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Envisioning the Future of Human-Technology Partnerships Conference 2018

Autism, Innovation & the Workforce: Envisioning the Future of Human-Technology Partnerships
Thursday, November 29, 2018 • 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Hilton Garden Inn Vanderbilt, Nashville, Tennessee
Supported in part by the National Science Foundation’s Human-Technology Frontiers program.

Join us for a day of sharing, learning, and exploring as we showcase technologies and innovations designed to help people on the autism spectrum develop their strengths, find meaningful employment, and succeed in the workplace.


  • Register at this link
  • To reserve a room at a special rate at the Hilton Garden Inn, use this link.
  • Please see the draft meeting agenda below.
  • Join and/or like us on Facebook!



This conference is for innovators and practitioners who are developing, planning, or commercializing technologies that advance employment opportunities for individuals with autism. We also welcome educators, students, self-advocates, community organizations, and family members at a discounted rate to learn about and experience these emerging technologies.

Participants who bring demos of their technologies will have the opportunity for short presentations to promote their technology and have the opportunity to exhibit their demos throughout the day. Those selected to demo/exhibit their technologies will have up to two registrations waived.

In addition, Dr. Temple Grandin, a celebrated autism self-advocate, will be our keynote speaker. In addition to participating in this conference, she will also deliver a capstone lecture at Vanderbilt University’s Langford Auditorium at 6:30 p.m. Participants in the conference have the option to reserve seats as part of registration.



The centerpiece of the conference will be technology showcases, featuring innovations for adults on the spectrum seeking/maintaining meaningful employment. The context for the meeting is a model employment pipeline — which we call the Nashville Model — that seeks to embed helpful human-technology partnerships into the journey toward employment for people on the autism spectrum.

Relevant technologies may include, but are not limited to: novel measures of individual abilities and strengths relevant to work; virtual or augmented reality based approaches to developing social skills and other skills relevant to gaining and maintaining employment; tech-based delivery of trainings for individuals and/or organizations; immersive learning environments; etc. Examples from Vanderbilt that will be showcased include a driving simulator with eye-tracking capabilities to help autistic teens and adults become ready for on-the-road driving instruction, online games to develop collaborative work skills, and mobile app versions of new visuo-spatial tests to measure autistic “visual thinking” strengths.

We are actively seeking demonstrations of prototypes and/or technology still in the Research & Development phase or else early in the commercialization stage. We are not soliciting requests for exhibitors marketing mature products.

As part of the registration process, potential exhibitors may submit a request for a registration waiver. Those selected to demo/exhibit their technologies will have up to two registrations waived. Exhibitors are encouraged to arrive the day before the meeting in order to have time early in the morning of the conference for demo setup.



Time What Who
8:00am Tech demo exhibits setup – coffee available
9:00am Welcoming remarks – Brief introduction to Nashville Model employment pipeline concept and the role of human-technology solutions
9:30am Exhibitor “promos” – Round 1 A first set of exhibitors take a few mins each to promo their technology
10:00am Open time visiting Round 1 tech demo exhibits – coffee available
11:00am Exhibitor “promos” – Round 2 Second set of exhibitors take a few mins each to promo their technology
11:30am Lunch with keynote talk + short short break Temple Grandin


Conference photo

Open time visiting Round 2 tech demo exhibits – coffee available

2:00pm Exhibitor “promos” – Round 3 Third set of exhibitors take a few mins each to promo their technology
2:30pm Self-advocates panel discussion on technologies to support autism at work
3:45pm Open time visiting Round 3 tech demo exhibits – coffee available
4:45pm Wrap up
Until 6pm Exhibits breakdown
6:30pm Temple Grandin public lecture Student Life Center Ballroom

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. BCS-1744386. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.