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RIT invests in technology improvements for the disabled

Fifteen teams of students from the Rochester Institute of Technology, led by faculty, will develop technologies for assisting people with disabilities in the region.

RIT put up $100,000 in seed funding for the Effective Access Technology program.

Projects range from a wheel chair that allows the user to move around while they're standing, to technology that enables hands-free drawing that's controlled instead by voice or facial gesture.

RIT's vice president for research, Ryne Raffaelle, says it's unacceptable that people with different abilities are often unable to fully participate in society.

"In terms of the need for better technological solutions, I think it's paramount," he says. "When you improve access for persons of all abilities, everyone benefits."

The University is partnering with the Al Sigl Community of Agencies, which is heavily involved in helping children and adults in the upstate area who have special needs.

Last year RIT hosted more than 70 research projects in the access technology arena, supported by  more than $10 million in outside funding.

WXXI/Finger Lakes Reporter for the Innovation Trail