Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access

Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access

company_name = Georgia Institute of Technology Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access
company_type = Nonprofit
foundation = 1980
location = Atlanta, Georgia, USA
key_people = Stephen Sprigle, Director
industry = Research and development
Assisitive Technology
Environmental Access
Wheeled Mobility
Work Accommodations
parent = Georgia Institute of Technology
homepage = []

The Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access (CATEA) is a 501(c) non-profit research center of the College of Architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.


490 10th St. NWAtlanta, Georgia, USA 30332


CATEA has four foci: environmental access, wheeled mobility, work accommodations, and barrier-free information and education.


The Center was founded on December 1, 1980 as the Center for Rehabilitative Technology. The effort to create CATEA began during the 1978/1979 school year as a result of sponsored projects conducted by Industrial Design students in the College of Architecture. Initial projects included the creation of toys and playground equipment for children with disabilities, adaptations to wheelchairs, computer adaptations for the blind, designs for bathrooms with adapted controls, and work/play stations for children.

I.L. "Sonny" Kunian

I.L. "Sonny" Kunian graduated from Georgia Tech in 1937. Kunian was extremely active in the Georgia Tech and Atlanta communities after graduation. In 1986, he received the Georgia Tech Alumni Distinguished Service Award. [" [ Alumni Distinguished Service Award Recipients] ." Georgia Tech Alumni Association. Accessed on May 30, 2008.] With the assistance of philanthropists and entrepreneurs such as Atlanta businessman I. L. "Sonny" Kunian, CATEA thrived and expanded its mission. In its first two decades it grew to include expertise in the disciplines of engineering, industrial design, architecture, computer science, rehabilitation counseling, occupational therapy, adult literacy education, orthotics and recreational therapy. By the 1990s, CATEA was an established interdisciplinary research and design center devoted to applications of technology to alleviate problems of human need, providing service, research and education under the auspices of a world class academic institution. [" [ CATEA History] ." Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access. Georgia Institute of Technology. 2008. Accessed on May 30, 2008.]

With the new millennium, CATEA has taken another leap forward, using the best tools of the digital age to reach an ever-expanding number of consumers. Multiple Web resources, teleconferencing and new media production allow Center staff to provide technical assistance and information dissemination across the globe.


The following information is a list of highlights in the history of the Center.

*1978 - Projects for people with disabilities initiated in industrial design by Professor R. Martin.
*1979 - $13,000.00 provided to start up CRT by funding design projects.
*1980 - the Center for Rehabilitation Technology (CRT) formally established by Governor George Busbee, the center develops projects with Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Professor Richard Martin named first Director of CRT.
*1981 - CRT develops the inquiry and referral system known as TechKnowledge.
*1982 - CRT, Inc. becomes a non-profit parallel advocacy group for the Center.
*1983 - President Joseph M. Pettit reviews status of the CRT Advisory Committee (CRT, Inc.).
*1985 - Richard Martin resigns as Director, James Toler is named Director.
*1986 - CRT forms the Computer Access Laboratory.
*1987 - CRT is permanently funded as a line-item "B" budget center by the Georgia legislature, CRT budget reaches in excess of $500,000.00.
*1989 - CRT and CRT, Inc. cooperate in the development of the Georgia State Literacy Project.
*1990 - The Division of Rehabilitation Services issues first Technology Access Program contract for service in 5 of 8 districts to a minimum of 350 individuals per year
*1991 - Information Technology Training joins CRT from Goodwill Industries; Literacy program initiated through the Department of Technical and Adult Education (DTAE) to do uplink/downlink TV instruction for low-level readers.
*1993 - James Toler resigns as Director and Carol Whitescarver is named Interim Director, CRT is divided into units with unit leaders reflecting the disciplinary disposition of the center.
*1995 - CRT and CRT, Inc. form AbleProfessional fee-for-service in collaboration with CRT to assist the private sector with ADA; Joseph A. Koncelik named Director, Carol Whitescarver is named Associate Director.
*1996 - Development of the American New Reading Disc in cooperation with CRT, Inc.; Development of literacy supplemental training program for Literacy Action Inc.
*1997 - Integration of SCM/SCMI CAD/CAM Automated Pre-production laboratory at CRT; Termination of the Georgia Tech Satellite Literacy Program; Inauguration of the Life Long Learning Network (LLN) Program.
*1998 - Launching of the LLN Mobile Unit "Road Scholar" for training DTAE teachers; Participation in the "Unlimited by Design" Exhibition at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum; Development of the DeCoMM – Disabilities matrix project in collaboration with CRT, Inc.; an archival research project that is the precursor to the foundation of the database for the web site:;
*1999 -Inauguration of the name change for the center to The Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access (CATEA); First NIDRR Collaborative project Tech Connections with United Cerebral Palsy; Opening of the Advanced Wood Products Laboratory Marietta Street location; First independent grant with NIDRR:, a web site on assistive technology for consumers; The center becomes part of a consortium within the Institute securing membership in the Civilian American and European Surface Anthropometry Resource project (CAESAR), an international data gathering project on body measurement; CRT hosts CAESAR data collection to develop the database on body measurement among the African American population; Severance of the ties to CRT, Inc.; the non-profit leaves the Institute;
*2000 - CATEA awarded the largest grant (Cooperative Agreement) in the history of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), $7,500,000.00 over five years for the establishment of the Information Technology Technical Assistance and Training Center(ITTATC); CATEA forms collaboration with the Emory Hospital System to jointly develop an Advanced Assessment Technology Laboratory (AATL) to provide assessments of individuals with disabilities and matches to appropriate assistive technologies; CATEA develops a cooperative agreement with Hamamatsu Photonics K.K. for the evaluation of their photo-optical scanner to assess its use in surface anthropometry;
*2001 - CATEA develops a Community Technology Center grant in collaboration with Macon County, Georgia to "close the digital divide" among rural Georgians; The Southeast Region Disability Business and Technical Assistance Center or SEDBTAC joins with CATEA and successfully recompetes for a $4,100,000.00 renewal of its grant with NIDRR;
*2002 - CATEA budget climbs to $4,500,000.00 – the largest in its history with 31 full-time staff and 25 students and faculty involved in its programs and projects; Joseph A. Koncelik announces his retirement as Director of the center; is completed, October 30, 2002; Dr. Stephen Sprigle named new Director.

External Resources

* [ CATEA Website]
* [http://www.gatech.edy Georgia Institute of Technology]
* [ GRADE Project]
* [ Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education (DTAE)]
* [ Literacy Action, Inc.]
* [] - database of assistive technology
* [ SciTrain Project] - free training courses for teachers in math and science of students with disabilities


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