CSUN Conference Provides Hands-On Interaction with Latest Assistive Technologies

  • Two women and a girl look at the schedule for the CSUN Conference.

    CSUN attendees choose from more than 350 general sessions encompassing a wide range of topics on assistive technology, at the 31st annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference in March 2016 in San Diego. Photo by Christopher Robertson

  • Lu stands at podium giving speech.

    Deputy Secretary of Labor Christopher Lu presents the keynote speech at the CSUN Conference. He spoke about the U.S. Department of Labor’s commitment to accessible technology as a basic civil right in America’s workplace. Photo by Christopher Robertson

  • Sax, Lu and Plotin pose for photo with award.

    Deputy Secretary of Labor Christopher Lu (center) receives an award from Caren Sax (left), conference chair, and Sandy Plotin (right), CSUN Center on Disabilities managing director, in recognition of his keynote presentation at the CSUN Conference in San Diego.

  • Four men stand in front of self check in stations with laptops and headphones.

    A streamlined, accessible self check-in process makes it easy for those attending the CSUN Conference to quickly participate in the scheduled sessions and events. Photo by Christopher Robertson

  • Watkins and Cantrell are shown at a 3-D printed white earpiece by a woman.

    Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students William Watkins (center) and Dwayne Cantrell (right), CSUN's associate vice president for student access and support services, experience firsthand how 3-D printing is helping revolutionize assistive technology at the CSUN Conference. Photo by Christopher Robertson

  • Man looks through interactive glasses.

    Visitors to the CSUN Exhibit Hall are able to get up close and personal with all of the latest assistive technology that benefits people of all abilities. Photo by Christopher Robertson

  • People test out interactive glasses at a booth in the Exhibit Hall.

    The CSUN Conference Exhibit Hall makes it possible for all who attend to get interactive with the minds that are on the cutting edge of assistive technology. Photo by Christopher Robertson

  • Exhibitor holds up an electronic tablet in front of a boy and his parents.

    The latest assistive technology at the CSUN Conference is for all ages, from young to old, and can help by educating, making the workplace or home accessible, and assisting in daily living. Photo by Christopher Robertson

  • Crowd gathered waiting for the doors to open in front of the exhibit hall at the CSUN Conference.

    Thousands attend the CSUN Conference and visit the Exhibit Hall, which is free and open to the public to experience the latest in assistive technology for persons with disabilities. Photo by Christopher Robertson

Thousands of people from around the world gathered in San Diego last month to attend the 31st annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference, also known as the “CSUN Conference.”

Attendees explored and learned about the latest assistive technology in more than 350 workshops, with additional demonstrations from more than 130 exhibitors.

Exhibitions in the Great Hall allowed hands-on interaction with the newest assistive technologies, from smartphone applications to 3-D printing technologies, and workshop sessions allowed more in-depth training on specific topics.

“Year after year, the conference is growing,” said Sandy Plotin, managing director of CSUN’s Center on Disabilities, which organizes the conference. “This year was our highest attendance ever, and we are excited to see so many people dedicated to improving inclusiveness with assistive technologies.”

Several interview videos and a handful of session recordings have been made available though Web Able TV, a web-based television channel for people with disabilities that served as the conference’s official webcaster.

“[The CSUN Conference] is really one of the most inspirational events I’ve had the chance to do during my time at the Department of Labor,” U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor Christopher Lu told Web Able TV. “As I look around here, it’s like a who’s who of Silicon Valley. It pleases me to know that so many companies are moving into this space.”

CSUN’s long history of involvement in assisting people with disabilities dates back to 1961, preceding Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. In 1983, university officials created the Center on Disabilities to directly assist students in realizing their academic and career goals. Shortly after, the technology and persons with disabilities conference was launched.

For more information on the Center on Disabilities, go to www.csun.edu/cod.

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