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Building Research Capacity (T3)

The overall purpose of this project is to educate the next generation of wireless technology designers on universal design as a core practice for innovative and future design of products and applications.

The specific objectives of the project are to:

  1. Increase universal design awareness.
  2. Promote the application of universal design principles in the design of wireless technologies.
  3. Encourage development of assistive technologies employing wireless technologies.
  4. Provide advanced-level design training and support for future designers, who are highly qualified to promote and practice universal design of wireless technologies.

Project Progress

  • 2014 "Getting Wireless "Student Design Competion: In 2010, the Wireless RERC began offering industrial design students an opportunity to participate in a brief project to explore application of Principles of Universal Design to mobile wireless technologies.  Faculty of the ID programs of Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) have embraced the challenge and incorporated this project in their spring curricula ever since.

  • 2013 Student Design Competition: During the 2013 spring semester, 80 industrial design students at Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech participated in the Wireless RERC’s fourth annual “Getting Wireless” design challenge. This year, 32 sophomores at Virginia Tech participated under the direction of Professor Mitzi Vernon and Assistant Professor Akshay Sharma. At Georgia Tech, 15 juniors under instructor Wendell Wilson, and 33 sophomores under Assistant Professor Young Mi Choi and instructor John Lau participated in the project. 

    • "Activ" Team Wins Silver in the 2013 UX Awards!  One of this year’s teams at Virginia Tech was awarded a Silver for “Best Accessibility Innovation” in the UX Awards 2013.  Winners were honored as part of NY Internet Week on May 21.  Now in its third year, the UX Awards are the first awards created specifically to celebrate exceptional design in digital user experience.  

  • 2012 Student Design Competition : During the spring, 2012 semester, industrial design students at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) participated in the Wireless RERC’s third annual “Getting Wireless” design challenge.

  • Learning from Older Adults: During Fall semester 2012, students at the School of Industrial Design at Georgia Tech spent 15 weeks at the Wesley Woods retirement community learning from older adults.  The “studio” class, headed by Assistant Professor Dr. Claudia B. Rebola, focused on the full cycle of designing products from problem definition to design iteration and prototype deliverables. This advanced design course is one of the offerings under Building Research Capacity training project of the Wireless RERC, where students are provided an in-depth understanding how to design products considering universal design principles. As such, central to the class was the task of designing universal interactive products for older adults. 

Project Team


  • Virginia Tech School of Industrial Design
  • Georgia Tech School of Industrial Design
  • Georgia Tech Convergence Innovation Competition
  • The Center for the Visually Impaired (CVI)
  • Georgia Academy for the Blind (GAB)
  • Bobby Dodd Institute (BDI)
  • NISH AbilityOne Network Design Challenge
  • 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.