Technology and Disability Highlights - October 2017

Date of Publication: 
2017 November
October 2017 was celebrated as National Disability Employment Awareness (NDEAM), and the contributions and achievements of people with disabilities were recognized and honored at events and in publications. The Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) 2017 theme for NDEAM was “Inclusion Drives Innovation.” In keeping with the theme, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau and Connect2HealthFCC Task Force convened the Accessibility Innovations Expo. Open to the public, the event was a unique showcase for pioneering accessible technology solutions to enhance the quality of life of people with disabilities. The FCC also approved revisions to the Hearing Aid Compatibility regulations to ensure that millions of Americans with hearing loss can continue to benefit from modern audio technologies. The revisions, among other things,  include new volume control standards for wireless mobile phones.
In Wireless RERC News, we are continuing data collection on our latest Survey of User Needs (SUN). The SUN is the Wireless RERC's cornerstone survey on wireless technology use by people with disabilities. User responses will help designers and engineers make new wireless devices and services that are accessible to and usable by people with a variety of disabilities. Data from the SUN also provides important information to the wireless industry, government regulators, and other researchers to help them make wireless technologies and services more accessible and useful. For example, results from our hearing aid compatibility (HAC) survey were used to inform recommendations concerning HAC volume control rules.  Please Take the Survey and Share the Survey so we can continue to provide evidence-based policy and technology recommendations. To this end, the Wireless RERC submitted reply comments in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s Notice of Inquiry Concerning Deployment of Advanced Telecommunications Capability to All Americans in a Reasonable and Timely Fashion [GN Docket No. 17-199]. Comments supported the requirement for the presence of both fixed and mobile advanced telecommunications services in a community to be considered reasonably and timely delivered. Additionally, we agreed with recommendations to collect and report data on the demographic characteristics of unserved and underserved areas and specified that disability status be included as a variable.
This issue also includes news about virtual reality, the Disney Research Group, voice control technology, workplace inclusion, smart home technology for aging in place, and more.


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.