Unleashing the Power of Innovation for Assistive Technology- Part II: Feedback from the Field

This Part 2 webinar is based on the 2010 NCTI Brief on the use of innovation as AT. Hosts Alise Brann and Tracy Gray, of the American Institutes for Research (AIR), shared survey results and comments from stakeholders in the field on the future of state of the art assistive technology, and discussed themes & trends in AT and where the field is headed next.  Watch Part 1 here




- [Tracy] Hello, this is Tracy Gray. And I am from the American Institute for Research, the principle investigator for the Center on Technology and Disability. And I'm joined here today with my colleague, Alise Brann, and we're going to be talking to you about unleashing the power of innovation for assistive technology, summary of the feedback findings from the field. Several weeks ago before the holidays, we had the opportunity to talk with many of you about our unleashing the power of innovation for assistive technology work. And we had the chance to talk about it and also to get your insight. This was the work that we had done in 2010, funded under the offices of the U.S. Department of Education and the National Center for Technology Innovation and the Center for Implementing Technology and Education. This work was an exciting opportunity for us to reach out to the field and to talk to leaders such as yourselves, to get insight about current and future investments the development and research needed to really push assistive technology and to unleash the power of these tools to meet the needs of students with disability.

So, since that study was released five years ago, what we wanted to do was to look at where we've been and where we're headed and to get an idea of what the possibilities are for innovation in using these new technology tools. And also building upon many of the advances that we've seen since the work was done in 2010. We've had the opportunity working with the Center for Technology and Disability, our CTD colleagues, and to build upon this work, to highlight the changes in this field, and to identify future direction, so that sets the stage. So where have we been in terms of state-of-the-art AT and training? So let's look at our survey. And the survey was actually conducted in 2009, and as I noted published in 2010. When we reached out to the field, what we found was there were five over arching themes that could define the state-of-art of assistive technology. Those five themes, again, and we discussed them earlier were Convergence, Customized ability, and Universal Design for Learning or UDL, Portability, Research-based Practices and Tools and the whole idea of Interoperability.

The underlying theme that was emerging had to do with the fact that to the person, people were talking about the need for these assistive technology devices to be simple and easy to use for the end users. And if you look at the pie chart there, you can see how those responses broke down from convergence of tools and updated technology to interoperability. And we're going to just quickly review what those terms mean and basically what they mean for the field. So the first question, "What is the state-of-the-art of AT Training?" What we found was hands-on opportunities for trainees would times to plan on how to implement. People were focused on the training and the tools being simple and intuitive and the need for Just-In-Time training with follow-up support, and support for collaborative decision making. And, again, the chart on the right gives you a breakdown of how those different categories broke out in terms of a sample of those responses.

In terms of the next survey question, Alise, we may be dealing with, we're talking about ... Also I just wanted to before we go on to where we're going next, I just wanted to make sure that everyone understood some of the terms that we were talking about earlier. The whole concept of convergence speaks to the issue that as technology has gotten smaller and easier to use, that we've seen a convergence happening in right there within a particular tool. Whereas in the past, the notion of having a separate device that spoke to, that enabled text to speech or enlargement of fonts, now we've seen and particularly over the last five years a convergence of those functionalities within a particular tool. We've also seen the ability of technology tools and digital devices to allow the user to customize that particular tool based on their needs, whether they need enlarged fonts or whether they need a different type of lighting in the back to support the best screen for them. Those features are oftentimes now built right into a particular device based on this notion of the universal design principle. Portability. As we all know you can put these digital devices in your back pocket or in your purse. You don't have to go to a resource center as we've seen in the past to use the devices. And also many more devices are based on research. What does the end user need and how can we support their needs? And then the whole concept of interoperability, the notion that you can move now easily from a Mac to a regular PC. You can move across devices and they still can operate to meet the needs of the users. So I just wanted to make sure that we had those basic concepts defined. Where are we going? And what are the initial results from our findings? And Alise, why don't you take that away about where we are now and where are we going?

- [Alise] Sure, great. Thanks, Tracy. So, initially I wanted to start this out by just putting in a few key images that represented some of the types of answers. We're still getting survey responses in, but we wanted to take this time during this webinar to talk about some of the early responses that we've gotten. We'll be keeping the survey open in case anyone on the phone has not had a chance to respond yet and would like to. A lot of people talked, obviously, about iPads and touchscreen. People talked about the power of 3D printing in terms of creating prosthetics like this adorable little boy here. And people talked about sort of the access to a variety of different flexible tools to meet the needs. I don't know whether you can tell from this but this young boy is scanning in text that he can use. And he has all these great programs. He's visually impaired and he has a multitude of programs and tools that he can choose from that are flexible to meet his needs.

So I thought these were nice visuals to kind of represent some of the responses we've gotten thus far. And so I just pulled out, this is not every single quote, but I pulled out key pieces. A lot of people talked about the same types of things. You'll see that some of the same types of words use key themes that were, that came up in 2009, this idea of customizability. Simple, easy to use comes up again now. I mean clearly those issues are ongoing and are going to be as we move forward with innovations in AT. So we see that devices that are affordable, and robust and have features that can support students. AT that is lighter, stronger, cheaper, faster, easier to use, so, again, those same kinds of ideas of being flexible, of being simple to use for individuals and being customizable or suited to an individual's needs. I like this idea, too, quite a bit. I think concepts that is not only what the person needs at the moment, but that it's flexible enough, customizable enough that it can grow as a student or an individual users change, needs change and that is critically important, particularly when you're looking at things like devices or that students are using, if they're sitting in a specialized chair or specialized desk or they have a special platform, laptop. It may change obviously if their bodies get bigger. But also when you're looking at software and things that are meeting the needs of students as they grow and learn as they build skills or as they learn new things, what is the technology that can grow with them and continue to meet their needs as their needs.

Universally Designed came up again, so that has not changed much since 2009, this concept of things that are meeting diverse needs again, of people with a variety of abilities and disabilities. It is also things that are more intuitive and more powerful. And this got a little bit again at this idea of convergence where the field of AT has become gray. And I think that's something that we've certainly all seen, those of us in the AT field or the EdTech field, that there's been a lot of crossover. And that unlike even five, six, or ten years ago, where there was very much AT over here and EDtech over here, there's been a considerable crossover. And it's not just assistive technology anymore. Many mainstream devices now have customizability options built-in. Options for adaptability, being able to change font size, listen to words read aloud, things that before we may have had to purchase specialized software to do now builtin to a lot of the mainstream tools that we use every day.

So there was several comments that that seems to be a direction in terms of innovation that we'll continue to see more and more, that regular consumer technology is being designed and created with an end-user in mind. It may have a wide variety of needs. Whether they have a disability or not, the end user wants customizability. They want to be able to adapt things and change things to meet their particular needs or their particular goals. And so we also had similarly, we added a few questions to our survey this time around because we also wanted to hear some stories or some thoughts about what is some specific examples of innovative assistive technology application. But we did ask the same question again about, "What is the state-of-the-art AT training look like?" And, again, people I think are looking for the same types of things that they were looking for in 2009. Training that is flexible and diverse. One thing that obviously comes up a lot more now in the survey than did in 2009 is this concept of things being anytime, anywhere, anyplace. And that's something that all of us expect at this point, that if we have a question, if we are looking for information on something that we, it doesn't matter if it's two in the morning we can find it. That's something that people are really looking for in terms of innovative training versus that technology, is being able to do it on-site or online, real time, video, being able to go back and watch things and to be able to use various technology tools to connect with their audience. I wanted to stop briefly because I see there's a little bit of chat going on, I want to, I've been neglecting the chat.

- [Tracy] Thanks, Betsy, for your comments. Why don't you go for it, Alise? About the protocols of the field, Betsy's not. Betsy's asking about the protocols of the field which have not caught up with this merging of AT and IT. And that's a really good point, Betsy, having to do with how we can really push the field to make sure that it is more a breadth of the potential here because the because the capacity is there now. It's just that somehow the field seems to be lagging behind. And Jackie's question is, asked about the impact of convergence on the traditional process of making AT available to students through the IEP consideration process. That's a great question. Alise, I don't, are you not coughing anymore? Are you okay?

- [Alise] I'm done coughing, yes, thank you.

- [Tracy] Good, so do you want to take that?

- [Alise] Yes and I think, you know, the perfect example that was a, has obviously been a high profile example has been in the slow to catch up reimbursement process, for example for ... You know If I've got a child with autism, for example, and I wanted to get them an iPad to be using things like, if they're non-verbal and I wanted to use Proloquo2Go, I can get that for less than $1,000. But, as we know, in terms of getting things reimbursed for a medial purpose or reimbursed for a disability, it needs to be or quite often needs to be a dedicated device and so that was obviously a big example and has started to shift now but had been a big example of technology moving much faster. And a student doesn't need a standalone dedicated speech devise, necessarily anymore. They don't need to buy. They're still, obviously, still students who do need those devices, but that $15,000 or $20,000 piece of equipment may not be the solution for every student. There was a lot of frustration among parents and caregivers that, "Here's something I can get for $500, "but I can't get it covered because it's an iPad and my "student could also be using it to go on the Internet." So I think that's, that's certainly an issue. And it seasoned to the IEP process. Getting to Jackie's question, I think it sometimes may be easier if something is just AT. It can be easier to make the argument that a student needs this because we all know this is an AT device or this is an AT piece of software and you know where the funds are gonna come from. And it can be a little bit more challenging, I think, when we're looking at things that are mainstream. And a student is using a cellphone, for example, because they can have all these reminders built in in verbal notes and all these pieces and apps that they can use, but how do you make the argument that that should be covered as an AT device, for example.

- [Tracy] And building off of that, Alise, you've got this great question from John, the ever challenging issue of keeping AT text in the schools and in the districts up-to-date on the new devices and upgraded software, especially when most are IT techs that are learning to use AT tools. And, John, that's this issue of training and taking people along the continuum of, if you will, of realizing that there's IT in this convergence with AT tools. And the fact that as part of their responsibilities, they need to be apprised of new devices and upgrades. Keeping people at the forefront, particularly in education is really one of the biggest challenges. And it looks like Betsy's answering the question. Go ahead Alise, sorry.

- [Alise] I was actually gonna say something, I'm agreeing with Betsy that we are, we're far behind in integrating convergence into our, into instruction and into certification expectations. Because I think one of the really exciting things that I've seen in the AT field in the last couple years is the crossover. It's seeing somebody who has no background in assistive technology or has no background in working with people with disabilities but is a tech expert and them work together with the disability communities or with AT professionals to solve a problem. And you see that a lot in sort of in the 3D printing world. But you're also seeing it a lot in the design and development of some of these, of apps or devices or I mentioned in our last webinar the vibrating spoon that Google has just purchased that helps adjusts for hand tremors to allow people to eat more easily. And those were created not by people that were working with people with disabilities but they had, they knew people in their lives and they said, "Well, we're engineers, we can figure this out. "Let's work with the disability community "and create something." And so I think that it is lagging sometimes in our schools or in our prep programs of bringing people in, we're not ... We're so used to being siloed in Special Ed, and not seeing how but perhaps we can work with other fields whether it's medical or whether it's device people or if it's engineers or it's software developers to create these tools that are representing that convergence. And, yes, I agree with John that students are creating their own tutorials.

- [Tracy] And one of the things that's such a good point because as Betsy noted are professional development systems in most instances tend to be still segregated, but one of the things that we've seen is that as the number of students grows who are considered Special Ed, 60% or more spend 80% of their time in General Ed classes. As that number continues to grow, I think, Betsy, and I hope that there is going to be more of an intersection between the PD for General Ed teachers and the PD for Special Ed teachers. I also think that as funds get tighter, that we are going to see more of an overlap of this training but again I think many of us, particularly the people who are sending notes here chatting have been in the field a long time. I think it's gotten better, but certainly we've got a long way to go.

- [Alise] Yes, and I do love John's example of YouTube and so I just called that out in my response to Betsy that I think ... We found ways throughout the sort of history of Special Ed and AT to try to work together. And I think some of these online platforms are allowing people to more easily share information. So if you've got a student who has found a solution that works for them, I mean I've seen some great YouTube videos created by students with disabilities who have, for example, wanted to play video games with their friends and so they've created their own custom video game controller to meet their specific needs. And then they post a video on YouTube about how they've been able to do it and now they can play Xbox with with their buddies. And that information gets out, it goes beyond just that one student and allows to, you know, and so that's another really exciting opportunity I think for AT professionals is to learn from the users themselves, but to see how people are solving problems and being creative in solving problems and getting that information out there.

- [Tracy] And I see Jackie is jumping in, too, about the need for Just-In-Time resources. I do think, again, I think it's been slow and it's always hard to generalize from what we see in school districts that we work in. But this notion of recognizing the need for Just-in-Time resources and Just-in-Time support for teachers and practitioners, that can really make a difference. The summer trainings are great, but they're only as good and their shelf life is only as good until a teacher or someone else needs to actually use that technology. And unless they have an online community to turn to or somebody that they can go to, to get a refresher if you will, on how do you use that device or how do you do a particular thing. It really doesn't stick until you actually need to use the tool.

- [Alise] Yep, and I don't know if it's the very next comment, but I was gonna say there's at least a few people that used that same phrase as Jackie, that Just-in-Time, anytime. I think that's the critical piece that really came out for me as I was reading through people's responses. That has not changed since 2009. But what has changed is that we have many, many more tools available to us now to get that kind of fast Just-In-Time, anytime, anywhere support. The challenge is being able to find it. When you look at the number of videos that are on YouTube, how do you find a video example of just what you're looking for or how do you find that the community that has already been working on solving the same problem that you have and has found some answers?

This, I think, carries it a little bit further, this next comment in addition to being sort of on this Just-In-Time and anytime, anywhere and gets to a little bit of what I was just talking about and what we've all been talking about is how do you actually kind of make this happen and how do you ... carry it from little pockets of success that are happening places? How do you create training that focuses on, first of all, more than just the AT device, but also focuses on actually implementing and implementing sustainably. And I think device abandonment has been, is always an issue with AT, particularly its devices aren't flexible or aren't meeting the needs of the user or as the user's needs grow and change, but how did we get, how do we transform our training to make sure that the AT professionals or the teachers that are working with these students are also able to head off these kinds of issues. And I see there's more comments coming. Yes, implementation is always the greatest challenge.

- [Tracy] Yes it is, Betsy.

- [Alise] It is the million dollar question. Tracy and I have worked both the Center for Technology integration and the project we're working on now. Another project that we're working on is also gets on technology implementation and AT implementation, and you have to laugh because it's like, "Gosh, we've been saying the same, "all the new research says the same things "that they said ten years ago, and fifteen years ago." Implementation is always where things kinda fall apart or have the potential to fall apart and it is a key challenge.

- [Tracy] Well, and it's also where in some ways, sometimes you can get the most pushback from schools that say, "Well, this is an interesting case study, "but this doesn't relate to my school. "I'm not an urban school, I'm a rural school," or "I'm a suburban school." And I know that Betsy in her training job there in the field encounters these same kinds of challenges because many schools feel that their individual situation is unique and that their problems and concerns are unique. And I think one of the goals of those of us who work in this field is to help people realize that while their situations decidedly are unique, there are some key characteristics that are similar. It's back to that old adage about the commonality of happy marriages that compared to unhappy marriages. While the marriages may be different, there are many characteristics that are the same.

- [Alise] Yes, and I think the challenge is always and I think some of us can be addressed by this next comment and some of the comments before talking about this anytime, anywhere is that quite often you end up in a school with one or two or if you're lucky, three or more superstars with regard to tech or assistive tech that are active parts of the community, they're on Twitter all the time, they're part of community to practice online, they're working with people, they're going to conferences and networking. And we've seen in the schools that we work with that those superstars sometimes are, by the next year or the year after, they've moved on to a district-level position or they're now running something for the entire school as opposed to focusing on kinda the AT as they were doing before or what they were, or they're doing things across school. Or some of the people we've seen have moved on to state-level positions. And that's wonderful, but it means that the school is almost starting from scratch again, because they have not built the capacity or they don't have somebody else to step in and fill that role. And where do they now get all that information? And having these kinds of 24/7 access to training and support and professional development, being able to go and find answers to your questions quickly and knowing where, whether it's a physical community of practice in your school or district or whether it's a virtual one, knowing where you can go to get these kinds of answers. I'm just reading through the questions. Sorry, I paused so I can make sure I'm not missing anybody's questions or comments.

- [Tracy] This one from John about the advantage that we have now with the smart devices and the fact that we use them all day long, that this really does enable the developer to expand their base of fires to include disability populations, English language learners and General Ed students. And certainly Apple has led the way with accessibility tools with built-in to their devices. We had worked with Microsoft for many, many years and their accessibility team, but as hard as that accessibility team tried to keep up with Apple, they just seemed to always be behind the curve. but it is going to be interesting. The other area of convergence when you think about assistive technology is related to the aging of the population. And as you have more and more baby boomers, who are reaching a certain point where they now need AT devices, so I think we're going to see an even more rapid convergence of these accessibility features that are going to be built in as more people need different size fonts or they need special kinds of devices that they can hold. Alise is saying whether it's due to tremors or other issues that they find that the devices are cumbersome. I think, and hearing loss, absolutely, from Andy. We're going to just see, because the market's going to increase and we're no longer going to hear from developers that the market is too small because the market is going to explode for many of the accessibility features that we now see starting to grow into these devices. Jackie's mentioning the aging on both ends. Aging of users, who are now moving into college, aging of teachers, aging of our animals. Everybody's going down the same track, but obviously the demographics, just in terms of the sheer numbers are going to drive more attention to the need to see accessibility as a feature that should just be builtin for standard consumer devices.

- [Alise] Right and there's been a seismic shift really in video games in one particular area in that exact direction because if you look at how long, if you look at the age of the people who were playing Atari or that some of the early, early video games that have been, have considered themselves gamers. They played the Nintendo and everything as kids. They are now in their 40's, or 50's, or 60's. And some of those developers that grew up playing video games are recognizing the same thing that, "You know what, I'm in my 50's "and I still love playing video games." And when you look at in terms of just aging but also in terms of how many people will end up in their lifetime with some type of disability, there's a lot less pushback in some of the video game developer worlds and in some of the mainstream technology worlds for that very purpose because they're recognizing, "Gosh, we all need these things universally." Or flexible technology is valuable to all of us.

- [Tracy] And JackieM was just talking about the fact that students with disabilities are going to college now in much greater numbers and they're moving from that more sheltered environment where at least in theory, teachers and staff were focused on developing IEP's to meet the needs of those students. They're being thrust into this new environment where it's not necessarily assumed that those kinds of supports are available. But one of the things I was thinking as Alise was talking and of course this is a hypothesis, but I think this notion of talking about people with disabilities as the sheer number of people just burgeons, the notion of having a hearing disability or I believe it was John who was earlier talking about his mother who is 69 and is having problems with a small button. I think the numbers are going to be so huge that we're not gonna be, now obviously in some cases we will, that stigma will always be there. But I think it's gonna be a very different thing. Hearing loss is gonna be quite common or the need to have enlarged print is gonna be just very much an accepted feature that will be builtin to devices no matter what kind of device they are.

- [Alise] Mm-hmm. Yeah and to follow up with what Betsy's talking about, too, here that, yes and move away ... Betsy, you're saying smart things too fast. We're moving our language to very

- [Tracy] Yep, I agree, I agree, yep.

- [Alise] It's exactly, you know, it's the features. And more and more as we use technology in our lives every day, we expect that our technology can meet our needs and we have students who have grown up using smartphones, using these types of tools that expect that they can customize things or that they can find technology to meet their needs. And I think that demand is gonna help push the field even if somebody does not need customizable technology at the moment, chances are we're all going to need it in one way or another at some point in our lives. And I think that will really help push the companies to do this and recognize that they can't keep saying, "Well, the marketshare isn't big enough anymore "for us to consider accessibility."

- [Tracy] And John along those lines, at least John is noting that there's an app that reads prescriptions instead of trying to guess at the font size, which is always too small. I don't care how much light I have or how many pairs of glasses I have, I still cannot see that font. And I think that that's just a really good example of the kinds of accessibility features that are either gonna be builtin or is gonna be available in a font. I mean if you think about it, the fact that I am now wearing a band on my arm that buzzes every 30 minutes to tell me to move, how, what a statement that is that rather than looking at the clock like we did it the old-fashioned way, I've got something that's buzzing me to tell me to get up and get out of my chair. And so I think that all of these kinds of devices that are making our lives easier are really going to be very much a part of our every day living.

- [Alise] A brave new world, Tracy.

- [Tracy] Yes, it is, a brave new world. This thing has zapped me twice now since we've been on the phone.

- [Alise] So, well, I think, feel free to keep talking. This is way more interesting than whatever Tracy and I have to say. We love hearing the sop from everybody in the field in this. That's why the survey has been so interesting. And hearing people sharing stories or sharing links to products that I've never heard of. Thank you, John, for sharing that prescription reader app because I was not familiar with that one. We'll add that to our list of cool examples.

- [Tracy] It is really just a terrific example I must say. And that example really ties into what we're seeing again as the emerging scene, AT training that's always on. And again it's back to that notion that Jackie had raised earlier and that is how do we keep people informed of what's going on and nobody can know all of this. Nobody could be tracking all of this and be on top of it. So we do need to make sure that we're sharing information and that we're keeping each other apprised of what's out there, what's working, what's new. And then another theme, again, that we've talked about is the flexibility of these devices, the customizability of them to enable the user to set the technology, set the functionality to meet their individual needs. One of the things we didn't talk about is what we're seeing emerging on college campuses and that is where students take their AT needs with them, they have it on a jump drive. They go to a place on campus, they plug it in. And the screen accommodates their needs. So depending upon how they organize their screen and what their reading issues are, their visual issues and what their hearing issues are, the technology is able to customize it to meet their particular needs. And then, again, making it available wherever and whenever. Some of these AT functionality, abilities are now available in the cloud where you get your own space, if you will, in the cloud and you plug into it. And then your needs in terms of AT are available right there on whatever device you're using. And that ties into this notion of having responsive technology tools and devices that meet the individual needs.

- [Alise] Looking for a link, I was gonna say this is, all this has triggered in me there's a great website that I will as soon as I can find it again, they do sort of a weekly roundup of news and science and technology and some of these things that you all are talking about and that Tracy was just talking about come up in these, "Oh, here's a, somebody just invented a contact lens "that has an LED, so you can get information "right onto your eyeballs." And new haptic responses that can allow people to touch and feel things or move limbs that they haven't been able to move and so I was gonna share the link. One way that I stay on top of what's happening in AT is looking at some of these websites that kind of do a weekly roundup for me because otherwise I would miss it all. It is very hard to stay on top of it. And Betsy's asking ... Her response to technology. It was more just technology that is responsive to needs, that was sort of shorthand for some of the quotes that people had talked about that technology that is customizable, that is ... You know, can be ... can be meeting the needs sort of, of the user rather than the other way around. So that's really what I meant by that. I apologize if my shorthand was confusing.

- [Tracy] And it's back to whether people are pulling down with one functionality from the cloud or whether they're carrying it on their jump drive that that functionality enabled the user irrespective of the tool whether they're using their smartphone or whether they're using a PC or their iPad, that they can in fact use those devices without having to go to a resource room. So did we answer your question, Jackie, Betsy?

- [Alise] Wondering whether responsive technology was a new term, no.

- [Tracy] I think we're hoping that it will be a new term.

- [Alise] I think when I was writing it I was also sort of thinking of responsive design in terms of responsive websites where if a website is responsive in terms of design, if I use it on my iPad it works just as well, and looks just as good as if I use it on my desktop or my laptop or I put my smartphone. Yeah, I was using it more of a descriptive term and sort of that theme that everybody was talking about, technology that's working for everybody, everywhere, it's flexible and meets needs kind of regard with where they are, whether they're in the classroom or at home or on the train or wherever they might need it.

- [Tracy] And I think one of the points that we've mentioned also, well and Jackie's talking about wearable computers where I think we were initially going, but this is making us think about these kinds of devices is that if you think of somebody with hearing loss or visual impairment, watching my mother-in-law go through various stages of losing her sight unfortunately, and what we've done is we've made sure that that the devices she had access to as a veracious reader are flexible enough and responsive enough to meet her needs at least so far as she's, as she's losing her sight. So her needs are changing, not just in terms of the font size but in terms of the background, and in terms of now text to speech, that she's not so far we haven't had to buy her new devices, but the devices that she has in terms of an iPad and the type of computer that she has still allow her to access the information. But I think this whole field of wearable computers and wearable devices is going to take us to the next level of this. I was working with a colleague who has two autistic sons and she's developing a sensor that can go in the baby's blanket that gives responses to the child when the child rubs on the blanket that provides positive, reinforcement for activity. And I think that that kind of functionality is going to be more imbedded in clothes and in other ways that we use technology.

- [Alise] Yes and actually the next slide after this has some of the things that came up that mention wearables and things just like that. There was one response that mentioned, we asked for some examples of innovative AT and sensors for people with visual impairment that allow them to "see" with their tongue. So you get, like, feedback on your tongue. They linked to a podcast about it and I listened to this girl talking about it, saying it felt like fizzy soda bubbles on her tongue, but it triggered the receptors. I could not explain it to you if I tried, but it triggered the receptors in her brain that allowed her to see this image and see what, what was being described to her through touch on her tongue. It was incredible. I'll skip to that slide in just a moment, so we can talk about some of those things as well. But these are some of the things that came up in terms of what technology these people thought held the most potential for innovations and mobile devices, quick and accurate speech recognition, 3D printing, touch technology, smarter voice recognition. And then these are some of the others.

And then we'll come back to this question, but yes. Neuroprosthetics. And sensory substitutions. Thank you, Andy, that was the, exactly the story that I was just referring to. If you look in the chat, Andy from PACER has shared the podcast, it was fascinating. I highly recommend listening to it. And that sort of, I think, that tool falls into the sensory substitution. I did a lot of reading about some of these different tools the other day and allowing people to see through things like using their tongue or allowing people to feel things using sort of haptic and touch responses. It's very interesting. More mainstream 3D printing was definitely another thing that came up among some of our responses, more cloud-based AT, wearables. And then I put question mark because I wanted to, we wanted to take a chance to hear from you all what anything that hasn't come up. We've been already talking about a lot of exciting new technologies, but you kind of where do you think we're heading next, what holds the most potential, what are you the most excited about? And then you can all go off and listen to this amazing podcast that Andy just shared.

- [Tracy] I must say that this has been just a great conversation, it's always ... It's always so wonderful to get a chance to stand still long enough to hear from our colleagues and share ideas and I get a sense of what people know and what's happening in the field. So, our thanks to you all for sharing all of this with us. So we have been talking about what technologies. We've been touching on this, do you think hold the most potential for AT invention, innovation. Any additional thoughts on that? And Betsy's talking about some innovations are emerging from the work in Virginia. And, oh, I'm sorry, the work with the VA's, the Veteran's Association, the Veteran's Administration and the returning veterans. That's such a good point. With all of these veterans returning with brain disorders and disabilities related to lost limbs, we are seeing, unfortunately, an explosion of attention now on the need to create devices that allow young people, in particular in many instances to go on with their lives. And you have seen a real explosion in prosthesis and other types of devices that help people get through the day even with serious brain damage, cognitive impairment etc. It's a sad way to see this field really expand but hopefully it will allow people to regain their independence.

Andy's talking about social networking, the notion of people working at home, text was created for people with social skill. All of that it is really I think in addition to the things we've talked about really driving this innovation. People want to be able to work and play anytime, anywhere. John's talking about devices and resources that have been crafted to deal with veterans who are returning with PTSD and other mental health concern. And that we're seeing a lot of attention on ways to use Telehealth so that you don't have to travel long distances to receive the kind of healthcare that you need and using technology to support these innovative approaches. Also, attention to mood tracking devices and apps to help people control their sharp mood swings. And John has included a link for that, that really is very, very helpful. So I think in next year even when we do a follow-up to this webinar, I think we'll have a lot of exciting new examples to share. And we've made a commitment on our end as part of the Center's work to continue to, to compile these new devices and new tools, to make sure that the field has this information and that we continue to share this information on the site. And Betsy has just beat me to the punch here about sharing this information on the CTD website. And what I'm wondering is as part of our work, in addition to the transcript being made available, but Jackie's noting that it wouldn't be worth our while here at AIR crafting just a short piece building off of the great discussion that we had here adding in those tools and ideas. So this is really been great food for thought at our end to get us to think about how we can ensure, but not only do we make this information available from the webinar, but that we continue to feed it and keep people updated.

- [Alise] Yes and these are all great suggestions. And that feeds in perfectly to one of our final slides here as we're almost at 4:30. So, a few things, the survey is still open. So please, if you ... You haven't responded to it yet, I think actually quite a few of you on the phone probably have already, but if you haven't please feel free to add your thoughts, share it with any of your colleagues that you think would be interested because we'll still be collecting this information in an ongoing way. And our plan is to develop an updated report in 2015, but I think also additional webinars would be a great idea to continue to have these discussions to follow-up, to perhaps to have additional webinars on specific topics or specific tools, to go further with some of the great information that we're getting from the field. The final thing and you can feel free to keep typing questions or suggestions. I just want to make sure we get this up here is we have a webinar evaluation link. If you could please take a few minutes to complete this very, very short webinar evaluation. As a federally-funded project obviously we like to get this feedback and then be able to share it with the Department of Education and let them knowhow things are going.

- [Tracy] And unless there are, Jackie's still typing. Jackie has more energy than any ten people I know. Responding to John's suggestion about considering additional webinars that are focused on specific audiences, so that we can really drill down on this notion of specific tools. We'll definitely think about that and certainly having such wonderful colleagues participating has made this a really exciting webinar, so we thank you. If there's snow where you are or inclement weather, please stay safe and drive carefully. And if you're in sunny Cal, if you're in sunny California where Caroline Martin is, we wish her well in making sure she has enough sunscreen on so that she doesn't get sunburnt. So thank you all and again we look forward to seeing you online and hopefully in person. Take good care and again happy new year. And thank you.

- [Alise] Thank you all. Thanks, Alise, take care.

- [Alise] Thanks, Tracy. Thanks, Jackie, Ana-Maria.

- [Tracy] Bye, bye. Thanks Jackie and Anna-Maria and Caroline. Bye, bye.

- [Alise] Bye.