SBIR Phase I: Three Dimensional Data Construction Platform Using Near Field Communications for Interaction With Engineering Game

Period of Performance: 07/01/2016 - 06/30/2017

$225K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Digital Dream Labs, LLC
100 S Commons Management Office
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Firm POC, Principal Investigator

Abstract

This SBIR Phase I Project explores the approach of teaching fundamental engineering concepts through engaging gameplay using a proprietary platform. The platform consists of tiles that can be put together in different ways in 3 dimensions, acting as an input to a game. The game is implemented on a paired device that can be on a tablet or a computer. The player will be presented increasingly difficult challenges and puzzles within game, and will have to use the physical tiles to assist in constructing the solution. The field of engineering exists in 3 dimensions, and the proposed project aims to explore building the intuition of this field within our youngest learners. The broader impact is in the vision for the platform to exist as a means to introduce different STEM topics in a fun and engaging manner, creating fond memories that could lead to more children with an interest in pursuing STEM related fields in the future. The project also has a mission to remain gender neutral in its design, so as to provide games that foster interest in both girls and boys. This SBIR Phase I Project will explore, through the use of near field communications, the extension of a proprietary platform that can read and construct data in 2 dimensions to 3 dimensions. There is a given theoretical limit to which near field communications are viable, and this project will explore optimizations and additions to the current proprietary solution to achieve a communications distance closer to the theoretical limit. The proprietary system is highly compact, and the project will be researching ways to prevent self interference while improving the range of the system. The main explorations include a look at optimizing off-the-shelf near field communications inlay designs, optimizing the current antenna design and network, and the potential addition of a signal amplifier to boost the range of the system.