Speakers (2017)

Chieko Asakawa (Keynote Speaker)

Cheiko has been instrumental in furthering accessibility research and development for three decades. By challenging traditional thinking on how the visually impaired use technology, she has explored solutions to improve Web accessibility and usability for the visually impaired and others with special needs. Series of pioneering technologies generated under Chieko’s leadership significantly contributed in advancing information accessibility, including groundbreaking work in digital Braille and voice Web browser.

Today, Chieko is focusing on advancing cognitive assistant research to help the blind regain information by augmenting missing or weakened abilities in the real world. She is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and IBM Academy of Technology. She was inducted into the Women in Technology International (WITI) Hall of Fame in 2003.

Chieko was appointed to IBM Fellow in 2009, IBM’s most prestigious technical honor. In 2013, the government of Japan awarded the Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon to her. She has been also serving as an IBM Distinguished Service Professor at Carnegie Mellon University since 2014.

Lou Orslene

Lou OrsleneLou Orslene, MPIA, MSW, CPDM, serves as the Project Manager for the Mobile Accommodation Solution, as well as the Co-Director of the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) at West Virginia University’s Center for Disability Inclusion (CDI).

As part of his leadership role at CDI, Lou provides training throughout the U.S., facilitates the strategic planning process, manages strategic partnerships, and works closely with outreach and education staff.

Lou graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with Master’s degrees in Public and International Affairs and Social Work. He also has certifications in Disability Management and Managing Public and Non-profit Organizations. Lou also has an undergraduate degree in Human Resource Management.

Lou is committed to increasing the employability of persons with disabilities. This commitment is continuously deepened through the exploration of the nexus between the needs of employers and abilities of persons with disabilities.

Peter Fay

Peter FayPeter Fay works at IBM Accessibility Research in Cambridge, MA. Currently, Peter is exploring how cognitive systems like IBM Watson and the Internet of Things (IoT) can enable the elderly to safely live at home as long as they are able.

Peter is also leading IBM Accessibility’s Higher Education research initiatives with key research institutions including University of Massachusetts-Boston, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and West Virginia University.

Over his 21 years with IBM, Peter has also worked in IBM Software Group focused on collaboration solutions and in IBM Global Technology Services focused on unified communications. Prior to joining IBM in 1995, Peter worked for a number of software companies in the Boston area.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston College.

Connect with Peter on LinkedIn.

Follow Peter on Twitter: @PeterFay79.

Rébecca Kleinberger

Rébecca is the mother of hedgehogs and a PhD candidate doing research at the MIT Media Lab. Her work mixes science, engineering, design, and art to explore ways to craft experiences for self-reflection and human connection. As part of the Opera of the Future group at the MIT Media Lab, she creates unique experiences to help people connect with themselves and with others. She accomplishes this using approaches that include virtual reality, rapid prototyping, deep learning, real-time digital signal processing, lasers, wearable technologies, and robotics.

Through five years of work on self-reflection technologies, Rebecca has developed unique expertise on the human voice as a means of expression, both to others and within ourselves. Her research spans a wide range of fields, including neurology, human-computer interaction, psychology, cognitive sciences, physics, biology, clinical research, linguistics, communication theory, and assistive
technologies. This broad range of work has enabled her to create tools and experiences that help people discover more about themselves through the uniqueness and expressivity of their own voice.

Rébecca’s work was used for a Financial Times magazine cover and has been shown at a wide range of events and venues, including the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Le Laboratoire in Paris, SIGGRAPH Art exhibition in Los Angeles, “Hacking Consciousness” at Harvard Divinity School, and EMF camp in the UK.

She has collaborated with Microsoft Research UK and the Google Magenta team and has presented her research at many international conferences. Working with Tod Machover’s team, her research has also been used outside of the MIT Media Labs as part of live shows and novel esthetic experiences at Maison Symphonique de Montreal, the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland, and the Winspear Opera House in Dallas.

Rébecca graduated from École National des Arts et Métiers in Paris with a Masters of Mechanical Engineering, and from University College London with a Master of Research in Virtual Environments, Imaging. and Visualization.

She is home-schooled in the art of raising hedgehogs.