Technology that Changes Lives

Published Jun. 15, 2014

Effective Access Technology Conference, June 17-18

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.

RIT is partnering with Al Sigl Community of Agencies, ABVI, ARC of Monroe County, Heritage Christian Services, Paradigm Environmental Services, L-3 Global Communications Solutions, 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, and a dinner. The dinner will feature a special presentation on the e-NABLE ( project and the awarding of the Paradigm Award for Outstanding New Access Technology. The conference goes from 9 a.m. to noon June 18, concluding with the presentation of the Al Sigl Community of Agencies Best Poster Award and the L-3 Best Adaptive Technology Award.

“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.

Among the highlighted speakers at the conference:

  • Will A. Gunn, General Counsel for the Department of Veterans Affairs. As the Department’s top lawyer, Mr. Gunn oversees approximately 450 attorneys within the Office of the General Counsel, which provides proactive legal advice and representation to the Department concerning all aspects of its program and management responsibilities. The General Counsel supervises over 700 employees in Washington, D.C., and in field locations across the United States.  Gunn is a retired Air Force colonel, having served as a military lawyer in the Air Force Judge Advocate General Corps.
  • 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 e-NABLE, 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.
  • Richard DeMartino, director of the Simone Center for Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship.  He holds the Albert J. Simone Endowed Chair of Innovation in RIT’s Saunders College of Business. The Simone Center is a university-wide organization with representatives from all the RIT colleges. Its mission is to promote experiential innovation, commercialization, entrepreneurship, and problem solving throughout the university employing RIT’s unique mix of technology, design/art, business, and humanities expertise.

For more information on the conference, visit: