A "lip reading" click device for disabled computer users

Award Information
Agency:
Department of Health and Human Services
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$99,063.00
Award Year:
2006
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase I
Contract:
1R43HD053211-01
Award Id:
81122
Agency Tracking Number:
HD053211
Solicitation Year:
n/a
Solicitation Topic Code:
n/a
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
VORTANT TECHNOLOGIES, LLC, 88 HIGH COUNTRY RD, WEAVERVILLE, NC, 28787
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
n/a
Principal Investigator:
PHILIP SCHAEFER
(828) 645-1026
PHIL@VORTANT.COM
Business Contact:
(828) 645-1026
Research Institution:
n/a
Abstract
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This project aims to improve the quality of life and employment potential for spinal cord injured (SCI) and other individuals who cannot use a standard computer keyboard and mouse. Some assistive products, such as head trackers, are suitable for controlling the position of the mouse pointer. However, existing products present several significant obstacles in activities such as working on a telephone. This is a significant issue, because telephone-intensive careers are an important and growing employment opportunity for people with limited mobility. Most notably, performing a "click" action when the mouse pointer is at the right place remains a challenge for these employees. Mouth-operated devices, such as a sip-and-puff straw, interfere with talking on the phone and lead to fatigue. Voice-operated clicking commands interfere with telephone conversations and draw unwanted attention to the employee's disability. A significant need exists for a cost-effective and unobtrusive point and click solution. This project will provide a more effective, less intrusive point-and-click device that is integrated with a telephone headset. The device will use a low-cost, high-tech approach to watch for certain unobtrusive lip gestures that indicate clicks, significantly reducing the effort on the part of the user and eliminating conspicuousness of the user's disability. In addition to the initial telephone-related application, this device will also be applicable for many other computer users, as well as for other users of communication, entertainment, and remote-control equipment. In Phase I, potential users and therapists will help to refine the requirements and the conceptual design of the device. The technology to perform the "lip reading" function will be refined to create a proof of concept click device. The proof of concept will be integrated with a computer and a standard telephone headset. Finally, performance and user impressions data will be gathered from a group of potential users who will try out the proof of concept device.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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