SBIR Phase I: Assisted Handwriting Training System: An Innovative Haptic Force Feedback Platform for Visual Motor Integration
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will allow children to improve their visual motor skills and handwriting through the use of a new, innovative haptic-based handwriting training technology. The proposal will address the following intellectual challenges: First, a low cost haptic workstation system which costs below $1,500 will be developed making haptics a practical system, viable and affordable to schools by plugging into their existing computers; Second, a set of software for fully computer-based visual motor skills lessons will be developed based on standard worksheets and books currently used by schools for improving handwriting; Third, algorithms of an assistive technology will be developed to help children perform repeated motor skill tasks to improve hand-eye coordination using the proposed workstation. A new paradigm called ?shared control,? will recognize the level of participation by the child and automatically adjust the force feedback while the child participates in visual motor activities. This mode of assistance is not currently possible with any therapy. Finally, this system can be extended through additional study as a standard handwriting trainer for children with normal development and handwriting skills, and perhaps even for rehabilitation of adults who suffer from neuromuscular disorders and stroke. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is an improved method for delivering a standardized course of fine-motor hand training which leverages technology already in mass-production not only for children with Visual Motor Integration (VMI) but for a wide range of hand related trainings. The Assisted Handwriting Training system provides an interesting product opportunity with potential markets in excess of $26 billion based on published estimates. The technology is relatively mature and could almost certainly be brought to market within 3 years. Even though the primary goal of this proposal is to assist children with poor handwriting, once its efficacy is demonstrated, this system has the potential of being used by all children, even those with normal handwriting, and may become part of the writing curriculum in elementary schools all over the country. In the area of education, in addition to writing, this system can be used to teach K-12 students skills ranging from learning to paint and sculpt, to controlling mechanical devices. Future work will also lead to a system which assists physiotherapy sessions for adults with stroke or various neurological conditions.
Small Business Information at Submission:
2350 North Forest Road Suite 16A Getzville, NY 14068-1296
Number of Employees: