Computer lab with disabilities technology is moving house


The Adaptive Technology for Information and Computing Lab moved this week to Room 7-143, just down the hall from Lobby 7 in the main campus area. ATIC will now be next door to a satellite office of the Disabilities Services Office, making it more convenient for students with disabilities to access that office's services as well as the ATIC technology offerings.

The ATIC Lab, which has been in Building 11 next to the Student Services Center for five years, provides computing solutions for MIT students and staff with disabilities. The lab space serves as an alternative computing cluster for students with disabilities who need access to special technologies such as voice recognition, alternative keyboards and mice, screen reading, magnification, Braille translation and embossing, and scan-and-read software. Students who are registered with Disabilities Services can register to use the ATIC lab any time by using a keycard to gain access 24 hours a day.

The lab also provides demonstrations of its technologies to MIT faculty and staff by appointment. The MIT Computer Connection in the basement of the Student Center also demonstrates a subset of ATIC's alternative keyboards and mice, as well as voice recognition products. Both ATIC and the MIT Computer Connection maintain an inventory of keyboards and pointing devices that are available for three-day loans to MIT community members.

The ATIC Lab is staffed by Kathy Cahill, Mary Ziegler and student consultants Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Rich Caloggero also provides consulting on accessibility of web sites as well as blindness-related technologies (screen reading, scan-and-read software and Braille technologies).

ATIC also provides guidance to MIT departments and web developers on how to make their web sites more accessible to people with disabilities. The lab has just hired a part-time web accessibility consultant, Stephani R. Lincoln, who will be providing consulting and solutions for making sites more accessible.

ATIC's new location, which will feature some natural light and more privacy, will be fully accessible to wheelchair users and will have adjustable computer tables, chairs and monitor arms. A new workstation will allow users to sit or stand at a computer, as some people have medical problems that make it impossible for them to sit in a chair all day.

ATIC will soon be announcing plans for an open house, when members of the MIT community can visit the new location and see demonstrations of various kinds of adaptive technologies.


Topics: Computer science and technology, Campus services

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