Marking the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, RESNA Executive Director Michael Brogioli joined Senator Charles Schumer, AT&T, and New York University’s ABILITY lab on Monday, July 27 in New York City to award more than $100,000 to nine high-tech solutions in the culmination of the Connect Ability Challenge. The three month challenge was designed to spur innovation for people with physical, social, emotional and cognitive disabilities. Pictured left are Neil Giacobbi, AT&T; Anita Perr, NYU Ability Lab; Victor Calise, New York City Mayor's Office; and Michael Brogioli.
63 software, wearable and other technology solutions aimed at enhancing the lives of people with disabilities were submitted by developers from 16 states and 15 countries. The $25,000 grand prize went to Kinesic Mouse, a software solution that uses a 3D camera to detect facial expressions and head rotations, allowing users to operate their PCs hands-free.
Brogioli announced the winner of the "People’s Choice" award for the technology solution that received the most number of votes from the public. The award went to LOLA, which stands for "Laugh Out Loud Aid." It is a funny digital tool that sends the user reminders about social and living skills, such as remembering to say "please" and "thank you." LOLA is the brainchild of Seth Truman, a student with Asperger’s, and his dad, Greg Truman. It was developed by TechKidsUnlimited.org, a nonprofit that teaches kids how to be producers of culture.
“LOLA exemplifies what RESNA is all about - technology created by and with the input of people with disabilities of all ages,” explained Michael Brogioli, RESNA Executive Director. “It’s funny and charming, and it’s also important: LOLA will help people utilize social skills that are vital for daily living. We’re delighted it won the People’s Choice Award, and congratulate Seth and TechKidsUnlimited.org on winning this prize.”
The "People's Choice" award included $2,500 in prize money. In addition, LOLA also won $10,000 as "Best Social/Emotional Solution."