SBIR Phase I: SmartBoard: A Teatherless Electronic Letter Board for People with Severe Communication/Motor Disabilities
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I research project develops a prototype of a novel Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device for people with severe communication disabilities. Existing electronic letter boards require the user to point in an unnatural and cumbersome way, significantly reducing their effective communication abilities. The project utilizes special tactile sensor mats that output images of the hand pressure distribution on the surface. Users will be able to point at individual letters without having to press buttons, thereby both enabling users unable to produce sufficient force for existing devices and reducing fatigue of all users. The solution will increase ease-of-use and greatly enhance the communication rate through easier target selection. This proposed research targets primarily the more the 2.5 million Americans who are unable to rely on speech or handwriting for their communication needs and require AAC devices for their communication. Current AAC devices are expensive, and many people require more than one device for different situations. This innovation will allow people who already use electronic communication devices to increase their communication rate while simultaneously reducing fatigue and the risk for Repetitive Stress Injuries. For others who are currently unable to use electronic devices due to the extent of their motor disability, this research it will open new possibilities by offering all benefits of electronic AAC devices without the burden of strenuous or awkward interaction. End users of this technology will benefit from an improved quality of life by way of greater independence arising from better access to communication and improved opportunities for education, employment, and social living. Additionally, the research will broadly advance the state-of-the-art in object recognition and tracking from tactile pressure images through a knowledge transfer from the computer vision domain to the domain of tactile imagery interpretation.
Small Business Information at Submission:
403 S ALLEN ST STE 101 Suite 205 State College, PA 16801
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