App Factory (D1)

The overall purpose of this project is to advance universal design in the wireless community. The objectives of this project are development, deployment, and adoption of software applications (“apps”) to enhance the utility and usability of wireless products and services for wireless customers with and without disabilities.

App Factory output includes apps designed specifically to address barriers to wireless access and use by people with cognitive, physical, sensory, and/or speech disabilities.  Wherever practical, these apps incorporate features useful to all customers, with or without disabilities.

A complementary objective of this project is development of a practical model for consumer participation in the process of app development. This process engages the community of people with disabilities throughout the process of envisioning, designing, testing, refining, and disseminating applications.

2015-16 Apps Selected

Blue Sky Designs Pow!r Mount app will provide accessible control for powered mounting and positioning systems.  The app works in conjunction with BlueSky Design's forthcoming Pow!r Mount to provide individuals with significant physical disabilities access to and control over devices in their environment through their smart device, like a smartphone, tablet or AAC device.  With the powered mount’s ability to move, rotate and tilt devices and trays, a person will be able to move essential items into accessible positions, and to easily and independently change activities.  Positioning of mounted devices is controlled through an accessible method of choice, such as a switch, voice, wheelchair controls or direct touch, with a finger or conductive mouthstick.   The Pow!r Mount app will be available for iOS and Android devices.

Komodo OpenLab’s Tecla Remote expands on the success of its Tecla Shield switch controller and related technologies, in order to facilitate access and control of appliances and external hardware by people who lack the fine motor manual abilities to interact with the standard console, remote or app-based controls provided with commercial media streaming devices. The Tecla Remote will be available for iOS and Android devices.

Sendero Group’s Easy Listening app is a low cost application that will facilitate direct smartphone/earpiece communication to provide local noise cancelling and speech amplification for people who are blind as well as for everyone who wishes a more easy listening experience.  It will employ sophisticated noise filtering and amplification to differentiate itself from other sound amplifying apps already available in the marketplace.  It will be available on the iOS operating systems.

Shepherd Center’s Healthy Timer app will allow users to use their mobile devices as a tool for providing consistent timers and reminders for key daily activities, such as weight shift prompts, bladder management cues, medication reminders, meal reminders, blood sugar monitoring, performance of home exercise programs, positioning reminders (ex.“keep your head up”) and monitoring and controlling  moods and behaviors (behavior “check in”) to name just a few.  The core timer functionality may also serve as a platform for future integration with bio-sensor technology to automatic alerting.  Healthy Timer will be available on Android Play.

Smart Steps will be using App Factory funds to add functionality to its existing decision-making app for users with autism, developmental disabilities or other cognitive impairments. The existing SmartSteps app prompts users to create decision trees to solve problems such as taking the bus, asking strangers for help, and interacting with others. The new functionality will enhance the ability to save and share decision trees,  the ability for Smart Steps admins to assign decision trees to individuals and groups, the ability to send text messages  directly from the Smart Steps app, and add a read aloud button inside the app, to name a few.  Smart Steps is currently available on Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

2014-15 Apps Selected

Following review of all the responses to the latest Call for Proposals, five apps were selected for development during the 2014-15 grant year.  They are:

Braille Word Editor, an Android mobile application to support individuals with blindness or low vision in developing writing skills and for converting a Braille document to multiple formats for sending or receiving

BreatheWell, a mobile app that can operate on Google Glass to assist individuals with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in managing stress through diaphragmatic breathing

Switch Accessibility App, a next-generation mobile app that makes Android-based smartphones and tablets fully accessible to switch users

ZyroMath, an integrated iOS and Android switch-accessible app for children with upper-arm motor disabilities who use alternative switch-based interfaces to access smart devices

Apps Developed to Date:

Project Team:


  • Communication Enhancement RERC, Duke University
  • School of Computer Science, Georgia Tech
  • School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Tech
  • IDEAL Group, Inc.
  • Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, University of Colorado
  • American Federation for the Blind
  • School of Interactive of Computing, Georgia Tech


  • National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research logo
  • Center for Advanced Communications Policy logo
  • Georgia Institute of Technology logo
  •  Shepherd Center Logo

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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.