Second annual conference on effective access technology to help those with disabilities

Experts will discuss and exhibit groundbreaking work underway




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Elizabeth Lamark

Tom Oh, RIT associate professor of information sciences and technologies, right, and NTID researcher Patricia Iglesias, center, are part of a team working on the “Smart Cane.” The technology being developed at RIT uses directional force vibrations to guide deaf-blind persons in their environment and was presented at last year’s Effective Access Technology Conference.

The second annual Effective Access Technology Conference will bring together experts to share ideas and innovative solutions to the challenges in applying technology to improve access for people with a variety of disabilities.

Rochester Institute of Technology is partnering with Al Sigl Community of Agencies and Nazareth College to organize the two-day conference, set for June 17 and 18 at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

The conference, which is open to the public, kicks off at 8 a.m. June 17 featuring keynote speakers, poster presentations, exhibits, plenary sessions and a dinner. The conference goes from 9 a.m. to noon June 18, concluding with awards presented for the best access technology and best poster.

“This conference is a way to bring people together who are working toward a common goal of creating access for people with disabilities,” said Ryne Raffaelle, RIT vice president for research and associate provost. “With the significant increase in the number of veterans living with service-related disabilities, persons suffering from cognitive challenges, as well as the growing elderly population, the need is greater than ever to provide truly effective access. And with the wealth of new technologies in development, there is no better time than now.”

RIT currently has more than 60 effective access technology projects underway and is conducting nearly $16 million in sponsored research. To see some of the projects RIT researchers currently have in development, many of which will be on exhibit at the conference, go to http://bit.ly/RITAccessTech.

Among the highlighted speakers at the conference:

  • Christian Vogler, director of the Technology Access program at Gallaudet University. He has led research into accessible technologies for people with disabilities, with a particular focus on people who are deaf or hard of hearing. His work involves the accessibility of Web conferencing and telecollaboration systems, emergency communications, relay services and everyday telecommunications.
  • Mike Haynie, executive director and founder of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University. He leads an initiative offering world-class training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans disabled as a result of their military service. Haynie’s work with veterans has received national media coverage including CBS’s 60 Minutes, the ABC Evening News with Diane Sawyer, CNN, The New York Times and Forbes magazine.
  • Jon Schull, an RIT research scientist and creator of eNable, an online community that designs, customizes and fabricates affordable 3D-printed prosthetic hands for children and adults with missing hands and fingers.
  • Bruce Darling, co-founder and CEO of The Center for Disability Rights. Throughout his career, he has fought for access to public transportation and promoting accessible housing and creating community-based alternatives to institutionalization.

Exhibitor space is still available. The registration fee is $50 to attend conference sessions and dinner. There is a student rate of $40. To register or get more information on the conference, log on to www.rit.edu/access.

Al Sigl Community of Agencies is the gold sponsor of the conference. Silver sponsors are ABVI and Heritage Christian Services.

Paradigm Environmental Services Inc. is sponsoring the Paradigm Award for Access Technology. The prize will be given to the exhibitor whose technology is chosen by a panel of judges to be most innovative, most supportive of access and provide the best business opportunity. The winner will receive a meeting with an angel investor group and rent-free space in RIT’s Venture Creations incubator.

201404/accesstech.jpg

Elizabeth Lamark

Tom Oh, RIT associate professor of information sciences and technologies, right, and NTID researcher Patricia Iglesias, center, are part of a team working on the “Smart Cane.” The technology being developed at RIT uses directional force vibrations to guide deaf-blind persons in their environment and was presented at last year’s Effective Access Technology Conference.