehicles legislation, and many states and organizations have emphasized the technology's potential to improve independent transportation access for people with disabilities and older adults.

Federal agencies advanced the modernization of digital policy and infrastructure in 2017, including changes to regulations affecting the delivery and specificity of alerts in crisis situations, and promotion of digital inclusion of minority, rural and disability populations. These included transitions from legacy text telephone communications (TTY) to Real-Time Text (RTT), new guidelines for emergency alert systems, and mobile coverage across rural America. One challenge the FCC addressed was the granularity at which emergency alerts could be targeted geographically. New regulations focused the precision with which emergency alerts must be transmitted. 2017 also marked the 27th anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). The FCC and the Department of Justice (DOJ) released information on how they are guiding policy and enforcing laws to advance a more inclusive society, further outlining agencies’ roles in complying with the ADA and outlining FCC initiatives that advance information and communications access by people with disabilities. Moreover, at long last the Section 508 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Standards and Guidelines (ICT-Refresh) were published in the Federal Register, starting the compliance clock for the federal agencies to make their electronic and information technologies and services accessible to people with disabilities.

2017 was a seminal year for accessible technology and policy, with many technologies introduced and refined, in addition to major policy changes that will deeply influence how we communicate and access information digitally moving forward. These technologies will undoubtedly have large effects on the technological landscape of 2018 and onwards. No matter the shifting landscape, the Wireless RERC will continue to analyze and present the policy implications of an increasingly connected world, and describe technologies’ effect on our daily lives. Increasingly, smart devices can sense, collect, store, and often act upon, or induce user actions based on data received and displayed, bridging physical and digital environments and allowing for innovative approaches to health promotion, community integration, and independent living. With the massive data exchanged via Internet-connected devices and their rapidly growing popularity, 2018 should continue the trend of national debate of the consideration of the health and social implications of this research. The Wireless RERC will continue our work in examining how people with disabilities, and by extension society, can benefit from technology in 2018 and onwards.

We would like to thank our community of readers from across the U.S. and around the world. The TDPH reaches 882 subscribers directly via email and extends to a much larger audience through social media. We engage over 890 members in our LinkedIn Group (ATPG), 1124 followers on Twitter (@CACPGT_wRERC), and 337 fans on Facebook (WirelessRERC). If you have not already, please join us on social media. None of this would be possible without you, our readers. You may receive this newsletter directly as a monthly digest, or as-it-happens updates on social media. Either way, we appreciate your being a part of our network.  As always…thanks for reading and sharing!

Accessibility, Usability, and the Design of Wearables and Wirelessly Connected Devices (Brief #17-01)

Researchers at the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Inclusive Technologies (Wireless RERC) have conducted a review of representative applications and examples of currently available wearable and connected technologies. Drawing on the findings, the research brief explores the potential impact of inclusive design principles on future device development for users with disabilities – a critical approach to ensuring that these

...

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Reports

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.