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Assistive Technology Showcase to Feature Tools, Technologies and Programs

ATLANTA -- The Assistive Technology Showcase at Abilities Expo-Atlanta 2012, scheduled for Feb. 15 to 17, will feature demos of several exciting tools, technologies and programs that offer opportunities to support the lifestyles, enhance community participation and ensure the safety of people with all types of disability. 

From apps to adventure and everything in between, the AT Showcase will provide visitors with the opportunity to interact with a variety of technologies available in the marketplace, as well as some that are still in development. Therapists, advocates, researchers and engineers will be on hand to demonstrate their technologies and to give visitors a chance to try them out.

The event will be held at the Georgia World Congress Center, Hall C4, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 15, 10 to 5 p.m. Feb. 16 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 17. Admission is free. For more information, see

Here’s a list of the AT Showcase exhibitors and some of what they’ll feature.

Shepherd Center

Several departments from Shepherd Center will be showcasing technologies and programs. 

Shepherd’s Therapeutic Recreation Department will be showing some of the many options people have for recreation – both indoors and outdoors. Visitors can try to operate a sip-and-puff controller for aiming a rifle or crossbow. Also, they can test various pieces of exercise and conditioning equipment, including hand cycles. The Therapeutic Recreation team will also show videos from Shepherd’s Adventure Skills Workshop (ASW) and other outdoor programs. ASW participants get to choose from sports and activities, including tubing, jet skiing, water skiing, scuba diving, swimming, fishing, all-terrain vehicles, climbing wall, canoeing/kayaking, marksmanship and water polo. Program director Kelly Edens says, “There’s a big, wide world out there just waiting for you!”

Shepherd’s Assistive Technology Center will be at the AT Showcase, demonstrating some of its solutions for controlling electronic devices such as iPods, cell phones and computers, as well as devices for controlling the home environment – thermostat, lighting, TV, etc.

Additionally, Shepherd’s Crawford Research Institute will be represented by one of its programs, the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies (Wireless RERC). This program, conducted in collaboration with the Georgia Institute of Technology, has become a recognized leader on issues and solutions related to the accessibility and usability of mobile wireless products and services by people with disabilities. The Wireless RERC will feature an interactive “Live Bar” where visitors can try out some of the latest accessibility features available on today’s cell phones, tablets and mobile computers. The Wireless RERC also will demonstrate the upcoming Commercial Mobile Alerting System for receiving public alerts on a cell phone.

Last but not least, staff from Shepherd Center’s RESCUE Program will be on hand to tell visitors about their efforts to link people with disabilities to local emergency responders. RESCUE is a community service program providing home alert labels and education for people with physical and/or cognitive limitations who find themselves in emergency situations. The mission is to improve response times and create better emergency plans.

The RESCUE team will show some apps for smartphones and tablet computers that could be useful for preparing for and responding to emergencies that could put people with disabilities at extra risk. Being prepared and able to execute a rescue plan is not only good practice, it could be a lifesaver, program personnel say.

Georgia Tech

Georgia Institute of Technology will be showcasing two technology solutions still under development – the Tongue Drive System and BrailleTouch.

The Tongue Drive System, developed by Georgia Tech’s Bionics Lab and being tested at Shepherd Center, is designed to control powered wheelchairs and other electronics, including computers, TV and other devices, with a magnet attached to the tongue. The Tongue Drive team will offer live demonstrations at the AT Showcase. The device allows people with little or no control of their upper extremities to operate devices with movements of their tongue. This system can also be expanded to incorporate a smart phone app to control the home environment.

Georgia Tech’s Ubiquitous Computing Lab (UbiComp) will be at the Assistive Technology Showcase to demonstrate several accessibility-related apps for smartphones – most notably the BrailleTouch smartphone app, which lets a user type text easily using the Braille alphabet.

NeuroTech Network/Cleveland FES Center

The NeuroTech Network and Cleveland FES Center will show that neurotechnology is quickly developing, wit

  • Implanted Electrode Technology – new technology developed by the Cleveland Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Center
  • Impulse, an EMG (Electromyography)-sensing electrode – senses tiny muscle contractions and wirelessly transmits the EMG signal to a computer using Bluetooth wireless technology
  • Drop Foot Stimulation – Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) for drop foot syndrome to improve gait. CMS reimbursed for SCI. FDA-approved for stroke, CP, MS, TBI and more.

h new devices becoming available to treat a wide range of neurological issues. The NeuroTech Network will showcase advances in FES, including the following:

Tools for Life / Touch the Future

Tools for Life, Georgia's Assistive Technology Act Program, will be at the Assistive Technology Showcase, too. Tools for Life gives more options for greater freedom by increasing access to and acquisition of assistive technology (AT) devices and services for Georgians of all ages and disabilities so they can live, learn, work and play independently in communities of their choice. Tools for Life will feature several interactive workstations staffed by professional trainers and assistive technology specialists. They will show visitors how to use various technologies that can help them find employment and excel in their jobs.

Touch the Future, a South Carolina-based partner with Tools for Life, will staff the interactive workstations. Additionally, Touch the Future will be demonstrating various pieces of fitness equipment that can keep the body toned and balanced.

Interactive, Useful and Fun!

The 2012 Abilities Expo in Atlanta will cover just about everything from useful tools and technologies currently available to exciting new assistive technologies still in development. From recreation to employment and productivity tools, indoor environmental controls, advanced control systems, accessible technology for smartphones and tablets, functional electrical stimulation, and more, the Assistive Technology Showcase at Abilities Expo Atlanta will have something for everyone.

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. An elite center recognized as both Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitation. Shepherd Center treats thousands of patients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.