Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are an integral part of life, impacting education, employment, health, transportation, and social communication. However, as ICTs continue to evolve, access for individuals with disabilities may become prohibitive. This Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) takes a two-part approach to addressing ICT accessibility issues by (1) ensuring that existing solutions are known, effective, findable, more affordable, and available on every computer or digital technology platform; and (2) exploring the emerging next-next-generation interface technologies for which there are no effective accessibility guidelines or standards, and problem-solving in advance of these technologies. Project activities include: (1) extending data science methods to include people with disabilities (who may be considered outliers to the developer community) so that data-driven technologies will work for them; (2) identifying interface strategies that work for people with severe and progressive cognitive disabilities (e.g., dementia); (3) creating new tools to easily discover which techniques and aids a person with a particular disability and/or disabilities needs in order to use ICTs, as well as have real-time solution-driven responses on any ICT a person with a disability utilizes; (4) developing a new approach to accessibility that works for next-next-generation interfaces including speech, text, eye-gaze, gesture, virtual reality, AI agents, emotion, and virtual direct-brain interfaces; and (5) ensuring that existing proven solutions are within reach and available to those who most need them.
September 30, 2018 - September 29, 2023
HHS / ACL / National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research
Total Award Amount