CPAC’s Alice Wong visits the President via Robot


As part of the ongoing recognition of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act(ADA), a reception was held at the White House this past July. Among the guests was Alice Wong, MS, a Staff Research Associate at the Community Living Policy Center at the University of California, San Francisco, who has helped shape much of the College of Personal Assistance and Caregiving (CPAC) curricula.

She is also the founder of the Disability Visibility Project. A community partnership with StoryCorps, the project seeks to gather the varying experiences of people with disabilities, and how the ADA has touched them, and record their oral histories.

While the event was attended by various members of the disability community, Ms. Wong’s visit was especially notable as she was present via robot. Beam Pro is a “telepresence robot”, and is similar to video teleconferencing in that it facilitates off-site communication via a video feed by which two parties in separate locales may communicate. But it is also mobile, and by using keyboard arrows Wong was able to move around the room as if she were in the White House with President Obama himself.

According to various sources, Wong was the very first person to attend a White House event using this technology.

Emerging technologies are going to help change the way we help people with disabilities lead better lives in their communities. People like Alice Wong, and the rest of the dedicated DirectCourse team are always monitoring new developments like the Beam Pro robot, and other fascinating developments, and will bring you updates regularly here.

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