Innovating For Disabled Veterans

Innovation and the military have always gone hand in hand. It should be of no surprise that when Adriana and I saw the S.A.H.A.T. (Specially Adaptive Housing Assistive Technology) program posted on grants.gov, we enthusiastically applied to participate. As an Assistive Technology (A.T.) company that is developing a device that enables the most severely disabled to access mobile phones and computers, we knew that our technology would be a perfect fit for disabled vets living in technologically advanced housing. The Puffin is the conduit between the person and consumer electronics.

In a time when modern warfare has increased the complexities of injuries, participating in a project funded by the Office of Veterans Affairs to develop technology for disabled vets excites our empathetic inner nerdiness. The Puffin’s main purpose is to meet the demands of users, and use data to advance ideations. Currently, the device is used orally by the disabled, so those with spinal cord injuries and loss of limbs can easily use the product. As war injuries change, so will our technology.

We at Puffin look forward to working with other innovators to further advance the technologies, treatments, and services provided to injured troops. No one wants our military troops to be injured in any act of war, but unfortunately this is out of our control. However, we can all make a difference for our current troops and veterans in our own ways, and Puffin will provide technologies with pride. The military is working on some incredible innovations that will not only change the lives of disabled vets, but also the disability community at large.

Innovating Assistive Technology

Last spring, I was sitting on a subway in Beijing watching the advert TV display a ten-minute video describing how to improve accessibility for those with disabilities. It became clear that the Chinese government found accessibility important for its expansion plans, and not only for those with disabilities but anyone that may have challenges. This is nothing new in the United States, which created the regulatory infrastructure with the Fair Housing Act of 1971 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, as the imminent leader in technology, China’s showcasing of accessibility for all is notable progress. If accessibility can become important to Chinese entrepreneurs, I see China as one of the leaders in inventing assistive technologies (AT). Nevertheless, innovating assistive technologies is a challenge for entrepreneurs globally. In this post I am going to discuss how modern innovation methods combined with outside-the-box thinking can not only provide better technologies but can also add value to everyone involved in the disability community.

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A Renewed Fight for Disability Rights

A Renewed Fight for Disability Rights

A Call to Action for the Disability Community. Picture of: Elizabeth Warren, Robyn Powell, Colleen Flanagan participating in the Women’s March 2017

In 1964 the United States passed the Civil Rights Act, protecting against discrimination of sex, race, and religion. Omitted from the act were protections for individuals with disabilities. In 1975 the first version of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was passed, guaranteeing a free appropriate public education for children with disabilities. However, it wasn’t until the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, only 27 years ago, that the protections guaranteed by the Civil Rights Act were solidified for the largest minority group in the United States, the disabled.

Yet, here we are in 2017 and people in the disability community are nervous. Why?

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