Jun 5, 2017 | Atlanta, GA
On March 27-28th 2017, the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technologies to Support Successful Aging with Disability (RERC TechSAge) held their State of the Science Conference. This two-day conference explored the latest research advances and priorities in development, design, and deployment of personal and environmental technologies for aging with disability. Nearly 100 attendees, including researchers, students, clinicians, industry professionals, and aging & disability service providers, participated in the conference. The event was held at the Center for Assistive Technology & Environmental Access (CATEA) at Georgia Tech and was supported in part by a symposium award from the College of Design.
TechSAge RERC is a five-year, multidisciplinary research center dedicated to understanding the needs of, and developing supportive technologies for, individuals aging with long-term impairments. Sponsored by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), TechSAge is currently in year 4 of 5 of the center. Keeping with the tradition of other RERCs, the TechSAge team coordinated a State of the Science Conference to showcase the cutting-edge research and development on technologies for aging with disability from Georgia Tech and beyond.
The conference kicked off with a keynote lecture by Michelle Putnam, Professor of Social Work at Simmons College, who is a leading researcher on the intersection of aging & disability policy. Afterward, attendees participated in open house reception showcasing aging & disability projects at Georgia Tech. Posters, demos, and more were on display from the following organizations: RERC TechSAge, CATEA (Center for Assistive Technology & Environmental Access), AMAC Accessibility Solutions & Research Center, Aware Home Research Initiative, HFA (Human Factors and Aging) Lab, and Wireless RERC. Attendees also had the chance to take a Stinger Shuttle for a tour of Georgia Tech’s Aware Home.
Day 2 began with a special Design and Technologies for Healthy Aging (DATHA) Talk Event: “State of the Science in Technologies to Support Successful Aging with Disability”. This morning session included two tracks focused on personal technologies (e.g., wearables, assistive robots, gaming) and environmental technologies (e.g., embedded technologies, wayfinding, smart homes and communities). Speakers and panelists included prominent researchers & professionals in personal and environmental technologies for aging and disability including Georgia Tech faculty Beth Mynatt, Wayne Li, and Ayanna Howard as well as representatives from the Atlanta Regional Commission, Northwestern University, Simon Fraser University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
TechSAge investigators and invited participants convened in the afternoon for breakout groups, with the goal of identifying next steps for the RERC. Continuing with the theme of the day, breakout groups were focused on identifying important problem areas for people aging with disability and potential solutions that incorporate personal & environmental technologies. The discussion further illuminated the need for integrated technology solutions that are accessible and customizable to support this population. Emerging ideas from this dynamic brainstorming session and the State of the Science conference as a whole are being carried forward to set the research agenda for TechSAge II. Efforts are underway to prepare for the competitive grant renewal in 2018.
Recordings of the State of the Science conference presentations are archived on the TechSAge website here: http://techsage.gatech.edu/videos