Dr. Albert Cook is Professor of Speech Pathology and Audiology in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine and Special Advisor to the Provost at the University of Alberta. He has worked with interdisciplinary teams to develop assistive devices and to assess the effectiveness of technology being used by persons with disabilities.

Dr. Cook’s research interests include augmentative and alternative communication, biomedical instrumentation and assistive technology design, development and evaluation. His most recent research has focussed on the use of robotics with young children who have severe disabilities to develop and assess cognitive and linguistic skills. He has US and foreign patents and numerous publications and conference presentations in these areas. He has been principal investigator on research and training grants in augmentative communication, assistive technologies and biomedical engineering.

Dr. Cook was selected for the SIGACCESS Outstanding Contribution Award in recognition of his life-long dedication to accessibility. Dr. Cook began his academic career at the California State University, Sacramento, where he founded the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program and co-directed the Assistive Device Center. He moved to Canada to assume the position of Dean of the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Alberta, where he helped to establish the Faculty as a world reference in research, development, and service provision in rehabilitation medicine and assistive technology. He authored more than 200 scientific publications. He is the co-author of the classic reference book in the field “Assistive Technologies: Principles and Practice”. As president of the RESNA, he worked to regulate the profession of Assistive Technology Practitioners and Engineers, bringing scientific methods to everyday practice.

In 2010 Dr. Cook received the 2nd ACM SIGACCESS Award for Outstanding Contributions to Computing and Accessibility. The award recognises individuals who have made significant and lasting contributions to the development of computing technologies which improve the accessibility of media and services to people with disabilities. The award was presented to Dr. Cook by SIGACCESS Chair Andrew Sears at the ASSETS 2010 Conference. After the award, Dr Cook gave the opening keynote of the conference with a talk entitled “The Future of Assistive Technologies: A Time of Promise and Apprehension”.