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Learning FROM Disability: A Lens on Problem-Centered, Multi-Disciplinary Collaboration


LwD IGERT 2012 Research Workshop Learning FROM Disability: A Lens on Problem-Centered, Multi-Disciplinary Collaboration
The Wright State University Technology-based Learning with Disability (LwD) IGERT program conducted its sixth annual workshop on May 31-June 1, 2012. The event marked a milestone in the LwD training program as past and current IGERT fellows, faculty, PIs and stakeholders in interdisciplinary research on disability gathered to share their research findings and conclusions. As implied by its title, the unifying theme for the workshop was the benefit of a multidisciplinary approach to this research, both for problem stakeholders and for contributing science and engineering disciplines.

LwD IGERT PI John Flach opened the proceedings with an overview of the workshop emphasizing the unique interdisciplinary, problem-focused character of the LwD IGERT program. Dr. Michele Wheatly, current Provost at the University of West Virginia and former LwD co-PI and College of Science and Mathematics Dean at Wright State, gave the keynote presentation on the first day, in which she offered insights from her career-long work on achieving inclusion of persons with disability and members of other underrepresented groups in STEM fields. The keynote for the second day was presented by Dr. Forouzan Golshani who is Dean of the College of Engineering at California State University Long Beach and was the founding LwD IGERT PI when he was serving as Chairman of the Wright State Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

The primary content of the workshop was divided into four topical panel sessions featuring the research of our IGERT Fellows, invited leading investigators and stakeholders in the research problems that they are pursuing: Traumatic Brain Injury: From Recovery to Reintegration TBI Survivors/Family Panel Discussion Michael Little Barbara Wyant Lewis Pulley Biomechanics and Mobility Analysis of Amputee Gait using Virtual Reality Rehabilitation Techniques Maurissa D’Angelo LWD IGERT Graduate Biomechanical Evaluation of Proximal Femur Fractures with Cephalomedullary Nailing Alyssa George Whitney IGERT Fellow Rehabilitation and Strength Training with Pneumatic Resistance Mandy Cowgill IGERT Fellow Blindness and Low Vision: Navigating the environment and the web The Assistive Technology Experience from the Perspective of a Blind Advocate and Consumer P. Eric Duffy Wright State Research Institute and National Federation of the Blind Ohio Understanding pedestrian navigation without vision Julio Mateo IGERT Fellow Online Health Information Technology John Kegley IGERT Fellow Look Ma, No Hands! — Perspectives on Hands-free Access Systems At the Limits of the Possible: Thoughts on Priorities from Brain-Computer Interface Research Jane Huggins University of Michigan Brainfingers and BCI Andrew Junker Brain Actuated Technologies.

In addition to the topical presentations, the LwD IGERT Fellows conducted an informal session providing hands-on demonstrations of Brain-Computer and other alternative control interfaces, a mobile platform for providing cognitive assistance and neuropsychological monitoring, and technology to support non-visual mobility. A highlight of the workshop was the special event that was opened to the public on the first night as part of our outreach to the university and general community. The Ghandi Auditorium of the Wright State Boonshoft School of Medicine was the venue for a presentation by Mike May, CEO of the Sendero Goup. Mr. May holds the downhill speed skiing record for a totally blind person and is the co-founder of the company that developed the first accessible GPS navigation device for blind travelers. Mike’s presentation highlighted his experiences as a multisport athlete, as well as his commercial ventures into the development of advanced technology for individuals with disabilities.

Address Goals

The workshop provided a unique public opportunity to foster research on disability and technology, showing the mutual benefits to the contributing disciplines and the growing population of individuals with congenital, aquired and age-related physical and cognitive disabilities.