The overall purpose of this project is to disseminate research findings, build consensus and develop strategies to ensure that people with disabilities will have access to the wireless technologies and services of tomorrow. We are currently undergoing major transformations in communication technology and usage. As software applications and data storage move from the device to the cloud and as Internet Protocol-based modes of communication become favored over traditional telemetry, some legacy technology may survive through migration to higher functionality devices and convergence. Yet, some legacy technologies will not survive in any form. The research community has great expectations for the potential that new communications technology presents with regard to accessibility, as well as the benefits and byproducts that access affords: better employment opportunities, greater independence, higher education, and greater social integration. However, technological migration, if not managed well, could leave hard earned accessibility gains behind.
In May 2015, the Wireless RERC will convene a Summit – Envisioning Inclusive Futures: Migratory Trends in Technology – a major examination of how the migratory shift to wireless technology can positively impact people with disabilities. The framing for the Summit will be the results of a futures-oriented process in which experts are helping to identify and prioritize issues on a range of technology and policy options. The invitation-only Summit will be held on the Georgia Institute of Technology campus in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Research. The futures-oriented process is based on the Delphi methodology which builds on several rounds of confidential surveys to collect expert opinion on complex questions. The overall research question is: what kinds of physical, economic, sociopolitical and policy factors serve as the context for the migration from legacy, analog technologies to mobile, digital technologies?
Futures. More broadly, we are looking to use the Delphi process, and indeed the Summit, as an opportunity to use Futures visioning to inform understanding about the technology options for people with disabilities. We aim to characterize the horizon events that hold the promise for change; query the “accepted” understanding of the world of people with disabilities; and make recommendations for constructive futures.
Conference objectives are to:
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The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies is sponsored by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under grant number 90RE5007-01-00. The opinions contained in this website are those of the Wireless RERC and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or NIDILRR.