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SBIR Phase II: Life-like, Expressive Avatars for the Instruction of Young…

Award Information

National Science Foundation
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2009 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Vcom3D, Inc.
11474 Corporate Blvd Suite 140 Orlando, FL 32817-8385
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Woman-Owned: Yes
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2009
Title: SBIR Phase II: Life-like, Expressive Avatars for the Instruction of Young Learners who are Deaf
Agency: NSF
Contract: 0823070
Award Amount: $553,484.00


This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II research project will develop a new authoring tool that will allow persons proficient in American Sign Language (ASL) to create animated stories and instructional material in ASL. The goals of this authoring tool are: 1) to support the creation of instructional materials that assist Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (HH) students in the elementary and middle grades in learning to read; 2) to support the creation of animated ASL stories, including the full range of ASL grammar, that can be enjoyed by Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students; and 3) to provide a tool that can be used by older students, at the secondary and university levels, to learn about the ASL by creating animated ASL passages. The project includes the development and testing of exemplary reading instruction for Deaf students reading at grade level K-6. The research will result in improved, computer-based reading instruction for the 50,000+ K-12 Deaf/HH students in the U.S. whose first language is ASL, as well as students that are taking ASL courses. Currently, Deaf children are delayed in developing language skills, to the extent that the average reading level of a Deaf high school graduate is no greater than 4th grade. Since Deaf children have difficulty developing phonemic awareness, and are often isolated from contextual information available to hearing students, teaching reading to Deaf children requires the application of several unique methods that go far beyond simply translating English text. By providing educators and developers of educational software with products that allow them to develop personalized signing avatar tutors for Deaf children, this project will make possible the creation of instruction that is available 'anytime, anywhere' for assisting Deaf children in developing literacy skills.

Principal Investigator:

Jason C. Hurdich

Business Contact:

Jason C. Hurdich
Small Business Information at Submission:

3452 LAKE LYNDA DR., SUITE 260 Orlando, FL 32817

EIN/Tax ID: 593419305
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No