STTR Phase II: Digital eWriter for The Classroom

Period of Performance: 09/15/2015 - 08/31/2017

$722K

Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Kent Displays, Inc.
343 Portage Blvd
Kent, OH 44240
Firm POC, Principal Investigator

Research Institution

Kent State University
Office of the Comptroller
Kent, OH 44242
Institution POC

Abstract

This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II project develops eWriter devices for classroom use as a sustainable paper replacement technology and an effective tool for student-teacher interaction. The eWriters provide a paper-like writing experience and electronically capture, store, and transfer handwritten text and images. For education, eWriters introduce a sustainable paper replacement technology at a lower cost than other classroom technologies. The eWriters enable handwritten student work to be wirelessly uploaded to teachers and to virtual whiteboards. Positive societal impacts come from improved teaching methods and student-teacher interactions, particularly for high quality science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) pedagogy, where handwritten notes are advantageous. The most immediate societal benefit of educational eWriters is significant reduction in paper usage, carbon footprints, and costs for schools. Expanding domestic high tech roll-to-roll production of eWriters benefits the flexible electronics supply chain and materials development. The eWriter display technology, developed and manufactured in Ohio, is exported around the world. This project helps sustain both the U.S. economy and the environment. Existing eWriter product, distribution, retail channels, and marketing give a strong platform for commercialization. This project impacts numerous and far reaching areas in education, environmental improvement, domestic manufacturing, materials improvements, and process development. This project enables digital writing for K-12 and post-secondary classrooms along with a seamless information and communication system so teachers and students can effectively exchange handwritten work digitally and reduce paper use. The research objectives include the development of eWriter technologies (ruggedness, performance, design), the development of software ecosystems for classrooms (use models, user interface systems), and the development of usage strategies for new teaching techniques. Multidisciplinary methods will be used involving researchers in education, liquid crystal display technology, engineering, and software development to successfully achieve project objectives. Experts in the application of technology in education will develop and evaluate eWriter usage strategies for improved instruction and student performance depending on grade level and teaching style. This new type of education technology has tremendous and far reaching impacts in areas of pedagogical techniques, flexible electronics, liquid crystal and polymeric materials, and environmental sustainability. The anticipated results are a suite of eWriter devices and systems to be deployed in K-12 and post-secondary education. The lead organization will commercialize these new products into educational markets leveraging existing sales and marketing infrastructure.