SBIR Phase I: Online Collaborative Math

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


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Fluidity Software, Inc.
289 Highland Ave., Suite 304
Somerville, MA 02144
Firm POC, Principal Investigator


This Phase I SBIR project proposes to research and develop a fully pen-centric software application for tablet devices which has the potential to become a groundbreaking component of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education. Teachers and students are rapidly gaining access to mobile tablet devices with touch sensitive screens and educators are quickly adopting one-to-one (1:1), online, blended and distance learning environments wherein teachers and students have mobile tablet devices. The research and development of Phase I will create a new application providing online collaborative math (OCM) for use on networked tablet computers. OCM brings the power of co-located persons working side-by-side and collaborating with paper and pencil to distributed online environments with students writing on tablets. OCM enriches the static paper-and-pencil experience with powerful handwriting and gesture-driven math functionality for computation, graphing, and interactive illustrations enabling rich online collaboration. OCM has the potential to evolve into a robust commercial application suitable for worldwide use by teachers and students for the teaching and learning of math and science. OCM provides a high degree of interaction using handwritten math notation on tablet computers. Increased interaction in distance learning is associated with improved achievement and student satisfaction. The development of OCM is both an art and a science. The art involves making OCM feel like a true collaboration. The science involves developing the technology to create the feel of true collaboration. OCM enables two or more persons to create documents for their collaborative use in teaching and learning STEM subjects. OCM will provide an innovative mechanism to synchronize document state among multiple editors in real-time with minimal or no loss of data/information due to edit conflicts, thereby producing the feel of true collaboration. OCM represents over 10 years of research and development in the field of pen-centric math expression recognition and is presently covered by three patents pending. The goal of Phase I is to build a prototype OCM application and test its feasibility and efficacy in a computer simulated teaching environment. Ultimately, OCM will have a broad impact on the worldwide use of tablet computers in online, distance, and blended learning environments.