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Assistive Technology Transfer Update


Title: T2RERC gets the word out
Author: Douglas J Usiak
Published: 2000
Publication: Assistive Technology Transfer Update: Vol. 2 Issue 2 (Fall)


Information dissemination is a task undertaken by the Rehabilitation Engineering Rehabilitation Center on Technology Transfer (T2RERC) and applied to its programs of Supply-Push, Demand-Pull, Technical Assistance, and Strategic Partners. The Assistive Technology Transfer Update, the T2RERC website, conference presentations and workshops, press releases, and articles published in trade and technical journals are a few of the dissemination paths used by the T2RERC. In this article you will find examples of dissemination in the context of the four.

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Disseminating news of the activities of the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technology Transfer (T2RERC) through various channels is vital to accomplishing the project's other strategic goals.

The Demand-Pull project needs to seek out appropriate potential stakeholders (inventors, researchers, clinicians, manufacturers, consumers with disabilities and other end-users) for its fact-finding Forums. ...And once their data is analyzed and the Problem Statements formulated, these facts need to be made available to anyone in the public or private sectors who could offer proposed solutions.

Individuals and firms with unexploited or orphan assistive devices need to learn that its Supply-Push Program is a ready-made avenue to the marketplace for equipment that is truly useful to end-users. Likewise, potential manufacturing partners need to learn about innovative devices that are available for licensing from T2RERC.

Maintaining wide-open avenues of communication can also play a role in offering Technical Assistance to other entities, and in recruiting possible Strategic Partners in order to accomplish its goals. The aforementioned avenues include:

In-house Outreach
A primary source of up-to-date information about every aspect of the T2RERC's activities is its Internet web-site, "cosmos.ot.buffalo.edu/t2rerc", which has been designed to include the areas of mutual interest found in our sister RERC's web-sites. We are particularly pleased to note that all of the information is available in text form to provide full access to web-site visitors with visual impairments.

The T2RERC continues to publish this newsletter, Assistive Technology Transfer Update, whose mailing list of over 1,800 boasts recipients in both Houses of Congress, AT manufacturers, Federal Laboratories, Tech Act Centers, other RERCs, Independent Living Centers, and end-users.

Other Media Coverage
The T2RERC has been fortunate to have a project overview of its 1999 Stakeholders Forum on Wheeled Mobility published in the Federal Laboratory Consortium's FLC NewsLink newsletter ("Wheeled Mobility Project: Can You Contribute?", November 1999, Vol. 15, No. 12) and a project abstract on the FLC web-site with a link to a full report on the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) web-site (Early December, 1999). Abstracts of the Problem Statements developed from information gathered in the Forum were published, two per month, in the Reader's Forum of the June, July and August 2000 issues of NASA "Tech. Briefs" magazine. In addition to articles mentioned in the last (T2RERC Annual Report) issue of Assistive Technology Transfer Update, the Stakeholders Forum was featured in: Paraplegia News ("Mobility & More – Improving Mobility: Bright Ideas", July, 1999; "Paralysis Society of America - Better Wheelchair Designs", August, 1999; "Mobility & More - Wheeled Mobility: Evolution ... to Revolution", December 1999; and "Smart Tools", March 2000); Paralysis Society of America (PSA)'s "NewsWheels", ("PSA ‘Stakeholders' Support Better Wheelchair Designs", Summer, 1999); Rehab Report ("In the News - Call for Ideas to Improve Wheeled Mobility", November, 1999), RESNA News (November-December 1999); AZtech News (December 1999); Homecare Monday ("Wheelchairs, Scooters Subjects of Design Proposals", January 24, 2000); The McGraw-Hill Companies' Federal Technology Report, ("Labs' Help Sought to Improve Technologies for the Disabled", April 20, 2000), and Homecarextra, IV(2), ("From Think Tank to Real World", Spring, 2000)

We authored the lead article in the Fall 1999 issue of Assistive Technology titled "Understanding Technology Transfer". Other exposure for the T2RERC was achieved in: Advance for Providers of Post-Acute Care ("High Tech Home Care Have No Fear", November 1999); Federal Technology Report ("Labs' Help Sought to Improve Technologies for the Disabled", April 20, 2000); and Home Care Magazine ("From Think Tank to Real World. Wheelchair Researchers Push for Innovation in Mobility Technology", Spring 2000).

News releases publicizing the June 2000 Stakeholders Forum on Hearing Enhancement in New York City were sent to dozens of national media outlets, research partners and consumer and professional publications, including several specializing in issues for Hard-of-Hearing individuals. Thus far, this yielded FLC NewsLink's "Experts Converge to Improve Hearing Assistance Products", (April-May 2000).

Presentations and Workshops at Professional Gatherings
At RESNA 2000 (the Conference of the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America) in June-July 2000, the T2RERC staff was honored to present an Instructional Course: "The Business of Assistive Technology: From Invention to Commercialization"; and present four Platform Sessions: A New Graduate Course in Assistive Technology Outcomes Measurement; Applications for a Technology Transfer Model; The Demand-Pull Project on Wheeled Mobility; Establishing Best Practices for Technology Transfer Preliminary Findings; in a Poster Session: Fundamentals of Inventing; and in a Concurrent Session: Progress in Three Approaches to Technology Transfer.

Our staff presented an educational workshop, "Unlocking Assistive Technology", at MedTrade Show (a medical equipment manufacturers' trade conference) in November 1999 in New Orleans, Louisiana; and presented products and/or attended and solicited inventor's submissions at the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Conference in March 2000. We also presented progress reports on our model and practice activities through peer-reviewed papers at: the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Conference in Houston (October, 1999); the Düsseldorf, Germany meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe (November, 1999); and the Technology Transfer Society's national conference in Austin, Texas (July 2000)

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