Overview

Accelerating accessibility

The Howe Innovation Center sits at the intersection of innovation and disability, and is designed to unlock the power of the entrepreneurial and disability communities to create purpose-built solutions for a more accessible world.

Companies in the DisabilityTech space face challenges: access to customers for primary market research and user testing, finding the best investors, and locating places to deploy and test products out in the wild. Perkins can connect real users to real entrepreneurs and technologists, and together, we can solve real accessibility problems.

A boy reads braille on a T3 Talking tablet

Our role

Amplify the lived experience

The practical challenges that our community must navigate daily are not widely understood. We will shine a spotlight on community-sourced top challenges ripe for innovative solutions.

Catalyze innovation

Innovation for people with disabilities, specifically those who are blind or visually impaired, has lagged the broader frontier of new product and service innovation. Our programs will remove friction points for startups, investors, and large corporates looking to move the needle on accessibility .

Connect and convene

The Howe Innovation Center will facilitate partnerships between our key ecosystem players: people with disabilities, startups, investors, research labs, academia, and big companies too. We are focused on helping entrepreneurs ground innovations in true problems while simultaneously removing friction points to get new products and services to market.

A girl with a white cane in a train station holding a small magnifier device to her eye

An ecosystem of accessibility innovation

Now is the time to meet the demand for disability innovation and accessibility.

Entrepreneurs

Together we can solve the most stubborn accessibility problems, in healthcare, assistive technology, and beyond.

People with disabilities

Together we can highlight barriers, and design solutions for true accessibility.

Investors

There is a huge and often overlooked total addressable market for disability innovation and accessibility.

Resources from the front lines of DisabilityTech

This is insight you won’t find anywhere else.

Join our community for access to our free, members-only resource center, where you’ll find exclusive research, community connections and intel on the DisabilityTech market.

Defining DisabilityTech: The Rise of Inclusive Innovation

Our white paper, which draws on analysis from McKinsey Research, defines DisabilityTech – and dives deep into the untapped social and economic potential of the ecosystem.

The DisabilityTech market: accessible data visualizations

This accessible data visualization, created in partnership with Olin College of Engineering and Perkins Access, gives a broad overview of the state of the DisabilityTech market.

Innovations for the visually impaired: perceptual market map

Who are the major players in improving accessibility for folks who are blind and visually impaired? What tech is already out there? And where might there be opportunity to innovate?

Our team

Our team is composed of entrepreneurs, investors, and community builders who are all actively shaping the DisabilityTech market.

  • Headshot of Sandy K. Lacey, Executive Director of Howe Innovation Center

    Sandy K. Lacey

    Executive Director, Howe Innovation Center
    Meet Sandy
  • A photo of a woman smiling.

    Raquel Ronzone

    Senior Manager, Partnerships, Howe Innovation Center
    Meet Raquel
  • Casual, outdoor headshot of Jorge, a young man with dark hair wearing a dark-blue button-down shirt

    Jorge Barron Rivero

    Research and Data Analyst
    Meet Jorge
  • Headshot of Dylan Black

    Dylan Black

    Research and Data Analyst
    Meet Dylan

Advisory group

The Howe Innovation Center Advisory Group is leveraging deep expertise across innovation, community building, and the lived experience to help us develop informed programming that will catalyze the DisabilityTech market.

  • William smiles while holding his white cane.

    William Budding

    Trustee
    Meet William
  • Claire Chang

    Founder & General Partner of igniteXL Ventures
  • Vicky Wu Davis

    Investor and Ecosystem Builder, YouthCITIES
  • Manny Duran

    VC at UM6P Ventures
  • Carina Ho

    Musician, Accessibility Expert at AirBnB
  • Keith Kirkland

    Chief Haptics Officer at WearWorks
  • Charles LeClerq

    CEO at ARxVision
  • Idan Meir

    CEO at Right Hear
  • Charlotte Michailidis

    Founder & CEO, Parenthood Ventures
  • Brittany Palmer

    CEO at Beeyonder
  • Paul Ruvolo

    Educator & Engineer, Olin College of Engineering
  • Devon Sherman

    Ecosystem Builder

Where to find Howe

We’re committed to making connections—within the community, with the media and with the innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, and big thinkers who will help us build a more accessible world. Here’s where you’ll find us.

In the news

Talking Howe Innovation Center, Indexing Accessibility and More with Forbes

Sandy Lacey spoke with Steven Aquino, who covers accessibility and assistive technologies for Forbes, to introduce him to the mission and the motivation behind the Howe Innovation Center.

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“Disability tech startups kill the cynic in me”

With the help of the Howe Innovation Center, TechCrunch’s Anna Heim dives in to understand the opportunities, challenges and full economic potential of the DisabilityTech market.

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NewTV Innovation Showcase: Howe Innovation Center

Sandy Lacey and Jay Sugarman of NewTV discuss the Howe Innovation Center: why the DisabilityTech market needs it, how it’s grown and developed – and where it’s going next.

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TechCrunch cites Howe Innovation Center white paper

Our white paper, “Defining DisabilityTech: The Rise of Inclusive Innovation,” which draws on analysis from McKinsey Research, has been cited in several TechCrunch stories – including articles about two cool DisabilityTech start-ups, Revolve and Accessercise.

Forbes Magazine logo

Forbes cites Howe Innovation Center market map

Our perceptual market map captures the landscape of innovators building products and services for folks who are blind and visually impaired. In a story about AR headset startup Ocutrx, Forbes cited this research.

Want to check it out? Join our community for access to all of our resources.

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Perkins launches Innovation Center

“The Perkins School for the Blind is not new to innovation.” BostInno, the publication that provides “the view from inside” innovation in Boston, covered our launch.

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Access Tech Live: Bridging Gaps in DisabilityTech

Sandy Lacey joined the hosts of Access Tech Live to talk about challenges facing entrepreneurs in DisabilityTech – and Howe Innovation Center’s work to break those barriers.

On the road

People navigating over a globe using wheelchairs, guide dogs, white canes, pushing strollers and walking

#HackDisability: AI for Accessibility

Cambridge, Mass.: February 23 – 25

The Howe Innovation Center and MIT CSAIL are hosting #HackDisability: AI for Accessibility, powered by lead sponsor Amazon. This hackathon will bring together diverse teams of software and hardware engineers, students, product managers, MBAs, designers, and people with the lived experience of having a disability, with the shared goal of developing innovative AI solutions to enhance accessibility for people with disabilities.

Join the Howe Innovation Center community

We are in the early stages of identifying entrepreneurs, angel investors, venture capitalists, accelerators and incubators, universities, and larger companies that are dedicated to creating an accessible and inclusive world for people with disabilities.

Sign up today to be a part of our growing community – you’ll get exclusive access to “Defining DisabilityTech: The Rise of Inclusive Innovation,” a white paper that draws on analysis from McKinsey Research and dives deep into the untapped social and economic potential of the DisabilityTech ecosystem.










Get in touch

We can’t wait to meet you.

Let’s get started.

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Join our community.

Help us accelerate accessibility for people with disabilities.