The Envisioning Inclusive FUTURES Summit Proceedings have been published by the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies (Wireless RERC) on our website. The Summit focused on 1) key social, economic, political and technological forces at play in the migration from legacy, analog technologies to mobile, digital technologies, and 2) the consequential futures for people with disabilities. The Proceedings concluded that a variety of technological solutions exist whether discussing the present or the future, and more are under development, to facilitate the ability of people with disabilities to engage in life activities. Transformative ideas and common visionary themes addressed wireless technologies and systems that could stimulate inclusive solutions such as robotics, wearables, the Internet of Things, next-generation emergency communications and alerts, and assistive intelligence for auditory and visual navigation. Looking to an inclusive future, not only were research and policy agenda items identified, but also challenges and recommendations on how to reach a future of inclusiveness. Following are a few findings:
- Usability is critical – technology needs to be “out of the box” ready. The design process should be enhanced so that devices be intuitively usable, or conversely, be easily personalizable.
- Education, outreach and awareness efforts should be dynamic and integral to both ongoing and adaptive/changing environments. This is in reference to not only technology, but to the changing circumstances of people with disabilities.
- Products and services should be universally designed and also take into account cultural sensitivity.
The visionary theme from the opening to the concluding dialog emphasized: A transformative future is an inclusive future. This became the key take-away for reinforcing the Wireless RERC’s commitment to ensure an accessible mobile wireless future for people with disabilities.