The winners of the 2022 AccessComputing Capacity Building Award goes to Shiri Azenkot and Larry Goldberg for their creation of XR Access, a research consortium centered at Cornell Tech in New York City. XR Access, founded in 2019, has the goal of leading and fostering a community that engages, connects, and influences the field of XR (virtual and augmented reality technology) to ensure that XR is inclusive of all, regardless of abilities. Since 2020, it has held an annual symposium that brings together researchers, practitioners, and disability advocates to share the latest advances in making XR accessible. XR Access is an important organization because it is starting early in the development of XR technology. In this way XR technology solutions are more likely to be accessible than if accessibility was an afterthought.
Azenkot is an associate professor in information science in the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at both Cornell Tech and Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. She is a well-known accessibility researcher with a focus on people with visual impairments, which includes people who are blind and people with low vision, a large and understudied population. When she was a graduate student at the University of Washington, she was an AccessComputing Team member. As a professor, she has hosted several AccessComputing Team members in summer undergraduate research internships.
Goldberg recently retired from Yahoo! as the Head of Accessibility. He built his career in accessibility during his 28 years at WGBH in Boston, which was a leader in the development of captions for television. Goldberg continues to be active as an accessibility consultant and serves on the Board of Teach Access.
Congratulations to both Azenkot and Goldberg for all their hard work with XR Access and their inclusion endeavors throughout the years.