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Dear Friends of the Wireless RERC,
We would like to thank you for your many years of involvement with the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Wireless Technologies (Wireless RERC). As some of you know, the Wireless RERC which resides at the Georgia Institute of Technology has had numerous partners over our 20 years. Each five-year grant was re-competed and we were successful in gaining refunding. Our research, development, training, and capacity building projects raised the bar for better user experiences, inclusive emergency lifelines, the introduction of next-generation technologies, and provided a clearer understanding that multiple platforms are needed to deliver services to diverse populations within the disability community. New generations of users with disabilities have been an important part of the ever-changing wireless technology landscape, leading to the incorporation of inclusive design elements in products and the training of inclusive technology advocates. Over the 20 years, we have witnessed together the transition from handheld mobile phones to smartphones in dominating the growth of wireless devices. The movement of the wireless industry mindset from a reluctance to develop accessible features to one where they are at the forefront of accessible and usable products, including people with disabilities early in their design process. As a result, better systems, products, and services are available for all. The government has changed the regulatory environment to make sure that people with disabilities are recognized in the receipt of services and protected in rulemakings.
Going forth, we are sharing with you that a new era has begun and the University of Pittsburg, Dr. Dan Ding and her team, has been awarded the 5-year NIDILRR grant. Their center, "Promoting Mainstream Wireless Inclusion through Technology Services (PROMISE)" begins on October 1st, 2021. We wish them success in undertaking the greatest fulfillment of helping ensure people with disabilities are always at the table on how to improve wireless services through research and development of tools to achieve independence, improved quality of life, and enhanced community participation. We will let you know more details on how to access the 2001-2021 Wireless RERC materials and electronic newsletters as well as the wirelessrerc.net website once we have specific information.
Helen Mitchell, Ph.D.,Regents Researcher
"To integrate established wireless technologies with emerging wirelessly connected devices and services for a transformative future where individuals with disabilities achieve independence, improved quality of life, and enhanced community participation. Through an agenda of research, development, training and outreach activities, successful innovations will engage, connect and accelerate access to a dynamic inclusive wireless ecosystem."