Re:Wireless -  The Wireless RERC's  Consumer Newsletter
April 05, 2018
Volume 9,  Issue #02
Connecting consumers of all ages and abilities to the research, development and outreach activities of the Wireless RERC.
Spring has finally sprung here in Atlanta.  That means a lot of the Wireless RERC research staff have been busy traveling to various conferences.  This issue of Re:Wireless highlights several presentations that were given and an upoming book chapter that is in the process of being published.  Here's what we're featuring in this issue:
  • Wireless RERC and other Georgia Tech research staff presented at the annual 2018 CSUN Assistive Technology conference:
    • Getting on the Record with the FCC: Public Input Process How To's
    • Supporting Simulation Use for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities 
  • Wireless RERC researcher, Young Mi Choi, Ph. D., has a book chapter titled, "Introducing Assistive Technology and Universal Design Theory, Applications in Design Education", appearing in the upcoming text book, Breaking Down Barriers.
  • Wireless RERC researchers speaking on an upcoming panel on Aging and Technology.
  • If you haven't already done so, here's another call-out to take the latest version of our Survey of User Needs (SUN).  I encourage all of our readers to participate as results from this survey are used by engineers and designers to make the next generation of wireless devices, features and services more accessible.  Full details and a link to the survey are provided below.
  • Upcoming events for research staff:
    • Wireless RERC Leadership Workshop:  Using Technology R&D to Effect Policy Change on April 24 in Atlanta, GA 
    • Instute  Designed for Educating All Students (IDEAS) from June 5-8 in St. Simmons, GA
    • M-Enabling Summit 2018 from June 11-13 in Arlington, VA
This newsletter is intended to keep you abreast of some of the latest activities in our research, development and training projects, share upcoming dates to events and conferences we'll be attending, and serve as an invitation to all of our readers to participate in surveys, workshops, focus groups or user testing projects we have underway.
Visiting our website, subscribing to our LinkedIn and Twitter feeds, and becoming friends with us on Facebook are other great ways to stay informed of our progress!  

We welcome you as a reader and hope you enjoy the newsletter! If you are not currently a Re: Wireless reader and were forwarded this newsletter, you can join our mailing list below or text WIRELESSRERC to 22828. 

Thank you for reading and enjoy the articles below!


Ben Lippincott (Managing Editor)
CSUN keynote address audience
On March 22, Salimah LaForce and Helena Mitchell, Ph.D., shared a presentation titled,  Getting on the Record with the FCC:  Public Input Process How To's, at the annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference in San Diego, CA.  

Their presentation provides an introduction on how the public, government entities, and industry can influence the FCC's rulemaking by participating in and submitting comments to the different types of rulemaking, such as: 
  • Notice of Inquiries 
  • Public Notices 
  • Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
The presentation shows someone how to prepare a response to the FCC by either responding to specific sections, or to specific questions cited in the rulemaking.  A response should include  support for your recommendations and  examples to illustrate your points.  Or, i f opposing, provide an alternative solution.  

The presentation also shares some examples of the Wireless RERC's extensive experience in submitting comments to the FCC in a variety of its focus areas like, Wireless Emergency Alerts, Emergency Alert System, Lifeline/Linkup and Broadband Deployment.  

Influencing the FCC's rulemaking can lead to industry guidance and standards, enhanced industry business practices, increased accessibility features available in mainstream wireless technologies, improved access to and utility of devices and services, and increased adoption and decreased abandonment of wireless technologies.

Read the full presentation:
Brianna Tomlinson presents,  Supporting Simulation Use for Students with Intellectual and  Developmental Disabilities at the 2018 CSUN Assistive Technology Conference.

Brianna Tomlinson, of the School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology, presented at the 2018 CSUN Assistive Technology Conference. She discussed a study that explored how enhancing interactive science simulations with sonifications can scaffold interaction and learning for students with cognitive impairments. The use of sonification technology, developed by Dr. Bruce Walker, is integral to Wireless RERC work that is investigating next-generation auditory interfaces, gesture-enhancement to audio interfaces, and deep-learning enhancements to audio-interfaces.

The study's research goals were to u nderstand the needs of students with intellectual or developmental disabilities, u nderstand the overlap between needs of students with intellectual or developmental disabilities and  other students, and e xplore how to enhance PhET simulations for broader access.

PhET is a suite of research-based interactive computer simulations for teaching and learning physics, chemistry, math, and other sciences.  The simulations are animated, interactive, and game-like environments where students learn through exploration. They emphasize the connections between real-life phenomena and the underlying science, and help make the visual and conceptual models of expert scientists accessible to students.

The study also explored how auditory displays, or sonification, could support students with intellectual or developmental disabilities.  Examples of sonification include: non-speech audio, auditory icons (realistic), earcons (musical, learned), or mapped sonification (parameters drive audio changes). 

Some of the common challenges students experienced when using the protoype PhET sims included limited exploration of scenarios, needing prompting to try different levels of charges, students were unsure how to start an initial exploration of the simulation, reading and understanding label changes, and focusing on the center of the play area of the PhET simulations.

Read the full presentation:
Wireless RERC Researcher has Upcoming Book Chapter in Breaking Down Barriers

Wireless RERC researcher, Young Mi Choi, Ph.D., will have her book chapter,  "Introducing Assistive Technology and Universal Design Theory, Applications in Design Education" published in the upcoming text book, Breaking Down Barriers published by Springer Nature. 

The chapter's focus is  to better understand student assumptions related to the challenges of developing a universally designed device, compared to designing a dedicated assistive device. To do this, two projects were conducted in a sophomore industrial design studio class:  
  1. The first focused on a universally designed device 
  2. The second project asked students to design an assistive-focused device
Students were given surveys at two points during these projects. Both projects got students to think outside of the box and learn to identify design opportunities. For many students, this aspect (identifying design opportunities) was one of the most difficult tasks.   The following broader lessons in both projects were the most important: 
  • Practice engaging actual users and directly tackling unexpected issues; 
  • Building empathy through direct interaction; 
  • Learning about the advantages, disadvantages and appropriate use of simulation;
  • Challenging assumptions of personal views of the designed world; 
  • And understanding the differences between universal and assistive design.
Wireless RERC Researchers Speaking on Panel at Annual Southern Gerontological Society Meeting
Wireless RERC researchers Brad Fain, Paul M.A. Baker, and Brian Jones will be speaking on inclusive technology, policy, and research for the  Technology and Aging panel   at the  Southern Gerontological Society   39th Annual SGS Meeting, "Moving Forward Together:   Linking Research, Policy, Practice," April 13, 2018, in Buford, GA.  

We Need Your Help! Please Take and Share the Survey of User Needs

The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Inclusive Technologies (Wireless RERC) has launch its updated Survey of User Needs (SUN). The SUN is the Wireless RERC's cornerstone survey on wireless technology use by people with disabilities. It has been completed by over 7,500 consumers with disabilities since it was first launched in 2001.

This latest version represents the 6th version of the survey, which is updated periodically in response to changes in technology. In addition to questions about cell phone and tablet use, this latest version of the SUN collects information about wearables, "smart" home technologies, and other next-generation wirelessly connected devices. 

User responses will help designers and engineers make new wireless devices and services for people with disabilities. Data from the SUN also provides important information to the wireless industry, government regulators, and other researchers to help them make wireless technology more accessible and more useful to people with all types of disabilities.

If you have a disability, please consider taking this survey. If you know someone who has a disability, please forward the survey to them.

Additional Information:
Save the date!

Upcoming conferences, presentations and webinars for research staff include:

Wireless RERC Leadership Workshop
The Wireless RERC hosts a Leadership Workshop, Using Technology R&D to Effect Policy Change, from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm. Join us for a panel discussion, small group activities, and rapid-fire R&D demos. The event is free but seating is limited, and registration is required. RSVP to

Instute  Designed for Educating All Students (IDEAS)  
The IDEAS conference is designed to support educators that work with students with disabilities.  Wireless RERC staff from Georgia's Tools For Life  will be presenting at this year's IDEAS conference from June 5-8 in St. Simmons, GA.

M-Enabling Summit 2018 
With its theme of "Accessible and Assistive Technologies Innovations: New Frontiers for Independent Living", the 2018 M-Enabling Summit will provide a platform for empowering technologies and focus on next-generation innovations and breakthroughs for users of all abilities from June 11-13 in Arlington, VA
The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Wireless Inclusive Technologies (Wireless RERC)  is sponsored by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under grant number #90RE5025-01-00 . The opinions contained in this website are those of the Wireless RERC and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or NIDILRR.