AdapT Lab (Research in Adaptive Technologies)
The mission of the AdapT Lab is to utilize technology to navigate and structure environments to achieve “barrier-free-living.” Past projects include an app that senses communication beacons to provide guidance information, and a device for tapping power from powered wheelchairs for other purposes. The AdapT Lab aims to be a resource for the disabilities community for using technology to remove barriers to full participation in work, in play, and everything in between.
Current Projects are focused on using proximity beacons to provide relevant information for one’s immediate surroundings, and to streamline accessible technologies, such as elevator calls and automatic door openers.
Justin L. Blessinger, Ph.D. (PI) brings a wealth of experience in accessibility issues, development, and communication. A native of northeastern Montana, he is the Director of the DSU AdapT Lab for Accessible Technology, he is responsible for the successful development of a beta-version of the “Goto” navigation-assistance app we plan to deploy. He is certified in Accessible Information Technology by EASI (Equal Access to Software and Information) via University of Southern Maine. He is one of 5 founding members of the DSU Barrier-Free Learning Committee, established to create a proactive forum for innovative solutions to accessibility needs and to advocate on behalf of disabled students. He is also the author of a software plug-in for Microsoft Word that improves feedback of writing. In collaboration with Dr. Olson, he has recently created a series of rubrics that digitally submit assessment data needed for accreditation and for internal assessment to a cloud-hosted database, featured at the Higher Learning Commission conference. He is equipped with the electrical, mechanical, and machining know-how common to those raised on remote ranches. An English Professor with additional degrees in education and theology, he has a record of working well with varied groups to accomplish collective goals.
Christopher J. Olson, Ph.D. (Co-PI) Professor Olson is an Associate Professor and Undergraduate Coordinator of the College of Business and Information Systems at Dakota State University. He has extensive expertise in database coding and accessibility. He has published three articles on accessibility in Higher education, and his work has been featured at regional and national conferences. He has also developed online tools to check accessibility for faculty teaching materials. Dr. Olson is affected by tetraplegia, which is a form of quadriplegia, and thus brings essential first-hand experience in using technology to solve accessibility problems on our campus and in our region. He received gubernatorial appointment to the South Dakota Spinal Cord and Traumatic Brain Injury Research Council and was similarly appointed to the South Dakota Board of Vocational Rehabilitation.