Reliable and Safe Laser Pointing for People with Locked-in Syndrome

Period of Performance: 05/01/2009 - 04/30/2012


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Invotek, Inc.
Alma, AR 72921
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The proposed project enables people with very limited movement to use a laser to control assistive devices - safely. This Phase 1 Fast-Track research focuses on developing a custom, low-cost, photosensitive material that detects the light from a laser. The fundamental scientific knowledge gained during Phase 1 will enable the research team to manufacture laser-sensing surfaces reliably. The goal for Phase 1 is to produce, without failure, five laser-sensing surfaces with a signal-to-noise ratio of at least 3:1. The Phase 2 Fast-Track research focuses on demonstrating the reliability, safety, and efficacy of the Safe- laser Pointing System for individuals with Locked-in Syndrome by completing three major tasks. First, the technical team will continue its work by optimizing the laser-sensing surface developed in Phase 1 and producing reliable prototypes for clinical evaluation. Second, we must design a Safe-laser pointer that is lightweight, and easy to wear and point. Third, individuals with Locked-in Syndrome (LIS), their families, and the professionals that care for them will comprehensively evaluate these prototypes over an 18-month clinical study. This evaluation will demonstrate the reliability and safety of the prototypes, and the efficacy of the Safe-laser Pointing System for meeting the assistive technology needs of the underserved LIS population, both from the perspective of training assistive technology use and successfully integrating technology into their lives. The Safe-laser Pointing System is an important, innovative, access method for a wide range of disability etiologies, including cerebral palsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, brainstem stroke, traumatic brain injury, and myasthenia gravis. It enables many people with restricted movement to achieve direct access control of electronic technology and avoid the use of single-switch scanning. Upon completion of this research, we will implement a well-conceived and swift commercialization plan to make this technology available to the people that need it.