ATIA stands for the Assistive Technology Industry Association, a collection of engineers, manufacturers, and designers who serve the world by developing solutions to problems through assistive technology. Assistive technology consists of anything that can aid those with disabilities in their daily lives, whether it is a high tech communication device, or a simple switch that open doors. Every year, ATIA hosts a conference so that people from all over the world can gather to demonstrate, teach, and learn about new advances in AT. The 4-day conference consists of various speaker sessions, exhibitions for AT vendors and companies, a free-for-all discussion and learning session called EdCamp, and the MakerDay, an event dedicated for makers to present their projects to the community.
The Penn Robotics Team was invited to attend ATIA 2018 in order to present our project Mission to Engineer at a speaker session, alongside ATMaker founder Bill Binko, and during the MakerDay. We arrived in Orlando on January 31th and immediately hit the exhibit hall where we were able to meet some of the most prestigious AT providers and witness soon-to-be released technology. The next day, Italia Fields’ presentation focused on cost-effective AT solutions through local makers such as Penn Robotics. On Saturday, Italia, David Li, and Olivia Adam set up a presentation booth, brought an outreach robot, and delivered Mission to Engineer in depth at the MakerDay. Our project garnered the attention of many of the attendees, some noting that this year’s conference was one of the most energetic and memorable conference they have seen. Overall, over 200 individuals were directly impacted by our attendance at ATIA.