Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access

About Us

Researchers measuring ear height of a test subject

We Focus on Possibilities and Not 'Disabilities'

CATEA, the Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access, is a multidisciplinary research center devoted to enhancing the lives of people with all levels of ability. Rather than focusing on disability, seeing people as "disabled," we believe that the limitations of current technologies and the design of the built environment account for an individual’s inability to perform activities and participate in society. We seek to minimize those limitations through applied research and the development of assistive and universally designed technologies.

CATEA’s research interests fall under four laboratories:

  • Accessible Education Lab, focusing on how inclusive designs and assistive technology can make education more accessible to students with disabilities.
  • Accessible Workplace Lab, focusing on new workplace technologies and strategies that maximize independence and participation of people with disabilities in the workplace.
  • Enabling Environments Lab, focusing on identifying barriers to participation of people with and without functional limitations and developing enabling designs and technologies to overcome those barriers.
  • Assistive Technology Evaluation Lab, focusing on accommodations and modifications for people with disabilities and seniors at home, at work, and at school.

Recent projects have focused on developing resources to help employers make accommodation decisions; promoting accessible STEM education; understanding home modification needs among Georgia’s seniors; developing grab bar accessibility guidelines for frail elders; and a variety of mobile applications to promote health and daily activities.

CATEA also leads a multidisciplinary team of researchers in TechSAge, a national Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center, to support people with chronic conditions and long-term impairments who are at risk of disability or increased disability due to additional age-related losses.

Under the direction of Jon Sanford, CATEA has a unique staff with diverse talents from many different professions, including architecture, industrial design, rehabilitation engineering and science, mechanical engineering, human computer interaction, occupational therapy, gerontology, psychology, and public health.

Get to Know Us

Who We Are

Who We AreLearn More about Who We Are

CATEA is a multidisciplinary team of more than 20 faculty, staff, and grad students working to enhance the lives of people with all levels of ability.

Our Story

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CATEA grew out of a series of design projects in the late 1970s that were undertaken by Georgia Tech industrial design students and local disability groups.

Our Network

PartnersLearn More about Our Network

CATEA has a vast network across the Georgia Tech campus, academic and clinical partners in Atlanta, and state, governmental, and nonprofit entities.

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