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AURA - Ascertaining Un-Reported Affect

Award Information

Department of Defense
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2010 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
DARPA 10-002
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
21st Century Technologies Inc.
6011 West Courtyard Drive Bldg 5, Suite 300 Austin, TX -
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2010
Title: AURA - Ascertaining Un-Reported Affect
Agency / Branch: DOD / DARPA
Contract: N10PC20171
Award Amount: $98,998.00


Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITSs) functions as virtual tutors that adapt to student responses. Such ITSs, however, do not yield student learning improvements equivalent to students tutored by human instructors. Ascertaining Un-Reported Affect (AURA) is a closed-loop, platform-independent "front-end" for informing ITSs with near real-time inferences of student engagement and affect during learning sessions to further improve student learning and minimize student frustration. AURA leverages low-cost, non-invasive sensors to monitor students without disrupting their learning experience. Such an approach enables the large-scale deployment of AURA to students using ITSs. The key innovation in AURA is the ability to serve as a modular component that informs an ITS of changes in a student's emotional or physical state that can affect the learning process by leveraging audio, video, text, and user interface feedback. AURA Phase I includes preliminary experiments to demonstrate the feasibility of the approach, and concludes with the specification of a design for an Engineering prototype. AURA leverages 21st Century Technologies expertise developing systems for the military in speech and audio processing, modeling multiple-actor interactions in a decision space using Bayesian networks, and creating machine learning algorithms.

Principal Investigator:

Ann Vanderlaan
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

Irene Williams
Small Business Information at Submission:

21st Century Technologies Inc.
4515 Seton Center Parkway Suite 320 Austin, TX 78759

EIN/Tax ID: 541719551
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No