Technology and Disability Policy Highlights - March 2019


Though February is the shortest month in the year, it was not short on activity. The Notice of Renewal of the Disability Advisory Committee’s (DAC) Charter [DA 19-55] was published in the Federal Register, starting the third two-year term for the DAC. The Committee will address, among other things, hearing aid compatibility, advanced communications and equipment services, and 9-1-1 access. Related to the accessibility of advanced communications equipment, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Consumer and Government Affairs Bureau (CGB) released an Order [CG Docket No. 10-213] granting a brief waiver to e-reader manufacturers. Mid-month, the National Advisory Council published its final report, Modernizing the Nation’s Public Alert and Warning System. Over the two-year term of the NAC and Subcommittee, the members generated recommendations to enhance the delivery and efficacy of emergency messages.

In Wireless RERC news, we produced our annual content review of the TDPH. This past year’s hot topics included the increased development of wireless technologies and next-generation connected devices, continued expansion in disability-focused research, emergency communications access, and improved access to assistive devices and public spaces. The top five most cited words for 2018 were emergency, services, research, communications, and inclusive. Wireless RERC researchers also published two research reports. Accessibility, Usability, and Social and Cultural Acceptance of Next-Generation Wireless Devices: Initial Findings from Focus Group Research summarizes findings from focus groups which explored accessibility, social appropriateness, and cultural acceptability issues of wireless technology related use among individuals with disabilities. The Mobile Phone Accessibility Review analyzes the state of accessibility of mobile phones by looking at the presence of features that were designed to be assistive or that impact accessibility. Also, please plan to attend our Leadership Luncheon, Contexts of Connectivity, for a discussion about how smart connected devices can enhance access to public and private environments and support the independent living of people with disabilities across contexts.

This issue also includes news about robocalls, broadband, accessible gaming, adaptive sporting gear, DeepASL, artificial intelligence, Everyone Can Code, and more.