'I have never seen anything like this," said the father of child with a disability
More than 5,000 people gathered in San Diego for the largest assistive technology conference in the world, the CSUN Conference, Feb. 27-March 4. The 32nd annual event hosted people from around the globe and explored new technology designed to assist people with disabilities.
“This is a great conference. Nothing like it in the world,” said Michael Hornsby.
France’s Paul Masson said, “We don’t do anything as well in France as this. “
“Our conference brings together thousands of people from around the world — including scientists, practitioners, educators, government officials, tech industry executives and entrepreneurs — all committed to driving innovation in assistive technology to promote inclusiveness for people with disabilities,” said Sandy Plotin, managing director of CSUN’s Center on Disabilities, which organizes the conference each year.
The conference explores all aspects of technology and disabilities, and features a faculty of internationally recognized speakers, more than 350 general session workshops and more than 130 exhibitors displaying the latest technology for people with disabilities. This year’s sold-out exhibit floor has added a variety of first-time exhibitors from all different facets of assistive technology and services. The CSUN conference Exhibit Hall was open to the public, free of charge.
People with disabilities make up the largest group of attendees and “are the reason we all gather to push the research and challenge industry professionals to keeping moving technology forward and to tackle new challenges,” said Sandy Plotin, managing director of CSUN’s Center on Disabilities, which organizes the conference each year.
The “CSUN Conference,” as it is known in the industry, is the only one of its kind sponsored by a university. It provides a unique opportunity for people with disabilities to have direct input on the creation of — or modifications to — assistive technologies intended to make their lives easier, such as wheelchairs, interactive software and apps.
More than 120 exhibitors showed off their products.
“CSUN's conference] is a really unique event in which we can meet not only people from academia, but also people from industry,” said Takshi Kurata, who works for the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan, and traveled to San Diego specifically to attend the world-renowned conference.
The Center on Disabilities (COD) is committed to the vision of an inclusive society where people of all abilities have the chance to achieve their goals and experience success. Through excellent training and research, we nurture learning and innovation to improve the world for people with disabilities.
COD sponsors assistive technology training programs to expand the awareness of professionals and introduce newcomers to the disability field, and hosts the largest international conference focused on the field of assistive technology.
Among the many products and services at the conference that the attendees saw were:
Ability Centers showcased accessible vans (sales and rentals), scooters and wheelchairs.
Acustica, the Swiss watch for all senses. Choose from two different voices, adjust volume and speed to your convenience. Set your watch or the alarm manually or with your PC, using our Acustica Manager.lifts, home stair lifts, wheelchairs, portable ramps and a complete repair center.
Cryptzone provides content-aware compliance solutions for the monitoring and enforcement of Web accessibility, risk management & privacy guidelines across digital environments. We offer a range of solutions & services to help meet US Section 508, WCAG and other Web accessibility standards across public websites & portals, intranets & SharePoint sites.
CoughDrop is a cloud-based, cross-platform AAC app that that provides tools to keep the communicator’s support team informed and engaged.
WebAble TV (www.WebAble.TV) is an Internet TV Channel on the TV Worldwide Network (www.TVWorldwide.com) dedicated to providing accessible live and on-demand interactive coverage of the issues, activities and events important to the community of people with disabilities.
LoganTech manufactures and offers both Augmentative Communication devices and Braille support through ProxTalker and 6dot brands of products. The 6dot Braille Label Maker is the world's first powered and portable Braille label making device with a built in Braille keyboard. Our 6dot BrailleCoach™ Braille training device accelerates attainment of Braille literacy through self teaching.
The Viscardi Center’s Document Accessibility Remediation Services assist businesses and educational institutions in creating or converting existing documents, including PDFs, into materials that are Section 508 compliant and can be accessed by people with visual and physical disabilities, as well as aging individuals. The Viscardi Center is a network of non-profit organizations that educates, employs and empowers children and adults with disabilities. Learn more at ViscardiCenter.org.
Aumed Group. is a hi-tech enterprise which integrates R&D, manufacturing, sales and service of electronic video magnifiers (CCTVs). Our products have well served vision care institutions, eye clinics, optical stores, ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians etc.
Tobii Dynavox is the premier developer of hardware and software solutions for people with physical, cognitive and speech disabilities.
PRC develops language development systems for speech and cognitively challenged individuals.
NorthState Assistive Technology enhances the independence of blind, vision-impaired and cognitively challenged individuals through adaptive technology.
Knowbility works with organizations to implement effective accessibility strategies, including web sites, E-Learning design, instructional design and training programs.
Microsoft provided updates to Windows 10, the accessibility of Office 365, and much more!
NeuroNode, by Control Bionics, showed a wearable EMG assistive technology device for people those living with paralysis or loss of speech the means to remain connected to the world. The NeuroNode is wireless, completely non-invasive, and simply adheres to the skin.
Some attendees thought there were too many products for the blind and visually-impaired and not enough for the deaf and hard of hearing.
Blackboard levels of global accessibility standards. Our innovative technologies and solutions are bringing learners closer to the knowledge they seek and the potential they can achieve. For more information on accessibility at Blackboard, visit us at www.blackboard.com/accessibility
John M. Williams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org