Technology and Disability in the Developing World (AccessComputing News - Jan 2010)

Wendy Chisholm, AccessComputing Staff

Several participants in the AccessComputing project, including three AccessComputing Team members, presented at the Technology and Disability in the Developing World conference held at the University of Washington (UW) this fall. The presentation was coordinated through Change, a UW group that explores how technology can improve the lives of underserved populations in the developing world.

Conference topics included the following:

  • Overview of the distribution of people with disabilities and of computer and mobile technologies for people with disabilities in developing countries.
  • Discussion of low-cost technologies, universal design possibilities, and the role of advocacy groups in technology adoption.
  • Clarification of the basic technological status of people with disabilities around the world in order to see how this topic fits into larger political, social, and research agendas.
  • Discussion of essential computer access technologies for people who are blind that included access barriers and potential solutions.
  • Discussion of natural signed language as an important and relatively inexpensive strategy for people who are deaf.
  • Review of deaf technology around the world, its current usages, and its potential in the developing world.
  • High-level overview of current speech-based technologies and interaction methods, and how they may apply to people with motor impairments or in hands-busy situations in the developing world.
  • Information regarding how people with disabilities use mobile phones to enhance independence.

For more information, consult: change.washington.edu/access