About XR Access
XR Access is a research consortium based at Cornell Tech, the New York City campus of Cornell University. It was founded in 2019 by Prof. Shiri Azenkot of Cornell Tech and Larry Goldberg, the former head of accessibility at Verizon Media.
XR Access fosters and leads a community that engages, connects, and influences the field of XR, in order to build and share knowledge, skills, tools, user experiences, and leading practices to make XR inclusive of all, regardless of abilities.
To modernize, innovate, and expand XR technologies, products, content and assistive technologies by promoting inclusive design in a diverse community that connects stakeholders, catalyzes shared and sustained action, and provides valuable, informative resources.
Inclusive design and accessibility become an unremarkable part of all XR creation, experience and use through features such as multimodal inputs/outputs, accessibility of content and multiple means of interaction.
Resources on XR accessibility are widespread wherever XR technologies are created, and updated frequently with the latest findings from research.
People with cognitive, physical/mobility, and sensory disabilities are integral to shaping the future by creating, testing, and providing feedback on XR technology products and content experiences.
Facets of intersectionality are emphasized and explored in XR Accessibility, including diverse traits such as abilities, age, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, nationality, gender identity, and socio-economic status.
Our Focus is efficient and useful for both present and future environments and outcomes. We are evidence-based – pairing creators with users to define needs, co-design and user-test solutions.
Our Approach is to welcome, enable, and empower diverse involvement and inclusive engagement. We are user-centered (on needs of people with cognitive, physical/mobility, and sensory disabilities). We are nimble and adaptable to changing needs of the XR business and technology community.
Our Style is collaborative, catalytic, and connected.
Shiri Azenkot, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Information Science, Cornell Tech, Cornell University
Professor Azenkot is an expert in accessibility, with a focus on emerging technologies like augmented and virtual reality. In addition to her role at XR Access, she directs the Enhancing Ability Lab, which conducts world-renowned accessibility research.
Head of Community & Outreach
Design & accessibility consultant, emerging technologies
Dylan Fox is XR Access’ Head of Community and Outreach, responsible for empowering the XR Access workstreams and spreading the importance of XR accessibility to the public. An accomplished speaker, he has given lectures on accessibility and ethics to campuses and conferences throughout the country. He has also published research at UC Berkeley on uses of augmented reality for people with low vision, and sits on the W3C Immersive Captions community group, the Metaverse Standards Forum, and IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Extended Reality.
Bill Curtis-Davidson is a Strategic Advisor at the XR Access Initiative. A Senior Specialist for Cadmus Group, Bill Curtis-Davidson is also serves as Co-Director of the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT), a policy initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. Bill is a trusted advisor who advocates for disability inclusion and accessibility in support of numerous public and private sector efforts to develop accessibility standards, guidelines, and best practices.
Coordinators & Workstream Leads
Program and Communications Intern
We thank the following experts in XR and accessibility who contributed to our strategy and have advised us through the years.
Larry recently retired as Head of Accessibility at Yahoo!, where he directed a dedicated team of accessibility professionals and coordinated with thousands of designers and developers to ensure that Yahoo’s many products, services and media offerings are as accessible as possible for people with disabilities. Larry previously worked at WGBH Boston, where he founded and directed its National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) and where he was directly involved in such ground-breaking legislation and the FCC’s regulations governing accessible media and technology.
Elizabeth Hyman is President and Chief Executive Officer of the XR Association (XRA), the trade association promoting the dynamic global growth of the XR industry. Hyman brings more than two decades of experience in the worlds of government, policy, and technology.
As the founder and director of Open Inclusion, Christine has huge expertise in inclusive research, design and innovation. She contributed her time and expertise to inform XR Access’ 2020+ strategy and led the Accessible Design of XR team on the Inclusive Immersive Innovation Canvas project that paved the way for an organized approach to accessible 3D innovation in enterprise.
As a Research Initiative Coordinator at Cornell Tech, Jessie assisted XR Access with operations, memberships, communications, and more between 2019 and 2022.
Regine is a user experience designer, Industry Assistant Professor at NYU, and international public speaker. Regine’s areas of research focus are digital accessibility, inclusive design and immersive experiences. She is faculty with the Integrated Digital Media department and is faculty of NYU’s Ability project, and is the author of ‘Inclusive Design for a Digital World: Designing with Accessibility in Mind’ (Design Thinking) .
Joel has over 20 years of experience in technology design, development, and management. He currently works for Booz Allen Hamilton as a Technology Specialist and AR Product Manager, where he focuses on immersive technologies like augmented and mixed reality and devices like the Microsoft HoloLens and Oculus Quest.
As a campus of Cornell University, Cornell Tech is a world leader in computer and information sciences. Unlike other academic institutions, Cornell Tech was established with a mission for real world impact. Our students and researchers tackle meaningful challenges with feedback from professors and industry leaders in the broader New York City community. We’re committed to translating research findings into technologies and products that solve real world problems.
PEAT is a multi-faceted initiative to foster collaboration and action around accessible technology in the workplace. Guided by a consortium of policy and technology leaders, PEAT works to help employers, IT companies, and others to understand why it pays to build and buy accessible technology, and how to do so. PEAT is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)
Meta builds technologies that help people connect, find communities and grow businesses. A long time supporter of XR Access, they continue to push forward on supporting accessibility and using VR for good.
Open Inclusion is an inclusive research and solutions consultancy based in the UK. They help businesses understand and access the market segments they may otherwise be missing, especially those with access needs such as people with permanent, temporary or situational impairments or of advanced age. Learn more at openinclusion.com
The XR Association (XRA) is the trade association promoting the dynamic global growth of the XR industry, which includes virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed-reality, and future immersive technology. XRA is leading the way for the responsible development and adoption of XR by convening stakeholders, developing best practices and research, and advocating on behalf of our members and the greater XR industry.
Teach Access is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization collaborating with education, industry, and disability advocacy organizations to address the critical need to enhance students’ understanding of digital accessibility as they learn to design, develop, and build new technologies with the needs of people with disabilities in mind. Teach Access envisions a fully accessible future in which students enter the workforce with knowledge of the needs of people with disabilities and skills in the principles of accessible design and development, such that technology products and services are born accessible.
Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers made history by training capuchin monkeys to provide daily in-home assistance to people living with spinal cord injury or other mobility impairments. Now, they are transitioning into modern technologies, including robotic arms, exoskeletons, adaptive wheelchairs, and virtual and augmented reality, to make a difference in the lives of those they support.
NYU Ability Project
The NYU Ability Project is an interdisciplinary research space dedicated to the intersection between disability and technology. It supports research in client-centered, assistive technology and adaptive design for people with disabilities, and fosters collaboration between individuals with disabilities and engineers, designers, educators, artists, occupational and physical therapists and speech language pathologists.