Technology and Disability Highlights - March 2018

Date of Publication: 
2018 April
In March, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Public Notice seeking comment on a Joint Petition for Extension of Waiver of Accessible Emergency Information Requirements [12-107]. The American Council of the Blind, American Foundation for the Blind, and the National Association of Broadcasters filed the petition jointly requesting additional time (five years) to develop a technical solution that enables the automatic recognition, tagging, and describing of non-textual emergency information such as maps be video described. Despite concerted efforts to research and develop a technically feasible solution, the petitioners assert that the current state of the broadcasting system is not capable of capitalizing on advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) or application programming interfaces (APIs) that could facilitate compliance with the accessible emergency information requirement. The deadline for initial comments is April 13, 2018, and April 30, 2018, for reply comments. Prepared comments for docket number 12-107 can be uploaded via the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System at
In Wireless RERC news, the slide decks for Wireless RERC Presentations at the 2018 CSUN Assistive Technology Conference are available for download.  Getting on the Record with the FCC: Public Input Process How To’s, was presented by Dr. Helena Mitchell and Salimah LaForce, and provided tips on how to submit comments to the FCC and contribute to disability stakeholder representation in the public input process. Brianna J. Tomlinson presented Supporting Simulation Use for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, detailing a study that explored how enhancing interactive science simulations with sonifications can scaffold interaction and learning for students with cognitive impairments. Recruitment for the Survey of User Needs is ongoing.  To inform the inclusive development of wireless technologies and services, we are collecting data on the user experiences and expectations of people with disabilities. Take the survey online at
This issue also includes news about, Breaking Down Barriers, Dr. Stephen Hawking, emojis, accessible gaming, hands-free switch access, and more.


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