You can't talk about accessibility without talking about diversity

As society becomes more accepting, tech for the disabled has become more visible at CES.

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    Over the past few years, we've been seeing more and more products at CES meant to assist the elderly and disabled. In fact, last year was the first year we added an accessibility category to the official Best of CES awards -- and the finalists in that category were indeed some of our favorite things we saw at the show. This year was no exception, with four finalists in the accessibility category, and a whole bunch of other products we didn't have room for on our shortlist.

    When and how did accessibility tech come to be so prominent at the world's biggest consumer-tech show? And where is the technology headed from here? To help make sense of the bigger picture, I sat down with KR Liu, who was diagnosed with severe hearing loss at age three and went on to head up sales and marketing with audio pioneer Doppler Labs. Most recently, she teamed up with Senators Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Grassley on the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017, which passed with almost unanimous bipartisan support.

    In our all-too-brief talk, we delved into the technological advancements, of course, but also the social ones -- the issue of accessibility tech ultimately isn't just a question of what's technically possible, but about diversity: Who is allowed in the drawing room? And for whom are we creating tech in the first place?

    Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2018.

    Dana is executive editor of Engadget, where she runs a growing team of reporters and reviewers. She got her start in tech journalism a decade ago as a writer for Laptop Mag and the AP before arriving at Engadget in 2011. She appears weekly on ABC Radio and has also been a guest on Bloomberg TV, CNN, CNBC, Marketplace, NPR and Fox Business, among other outlets. Dana is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the Columbia Publishing Course. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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