RERC TechSAge: Making a Difference to the Lives of Older Adults with Disability Through Design and Technology

  • Jon A. Sanford
  • Elena T. GonzalezEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9754)


As with people who are experiencing normal aging, there is great potential for technology to provide supportive solutions for people aging with disability. Yet, while little is known about the needs and abilities of people aging with disability, universal design (UD), which is an approach that promotes usability for all, regardless of ability or impairment promising, offers great promise in developing effective technologies for people aging with disability. The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technologies to Support Successful Aging with Disability (RERC TechSAge) takes the unique approach of applying UD principles to rehab engineering research and the development of new technologies for older adults. This paper will provide an overview of TechSAge’s mission and conceptual framework and highlight three projects: User Needs research, the App for Locational Intelligence and Geospatial Navigation project (ALIGN) and the SmartBathroom. These and other TechSAge projects provide exemplars of how incorporating UD in front-end research and development, versus accommodating specific limitations after the fact, can extend usability of technology and environments for broad use, and particularly people aging with disability.


Universal design Aging with disability Technologies for aging 



This research was supported in part by a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Community Living) Grant 90RE5016-01-00 under the auspices of the Rehabilitation and Engineering Research Center on Technologies to Support Successful Aging with Disability (TechSAge; The authors would like to Amy Lambeth, HCI graduate student at Georgia Tech, for her assistance creating a visual depiction of differential environmental barriers and performance outcomes between individuals with age-related changes and existing impairment compared to those with either age-related changes or impairment (Fig. 1).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access (CATEA)Georgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

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