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Current Projects

The R2D2 Center serves as a highly collaborative and interdisciplinary research and training center targeting local, regional, and national impact. The R2D2 Center staff support many projects and activities in the area of disability related research and design. In some cases, the R2D2 Center administers projects and collaborates with external partners and experts. In other cases, the R2D2 Center sub-contracts work from other universities and agencies who host the overall activity.

Hestia Logo

HESTIA: Home Evaluation with a Strategic Triangulating Integrative Approach
The HESTIA project is creating a technology-based assessment and documentation tool for home evaluations of individuals with disabilities and older adults aging in place. The HESTIA home assessment system implements the Person Environment Occupation model (PEO) to assess all aspects of a persons' life within their home. HESTIA leverages handheld computing devices to allow home evaluators a seamless interface between data entry formats, including intelligent measurement tools. HESTIA will allow practitioners to optimize treatment plans for patients to continue to live independently in their homes.


Distance Education Technology Advancement Center

Accessibility of Distance Learning: An R2D2 Center project for the Distance Education Technology Advancement Center
The Distance Education and Technological Advancement (DETA) Research Center is an NIH funded grant hosted at UWM focusing on fostering student access and success for all students, especially those from underrepresented groups, in online and blended coursework. As a primary research partner, the R2D2 Center is responsible for ensuring that assessment tools and research instrumentation developed through this grant include ALL students, especially those with disabilities. Additionally, the R2D2 Center is developing specific tools that assess the accessibility of distance education coursework.


BIFOCAL Project (2005 - present)
The BIFOCAL Project studies the effects of bifocal usage on falling. The project will gather functional, vision and fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) data to better understand how bifocal eyewear contributes to falls and the process by which the brain adapts to visual information as received through multifocal lenses. Collaborators include St. Marys Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin and Prism Clinical Imaging/the Medical College of Wisconsin who partner with the R2D2 Center in data collection and analyses. The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) funds the three-year project.
BIFOCAL Project website

Logo for RERC on Technology for Pediatric Orthopaedic Disabilities

RERC on Technology for Pediatric Orthopaedic Disabilities

R4: Advanced mobility modeling to improve function and longer-term transitional care of children with orthopedic disabilities - Co-PI Brooke Slavens
This project employs advanced modeling of the upper and lower extremities to improve function and longer-term transitional care of children with myelomeningocele, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease) and planovalgus foot deformities. R4 will determine the relationship among joint forces, assistive devices, ankle arthroreisis and longer-term tissue level effects as they relate to pain and function.

Training and Dissemination - PI Roger O Smith
Training and dissemination are vital components of this grant. Activities include online training, distribution of publications, educational courses, conference workshops, symposia and presentations, newsletters, accessible registries, and state-of-the-art information for clinicians, parents, participants, other health care professionals and researchers

Tech4POD website

Logo for Access Ratings for Buildings

Access Ratings for Buildings Project
The Access Ratings for Buildings Project is developing an accessible mobile data collection and reporting system for building accessibility information.

More Access Ratings for Buildings information

Logo for the Evidence-based Technology Integration (ETI) Training program

Evidence-based Technology Integration (ETI) Training Program
The Evidence-based Technology Integration (ETI) Training Program, built on the new Assistive Technology and Accessible Design graduate certificate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Department of Occupational Science and Technology, provides training support for students and professionals interested in interdisciplinary training in pediatric assistive technology.  The program includes three funded program levels, including Level 1 introductory training with a survey course (OCCTHPY 620 Introduction to Assistive and Rehabilitation Technology), Level 2 advanced training with completion of the ATAD graduate certificate (includes project), and Level 3 leadership training with a community partner affiliation in pediatric assistive technology.  Training scholarships are being offered through January of 2015, and at least 75 students will receive foundational training in assistive technology and accessible design for pediatric populations over the course of the ETI training grant (2012-2016).
ETI website

Logo for the TechSpec program

TechSpec Program
This Technology Specialization Program (TechSpec), built on the new Assistive Technology and Accessible Design graduate certificate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Department of Occupational Science and Technology, provides training support for vocational rehabilitation professionals to receive intensive interdisciplinary training in rehabilitation technology with emphasis on outcomes and the integration of universal design. In partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Stout, the program includes the certification of participants in three sequential cohort groups of eight, following application and participant acceptance to the program. The first class started in January of 2011, with the second cohort starting in January of 2013, and the third cohort starting in January of 2015. An additional 250 rehabilitation professionals will receive foundational training in assistive technology and accessible design over the course of the project.
TechSpec website

UDI Teach Logo

The UD I TEACH Project (2008 - present)
The UD ITEACH Project (Universal Design Infusion of Technology and Evaluation for Accessible Campuses of Higher Education), a demonstration project funded largely by the U.S. Office of Secondary Education to Ensure a Quality Higher Education for Students with Disabilities, promotes improved accessibility of postsecondary campuses through universal design in education (UDE). UD ITEACH is implementing multiple strategies to improve the accessibility of higher education campuses and technology for students with disabilities. Key activities include the development and dissemination of information, tools and resources concerning UDE strategies for the classroom; regarding accessibility and usability issues in existing and emerging educational technologies; on the topic of institutionalizing campus-wide UD interventions to impact policies and personnel; and about research and measurement of the impact of UDE. Interdisciplinary collaboration with state-wide and national partners brings a broader perspective and expertise in pedagogy, disability, and technology in all areas of higher education. Outreach through presentations and an accessible website with social networking features is conducted on a national and international level.
More UD-I TEACH information

ACCESS-ed Project

ACCESS-ed Project (2005 - present)
The ACCESS-ed Project (Accessible Campus Climate Environment Support Systems for Education) is designed to develop and test a process that delivers low-cost universal design instructional environments to higher education campuses nation-wide. The three-year project is funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Postsecondary Education. The R2D2 Center hosts the project. Collaborators include the UW-System, as well as state-wide and national partners, who bring to the project a broad perspective and expertise in universal design, assistive technology, and higher education.
ACCESS-ed Project website

ATOMS Project logo

ATOMS Project (2001 - present)
The Assistive Technology Outcomes Measurement System (ATOMS) Project is a five year assistive technology outcomes and impacts project funded in part by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) of the U.S. Department of Education. The ATOMS Project resides in the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) program. UW-Milwaukee hosts the ATOMS Project, collaborating with a strong national set of partners, representing various areas of assistive technology service and outcomes measurement.
ATOMS Project website

RERC on AMI logo

RERC-AMI R3 Research Project (2002 - present) [sub-contract]
Marquette University hosts the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Accessible Medical Instrumentation. The R2D2 Center provides work on the Research Project R3, investigating accessibility measurement of medical instruments and the accessibility of assistive technologies.
RERC-AMI R3 site (R2D2 Center)
RERC-AMI website(Marquette University)

the Milwaukee Idea logo

Community Design Solutions (2001 - present) [sub-contract]
The Milwaukee Idea focuses UWM's initiative to develop strong community-university partnerships. Community Design Solutions (CDS), previously known as "Campus Design Solutions," focuses on initiatives that investigate and develop design solutions in the area of the environment, primarily related to architecture. The R2D2 Center contributes expertise in universal design, accessibility, and assistive technology through teaming on the Milwaukee Idea Home (MIH), consulting on campus accessibility issues, and instruction.
R2D2's CDS information, R2D2's MIH information , Community Design Solutions, Milwaukee Idea

The Milwaukee Idea Home

The Milwaukee Idea Home
The Milwaukee Idea home (MIH) was completed in 2004 and is a single family home in the Milwaukee area with a unique design focus. MIH's range of objectives includes affordability, conservation, and accessibility. IndependenceFirst currently owns MIH and was instrumental in making the home a reality. However, development and construction was a collaborative effort between UWM's School of Architecture and Urban Planning, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewerage District, We Energies, IndependenceFirst, and UWM Department of Occupational Therapy's R2D2 Center. Funding and in kind support for the project was provided by numerous agencies from South Eastern Wisconsin and from The State.
R2D2's MIH information

The Housing Plus logo

Housing Plus
Housing Plus is a program helps low-income elderly or disabled residents within nine Milwaukee area neighborhoods remain safely living in their home. The Housing Plus team is composed of UWM occupational therapists, a project contractor and a project coordinator from Rebuilding Together Greater Milwaukee.
R2D2's Housing Plus information

Got-it? project logo

Got-it? Project
The Got-it? Project is designed to develop and test a prototype web-based data collection and reporting system that will gather and provide consumer feedback on different assistive technology products. Information related to product performance of different types of bathroom safety assistive technologies is the focus of this accessible prototype. This one-year project is funded by the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee's Research Growth Initiative (RGI). The R2D2 Center hosts the project.
More Got-it? information
Got-it? prototype website


Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Enhancing the Functional and Employment Outcomes in Individuals who Experience a Stroke

Development of a Return-to-Work Vocational Assessment Using Virtual Reality Technology and Navigation/Manipulation Interfaces
This project will develop a rich but compact vocational assessment package that is designed specifically to pro-vide a global assessment in a confined area for stroke survivors whose short- or long-term goal is to return to work, and to assess the test-retest reliability, concurrent validity, construct validity, and predictive validity of the developed assessment by looking at the effectiveness of a test in predicting a stroke survivor’s return-to-work performance.


NIH Toolbox for Assessment of Neurological and Behavioral Function (Sub-Contract)
This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health. The Contractor shall assist in the development of the NIH Toolbox for Assessment of Neurological and Behavioral Function. This toolbox is to provide investigators with a brief, but comprehensive, measurement tool for assessment of cognitive, emotional, sensory and motor function of participants in large cohort studies such as epidemiological studies, clinical studies, or clinical trials.


Computerized Adaptive Test (CAT) Generated Outcomes in Rehabilitation
As a medical rehabilitation partner providing patient evaluation tools and aggregate data management services that improve stakeholder value and standardize industry communication about effectiveness of care, FOTO provides patient-reported outcomes used in medical research, clinical practice and payment policies. We assess practicality of using a computerized adaptive test in routine clinical practice, perform a psychometric evaluation of content range coverage and test precision, and assess known group construct validity, sensitivity to change and responsiveness. To enhance the clinical interpretation of CAT generated outcomes, we investigated four approaches to clinically meaningful interpretations of outcomes data: a) 95% confidence interval for each score estimate, b) percentile rank of FS scores, c) responsiveness, and d) functional staging.


Development of a Quantitative Spasticity Measure for Routine Clinical Practice
The aims of this project are to: (1) develop a reliable, easy to use, quantitative spasticity measurement device that is portable, cost efficient, and suitable for use in routine clinical practice, (2) validate the kinematic measurements of the device, and (3) perform a pilot study to determine the device’s measurement repeatability potential and to compare the inter-rater reliability of the device and the modified Ashworth Scale.


An EEG Triggered Robotic Stroke Rehabilitation Device
We propose to develop a neurological feedback device, which integrates EEG-BCI with an ArmeoSpring arm exoskeleton to evaluate the efficacy of neurologically controlled robotic stroke therapy. The result of this effort will be a unique platform to allow a stroke patient to directly control the activation of their rehabilitation therapy.

Previous Projects

Individual Accommodations Model (University of Kansas Collaboration)
Project IMPACT (Integrated Multi-Perspective Access to Campus Technology)
Project OATS - SFA-AT (Wisconsin CESA #1 Collaboration)
SHARP (The Senior Home Assessment and Repair Program)