Technology and Disability Policy Highlights - Winter Issue - December 2018-January 2019


In the regulatory space, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking input from people with disabilities and other stakeholders about how best to facilitate the coordination of communications providers, power companies, and the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau to enable a robust and rapid response to emergencies. Specifically, the concern is keeping people connected to communications in the event of power outages or service interruptions. Also, the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010’s (CVAA) reach across industry types was demonstrated. The FCC released a Public Notice inviting comment on a Petition Filed by General Motors Holding LLC (GM) for Partial Waiver of Real-Time Text (RTT) Minimum Functionality Requirements [GN Docket No. 15-178]. In anticipation of GM’s autonomous vehicles ride-hailing service, the company developed a Chat App that would allow riders to communicate by voice or text with a customer service representative, but GM contends that their service falls outside of the definition of an advanced communications service. The gaming industry also felt the impact of the CVAA, as January marked the end of any more waivers for full compliance. As such, this year and beyond, we should see the ever-increasing accessibility of gaming systems.

In Wireless RERC News, one of our partnering universities, the Center for Leadership in Disability at Georgia State University, is inviting all professionals, parents/guardians, and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to share perspectives on how wireless technology can be used in the workplace. Responses and feedback will help mold the future role that wireless technologies and wearables can play in the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Please take the survey:

Also, Wireless RERC researchers Clint Zeagler, Maribeth Gandy, and Paul M.A. Baker authored The Assistive Wearable: Inclusive by Design article which was recently published in the journal on Assistive Technology Outcomes and Benefits. A new research brief by researchers Nathan W. Moon, Paul M.A. Baker, and Kenneth Goughnour, summarizes findings from focus groups which explored accessibility, social appropriateness, and cultural acceptability issues of wireless technology related use among individuals with disabilities.

This issue also includes news about smart gloves, the Vitals App, augmented reality, the Facing Emotions App, Project Soli, virtual reality, and more.