The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a law enacted in 1990 prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability, is nearing its 25th anniversary. To mark this monumental occasion, AT&T and New York University’s ABILITY Lab has teamed up with the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) to launch the Connect Ability Challenge, a three-month global competition leveraging mobile and wireless technologies to improve the lives of people living with disabilities.

“The Americans with Disabilities Act was landmark legislation aimed at enabling people with disabilities to participate more fully in our society. Twenty-five years later, as advances in technology have allowed us all to connect in ways we never imagined, we believe we can further remove barriers the disability community continues to encounter,” said Marissa Shorenstein, AT&T’s New York State President. “AT&T is excited to partner with New York University’s ABILITY Lab on this groundbreaking project to attract innovators from across the world and harness their creativity and skills to create innovative and potentially life-changing solutions.”

Leading up to the July 26th anniversary of the ADA’s enactment, developers are competing for more than $100,000 in prizes to design software, wearable and other technology solutions aimed to enhance the lives of people with disabilities at work, home and play.

The competition charges developers to solve challenges facing people living with disabilities in four functional categories: people with sensory disabilities, people in need of mobility solutions, people in need of social and emotional solutions and people with communicative and cognitive disabilities.

“The Connect Ability challenge rests on the idea that the developer community has a tremendous opportunity to leverage cutting-edge technology to improve the lives of persons living with disabilities,” said R. Luke DuBois, Associate Professor of Integrated Digital Media at the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering.

Throughout the competition, developers will interact with people with diverse disabilities who will share the challenges they face and help guide the developers to find solutions. AT&T and RESNA will also host a series of workshops to give developers and members of the disability community a way to become more familiar with the challenge, build teams and begin creating solutions.


Winners of the Connect Ability Challenge will be announced July 26th, the 25th Anniversary of the ADA. For more information visit and follow the latest news on Twitter using the hashtag #ConnectAbility.