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Design, Development, and Evaluation of an Interactive Tactile Graphics Printer for the Blind and VisuallyImpaired

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2R42TR000376-02A1
Agency Tracking Number: R42TR000376
Amount: $1,006,654.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: 400
Solicitation Number: PA14-072
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2014
Award Year: 2015
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2015-08-15
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2018-07-31
Small Business Information
283 S UNION ST UNIT 3, Burlington, VT, 05401-5507
DUNS: 078275033
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 MICHAEL ROSEN
 (802) 233-8767
 mrosen@uvm.edu
Business Contact
 MICHAEL ROSEN
Phone: (802) 233-8767
Email: mrosen@easytactilegraphics.com
Research Institution
 UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT & ST AGRIC COLLEGE
 85 SOUTH PROSPECT STREET
BURLINGTON, VT, 05405-1704
 Nonprofit college or university
Abstract
DESCRIPTION provided by applicant The ultimate goal of this project is to market an electromechanical and software system for Blind and Low Vision B LV individuals that will enable interactive creation communication and printing of Braille annotated tactile graphics In school at home and in the workplace virtually everyone needs to be able to produce a wide variety of freehand sketches diagrams driving directions floor plans designs charts graphs flowcharts hand written mathematics and art The B LV community presently can purchase raised line drawing kits akin to pencil and paper which do allow one time production of tactile drawings by scribing with a stylus on plastic sheets What users could not accomplish until the advent of E A S Y LLC Engineering to Assist and Support You and its inTACT product line is erasing and correction repeated drawing and erasing on single sheets copying and tactile reproduction on a andquot read writeandquot medium and digital recording transmission and sharing of raised line drawings Absence of these capabilities has severe limits on the tools and topics of education and dramatically narrowed employment opportunities This Phase II STTR project will develop to the point of commercial readiness the inTACT tactile graphic Printer an essential element of the product line which presently exists only as the alpha prototype generated by this teamandapos s Phase I project The inTACT product line is the inaugural initiative of E A S Y LLC It addresses the unmet needs outlined above through a system composed of the inTACT Sketchpad units now sold digitizing version prototyped the inTACT Eraser units now sold and and the inTACT Printer prototyped and evaluated in the Phase I project The goal of the proposed STTR Phase II project is to engineer evaluate and prepare a final commercial version of the Printer The engineering outcome of the project will be substantial new features and capacities necessary for optimizing the performance of the current prototype in ways defined through extensive field evaluation at nine sites of education training employment advocacy research and accessible material production for the blind and visually impaired A subcontract to the University of Vermont will provide access substantial effort from Dr Michael Rosen a member of the Engineering research faculty Rosen is an expert in user interactive product development design methodology and development of products for the disabled The UVM contract will further support and Engineering graduate research assistant The E A S Y LLC business plan calls for marketing efforts in conjunction with the National Federation of the Blind Perkins Products and other partner companies expansion of the product line into tactile graphics materials for education and development of new access technology Funding for this plan is being sought from a combination of sales revenue new investment loans and partnerships with other vendors and distributors PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE Phase II This Research Development and User Evaluation project will lead to a new full featured tactile graphics printer for the blind and visually impaird The inTACT Printer as part of a system of products for free hand tactile drawing will greatly increase opportunities for convenient quick and accurate tactile graphical communication of all kinds e g sketches figures diagrams designs charts graphs schematics flowcharts and hand written math for individuals in everyday life in school and on the job Unlike other tactile graphics printers the inTACT Printer will utilize a andquot read writeandquot drawing medium enabling graphical interaction with pre printed tactile images and interaction through drawing with other people and distance education sources

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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