Call for Papers (UPDATED May 1, 2020) - Special Issue of Assistive Technology

Publication Type: 
Block numbers "2020" filled with a colorful collage of images of different types of wireless technologies and people using them. 2020 State of Technology. Include. Innovate. Transform.


In consideration of the recent World Health Organization declaration of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak to be a pandemic, we have reluctantly decided to postpone the 2020 State of Technology Forum.  The important work of the Wireless RERC continues, and as such, we see the postponement as an opportunity to produce a more robust Assistive Technology Journal Special Issue. The Issue reflects the  Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Inclusive Technologies (Wireless RERC), forthcoming 2020 State of Technology Forum key themes: Include, Innovate, and Transform. The journal articles (a) examine the evolving nature and capacities of wireless technologies, (b) identify the opportunities made possible by these technologies to meet a range of community needs for access, equity, and inclusion, and (c) set the stage to suggest the change-making mechanisms in research, development, policy, and capacity building to advance these objectives. These three cross-cutting elements have been chosen as particularly characteristic of the rapidly advancing, technology-driven field over the last 20 years. While wireless technologies have radically changed the economic, educational, and social landscapes, for much of society, they have especially served to increase the engagement and full societal participation of some 49.7 million people with disabilities, and an additional 52 million Americans aged 65 and older. That said, the industry cannot rest on its laurels, as positive change can no longer be about the technologies alone, but much more about the context of use and the capacity of wireless and associated digital technologies to facilitate the independent living and the community inclusion of people with disabilities. The key objectives of the assembled papers are to explore how inclusion and innovation in wireless technology design and development have and can continue to result in products that can be characterized as transformational and to define the mission, methods, and measures needed to realize the vision.

Call for Papers

We invite short papers (1500-2000 words) that are intended to provide background and context for the forum. Selected papers, as well as external papers, will be invited to expand the article to a target 4000 - 6000 words for a special Forum issue prepared for Assistive Technology Journal. Paul M.A. Baker, Ph.D., Editor, Helena Mitchell, Ph.D., and Salimah LaForce. M.S., Associate Editors.   

The following (representative) topics have been proposed for the Forum:

  • Impact of access to digital technologies on inclusive educational outcomes
  • Conflicting realities of rising wireless digital accessibility and widening digital disparities: What are the education, employment, or health consequences?
  • Inclusive Communications, Public Health, and People with Disabilities: Insights from COVID-19
  • The augmented human:  Moving towards the seamless integration of wearables, sensors and digital systems  
  • Skills, training, and the impact of augmented, virtual, and mixed reality applications that enhance access and inclusion
  • Wireless case study: Autonomous vehicles/transit: The real and imagined impacts on access and inclusion
  • Social media and platform applications: Crowdsourced information and user-generated content’s impact on independence and disability identity
  • Accessibility and the emergence of artificial intelligence in consumer products and their impact on independence
  • Federal regulation, policy, and standards:  access and inclusion outcomes
  • The Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA)
  • Modernization of the national alerting system to be inclusive of wireless technologies
  • The mainstreaming of AT: wireless technologies used in an assistive manner
  • Networks, Innovation, and the Gig Economy: The role of platforms, apps, and wireless connectivity
  • Shaping the future of inclusive design: Virtual reality as a teaching tool
  • (Inclusive) Smart places, spaces, and things: The role of IoT on mobility and participation
  • Socially Assistive Robotics – when the caregiver is made of wires
  • Wireless devices and services: A look at user experiences and expectations


Submission of abstracts for proposed articles should be 300-500 words addressing one of the proposed topics listed above or suggesting an alternative, but compelling topic on wireless access and inclusion. The papers may be review articles, methodological articles, research presentations, or papers that address technology transfer and market entry. Thematically, they may (a) address the evolving nature and capacities of wireless technologies, (b) discuss how these technologies can address community needs for access, equity, and inclusion and (c) explore change-making mechanisms in research, development, policy, and capacity building to advance these inclusion and participation objectives.

Submission should be made to Paul M.A. Baker, Editor, Wireless Forum Special Issue


Submission of 300-word abstract/Concept May 15, 2020
Notification of acceptance  June 1, 2020
Submission of 1500 word (3-5 page) Conference Paper July 1, 2020
Submission of  expanded Journal article for review   October 1, 2020
Reviews returned to authors December 1, 2020
Revisions due to editors February 1, 2021
Final papers to AT April 15, 2021


Date of Publication: 
Friday, May 1, 2020


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