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Artificial Intelligence Software to Tutor Literary Braille to the Blind and Visually Impaired

Award Information
Agency: Department of Education
Branch: N/A
Contract: edies11c0034
Agency Tracking Number: edies11c0034
Amount: $150,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2011
Award Year: 2011
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2011-06-30
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2011-12-30
Small Business Information
5275 Sardis Rd.
Murrysville, PA 15668-9536
United States
DUNS: 157033957
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Benny Johnson
Business Contact
 Rebecca Renshaw
Research Institution

Purpose: Braille is the primary medium of written communication for persons who are blind. Prior research shows that Braille literacy strongly correlates with stronger reading habits and the pursuit of higher education, whereas Braille illiteracy negatively impacts students' academic performance and ability to navigate the everyday world. A recent report found that there has been a dramatic decline in Braille literacy since the 1960s and that in the last two decades the literacy rate among blind children has persisted at just 10 percent. This project will develop a web-based tutoring system to provide on-demand Braille literacy support to the visually impaired.

Project Activities: The main technological objectives include designing and implementing a user interface for dynamic Braille input and output, designing a rules-based expert system for the Braille curriculum, and designing a rules-based expert system to analyze student work and provide feedback. To assess implementation feasibility, the usability of the technology, and to gather data on the promise of the product to support student learning, a single-case pilot study will collect data from 50 students over 15 weeks. Outcome measures will include items from the Minnesota Braille Skills Inventory.

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

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