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Summit Overview

The Wireless RERC convened its State of Technology (SoT) Summit on May 14-15, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Summit included 45 subject matter experts in disability advocacy, wireless technology, communications policy, emergency management, hearing access, aging and disability, wearable computing and more.  

The Summit focused on 1) key social, economic, political and technological forces at play in the migration from legacy, analog technologies to mobile, digital technologies, and 2) explored the consequential futures for people with disabilities. Two rounds of Delphi polling collected and aggregated expert opinions on complex or ambiguous forecasting problems.  The Summit was a dialogic meeting, and served as the final phase of the assessment and forecasting process. 

The “dialogic meeting” approach was utilized as a dynamic process open to conversations, comments and clarifications. The philosophical basis of the futures studies approach was to acknowledge that many ideas about potential futures exist. The futures process allowed participants to explore, analyze, compare, and critique competing concepts of “the future.” Specifically, they engaged in dialog on the alternative possible inclusive future(s) of people with disabilities, in the context of technological migration, and explored innovative paths to a transformative future for people with disabilities.

The Process for Participants
Over the course of the two Delphi Rounds trends began to appear that either confirmed the status quo or challenged the status quo for inclusive Futures. Respondents to both rounds were then sent an invitation to submit a paper for discussion at the Summit. From the initial response of over a dozen, 9 authors were selected by the Summit steering committee to submit full papers that spanned the identified themes and to present those papers at the Summit. Additionally, each paper was assigned a respondent who was asked to remark on the content in the context of an “inclusive future.” This process opened the third and final round of the Delphi and stimulated the Summit discussion. 

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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.