STTR Phase I: Commercializing an intelligent reading tutor for mobile devices

Period of Performance: 01/01/2016 - 12/31/2016

$225K

Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Carney Labs, LLC
100 N. Pitt St. Suite 310
Alexandria, VA 22314
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

The Ohio State University
1330 Kinnear Road
Columbus, OH 43212
Institution POC

Abstract

This STTR Phase I project will commercialize a reading intelligent tutor and take it from a university-based research environment to a commercially viable product. Phase I will concentrate on the research objectives of finalizing technical innovations and testing and hardening the software for commercial use. A unique feature of this intelligent tutor is its content authoring capability that provides teachers and support staffs the ability to create reading material to best meet the needs of their learners without having to know anything about programming, linguistics or speech recognition. Another innovation of this tutor is the ability to provide error correction while reading and promoting fluency. The initial impact of this project is the ability to improve literacy for children using an intelligent tutor that's commercially available on today's mobile devices and easy to use and author personalized content. The broader impact is to leverage and design the software for adult learners. Literacy itself is more important than ever in today's global, high-tech economy. The proposed research of this STTR project will address literacy at all ages using an environment that's personalized, accessible, mobile, and adapted for all users. This Small Business Technology Transfer Phase I project will focus on the commercialization of a research based reading intelligent tutor. The two technical hurdles are user interface (UI) and providing fluent speech recognition. One of the major difficulties in developing content that relies on the computer to provide coaching is providing the needed pronunciation information for each word. A crucial success is the ability for the reading tutor to allow the teachers and others to create content for the system without having to know anything about programming, linguistics or speech recognition. Another crucial success is the ability to allow the teachers to specify custom word pronunciations for out of dictionary words using brackets and the normal 26 characters of the English alphabet. There are not any reading fluency programs in the commercial market that combine this technical process with a "teacher friendly" user interface. This innovation enables teachers to truly create and add relevant reading materials to the reading intelligent tutor for their learners. The goal of the research in this proposal is to address the technical hurdles and prepare the reading intelligent tutoring software for commercialization across multiple platforms and mobile devices.