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Center for Leadership in Disability Partners with Georgia Tech’s Center on Advanced Communications Policy on $4.6 Million Grant

The Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD) at Georgia State University has partnered with Georgia Institute of Technology’s Center for Advanced Communications Policy (CACP) on a recently awarded $4.625 million grant to support research and development of wireless devices and technologies for people with disabilities.

This five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living’s (ACL) National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) builds upon the research team’s 15 years of experience and expertise in making wireless technologies accessible.

The new grant will fund the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Inclusive Technologies (Wireless RERC) – a collaborative effort of the CACP, CLD, University of Texas Arlington School of Social Work and the Shepherd Center to conduct research and develop wireless devices and technologies that improve quality of life, and enhance community inclusion for individuals with disabilities.

Researchers from the CLD will focus on issues of accessibility, access and inclusion through user-focused research that expands understanding of the utility and feasibility of wireless technologies for supporting integrated employment, social connection and community involvement for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Other Wireless RERC partners will focus on a variety of related topics including socially assistive robotics, Internet-of-Things design factors, and augmented reality design elements.

“Leveraging emerging technologies to facilitate the independence and inclusion of individuals with disabilities aligns with the CLD’s mission, vision, and values,” said Andrew Roach, PhD, Associate Director of the CLD. “In particular, we think our work, in concert with the efforts of the rest of the Wireless RERC team, has the potential to positively impact services and supports for individuals in Georgia and across the nation.”

The Wireless RERC is one of approximately 15 RERCs in the United States. Other RERCs are devoted to fields such as aging, visual impairment, public transportation, and information technology access.

“This funding will allow us to move into next-generation technologies with the intent to be both forward thinking as well as cognizant of legacy services utilized by many people with disabilities,” said Helena Mitchell, CACP executive director and principal investigator of the Wireless RERC. “Building on strong partnerships will yield advancements that improve access to wireless products and services. Engaging with new partners will open avenues to accessible solutions for an inclusive, wirelessly connected future for all.”