Collage of TFL staff using AT.

Research in Assistive Technology

Research in Assistive Technology

Tools for Life conducts and participates in research projects to improve the lives of people with disabilities through assistive technology. TFL, along with our regional, national and international partners, strives to explore the outcomes of AT use by people with disabilities, as well as to determine the effectiveness and usefulness of AT devices and services.

Recent Research Projects

The Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation (CIDI), of which TFL is a part, conducts ongoing major research on disability and assistive technology. CIDI staff conduct and participate in research projects and publish findings in scholarly journals. Tools for Life staff are frequent team members of research projects led by CIDI and TFL. 

ACCESS for Aging Well - Accommodation Expert Support System for Aging Well 

TFL, in collaboration with the University of Washington’s Center for Technology & Disability Studies (CTDS), is a National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) funded project led by CIDI researchers in which TFL participated. It was designed to develop an online accommodation assessment system that service providers can use while conducting community living evaluations of older adults with disabilities and their families. Learn more about ACCESS for Aging Well

ACCESS-PD - Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Accommodations, Employment Supports and Success for People with Physical Disabilities 

ACCESS-PD is a new NIDILRR-funded center that encompasses four research projects to explore factors that impact employment success for people with physical disabilities. Awarded to CIDI at the end of FY 2023, it will extend for a 5-year period. TFL will lead the technical assistance portion by creating a National Resource Center and will participate in the testing of the Continuum of AT Mastery tool.
Learn more about ACCESS-PD

CDC Foundation Accessible Materials and Culturally Relevant Messages for Individuals with Disabilities

The project combined research with technical assistance to provide accessible healthcare guidance to people with disabilities. The research components included a needs assessment of COVID-19 guidance for adults with development disabilities, and, under the leadership of partners from the University of North Carolina, the development of guidelines for communicating with individuals with extremely low literacy. 

TechSAge - Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Technologies to Support Aging-in-Place for People with Long-Term Disability 

This long-term CIDI project (funded by NIDILRR) is a collaboration with the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) and Georgia State University. It is dedicated to understanding the needs of and developing supportive technologies for people aging with long-term disabilities. Learn more about TechSAge

Work ACCESS - Workplace Accommodation Access Support System 

TFL staff supported research (funded by NIDILRR) that focused on the design of an easy-to-use workplace-accommodation assessment system that helps employers and employees make intelligent choices about the most appropriate accommodations, and the development of an Assistive Software Knowledgebase, a resource on specific assistive software and mobile apps used in the workplace. Learn more about Work ACCESS