CATEA is a multidisciplinary research center devoted to enhancing the lives of people with all levels of ability. Rather than focusing on disability, seeing people as "disabled," we believe that the limitations of current technologies and the design of the built environment account for an individual's inability to perform activities and participate in society. We seek to minimize those limitations through applied research and the development of new assistive and universally designed technologies

CATEA's research interests fall under three laboratories:

  • The Enabling Environments Lab, focusing on the design of inclusive environments and products to improve health and function;
  • The Assistive Technology Lab, focusing on accommodations and modifications for people with disabilities and seniors at home, at work, and at school;
  • The Accessible Information and Communications Technology Lab, focusing on the use of both inclusive design and assistive technologies to provide access to electronic and print media and devices.

Recent projects have focused on: helping developing resources to help employers make accommodation decisions, promoting accessible STEM education, understanding home modification needs among Georgia's seniors, developing grab bar accessibility guidelines for frail elders, and a variety of mobile applications to promote health and daily activities. CATEA also leads a multi-disciplinary team of researchers in TechSAge, a national Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center to support people with chronic conditions and long-term impairments who are at risk of disability or increased disability due to comorbid age-related losses.

Under the direction of Professor Jon Sanford, M.Arch., CATEA has a unique staff with diverse talents from many different types professions, including architecture, industrial design, rehabilitation engineering and science, mechanical engineering, human computer interaction, occupational therapy, gerontology, psychology and public health. CATEA also brings together a wide range of disciplines from the College of Design and the broader Georgia Tech community, including Georgia Tech's Institute for People and Technology (IPAT) and the Aware Home Research Initiative; as well as external partners from Georgia State, Emory University, Syracuse University, the Shepherd Center, the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs, State University of New York at Buffalo, and the University of Georgia.

CATEA staff teach courses in universal design and accessible web design in the College of Design's Industrial Design and Architecture programs and serve as advisors to numerous graduate students on their dissertation and thesis projects. CATEA research also provides research opportunities and support for a number of graduate students through a variety of research assistantships.