Connect Ability: Are You Up to the Challenge?

New York University’s Ability Lab and AT&T are looking for a few good developers to spur ideas to improve accessibility for people with disabilities. The first Connect Ability tech innovation challenge, which runs through July 26, will award more than $100,000 in prizes to developers of adaptive and assistive technologies, including software as well as wearable technologies.

During the competition, the developers will be asked to solve problems related to sensory, mobility, emotional and communicative/cognitive disabilities as well as create solutions that will impact public policy and society. Competitors will have the help of four people with diverse disabilities, known as exemplars, who will explain their daily challenges:

-- Gus Chalkias – an assistive technology specialist, career counselor and college student who is blind

-- Xian Horn – a teacher, speaker and writer with cerebral palsy

-- Paul Kotler – a lecturer and student with autism

-- Jason DaSilva – a filmmaker with multiple sclerosis who uses a power wheelchair

"AT&T is excited to partner with New York University's Ability Lab on this groundbreaking project to attract innovators from across the world and harness their creativity and skills to create innovative and potentially life-changing solutions," said Marissa Shorenstein, AT&T's New York president, in a news release.

Experts from the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) will serve as advisors for teams of engineers and developers.

"We're looking forward to working with New York University's Ability Lab and AT&T to help bring terrific ideas from concept to reality for people with disabilities," said Michael Brogioli, executive director of RESNA. "Our membership of engineers and assistive technology professionals bring a ‘deep bench’ of expertise and resources to this exciting project, and we can't wait to get started."

Winners of the Connect Ability Challenge will be announced July 26.

For more information or to register, visit

About the Author

Elisha Bury is the editor of The Mobility Project. She can be reached at