Software for Computer Input Devices

Period of Performance: 09/01/2008 - 08/31/2010

$373K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Koester Performance Research
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
Principal Investigator

Abstract

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Software for Computer Input Devices The goal of this project is to improve interventions in the area of computer use for people with disabilities through the development of a software agent for the configuration of computer input devices. Because each person's disability is unique, tuning these devices to each user's strengths and limitations is often critical for success. The software will assess current user performance with an input device and recommend the appropriate configuration for that device. The complete system is known as the Input Device Agent, or IDA. Three main groups of input devices will be supported: keyboards, mice and other pointing devices, and switches. In Phase I, several decision algorithms for configuring input devices were developed and evaluated, demonstrating that they yielded useful recommendations for computer users with physical disabilities. In Phase II, the components of the IDA system will be expanded, enhanced, and evaluated, resulting in at least a beta-level version for the Windows operating system. The specific goals to be achieved are outlined below: 1. Complete a system architecture that defines clear software interfaces between modular components and supports the easy addition of new components to the basic system as they are developed. 2. Design, develop, and evaluate a user interface that meets users' needs for an easy-to-use, powerful, and efficient system. 3. Develop new decision algorithms to support additional input device settings, and improve existing decision algorithms. 4. Evaluate the decision algorithms with a variety of end users for utility and technical quality. The resulting beta version of IDA will then be refined into Version 1.0 and commercialized as a stand-alone software application in Phase III. - Software for Computer Input Devices The proposed IDA software promises to provide real benefits to computer users with disabilities by configuring the computer to the user's needs and providing follow-up to ensure that the interface remains well-suited to the user. Effective computer access allows individuals with disabilities to compete on a more equal footing in both the classroom and the job market. This is of critical importance to the more than 44 million Americans over the age of 21 and 1.5-5.2 million children under 21 who have a disability.