The Wireless RERC submitted comments in response to the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research’s (NIDILRR) request for input concerning their Draft Long Range Plan, 2018-2023. NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that “sponsors grantees to generate new disability and rehabilitation knowledge and promote its use and adoption. To that end, Wireless RERC comments highlighted the considerable capabilities and functionality offered by smart devices and their ability to address important access and assistive technology needs of people with disabilities as a group. As new iterations of mobile wireless technology devices and networks are deployed, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), researchers, engineers, advocates, and the wireless industry must continue to push for parity of access to these essential technologies, especially through the adoption of inclusive design and development practices. Further, comments suggested that the combination of research, development, and policy activities can have an exponential impact on availability, accessibility, and usability of connected technologies. When working to improve access to technologies that are governed by federal agencies, the policy component is crucial to ensuring transfer of research knowledge into industry practice. Technologies to improve the quality of life, community integration, and the independence of individuals with disabilities are not confined to a single domain. Therefore, we strongly supported NIDILRR’s proposed model that accounts for cross-cutting research to provide a more flexible and versatile framework.
March 20th, 2017