Assistive Technology Exploration and Training Center

Period of Performance: 09/30/1998 - 06/30/1999

Unknown

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Orcca Technology, Inc.
Lexington, KY 40507
Principal Investigator

Abstract

This project will design, develop, and evaluate an Assistive Technology Exploration and Training Center (AT Center) in the format of an interactive multimedia program to provide essential information and training about assistive technology devices and systems to consumers of this technology and to the professionals who work with them. This program will allow the user to obtain information and training on: (l) the defining features and technical characteristics of a selection of common types of assistive devices and systems; (2) the basic principles of operation of these devices and systems; (3) technical requirements and compatibility information needed to interface/integrate the devices; and, (4) potential applications and typical uses of these devices and systems. Within the AT Center will be four rooms each dedicated to a specific area of assistive technology: an Adaptive Computer Technology Room, Communications Aids Room, Adapted Environments Room, and a Seating, Positioning and Mobility Systems Room. Interactive multimedia will provide an opportunity to learn about assistive technology devices and systems using a unique set of presentation formats including 3D animation, viewing and exploring devices from all perspectives using QuickTime VR, and user-controlled, operational simulations of devices. During the six months of Phase I, a prototype will be developed that will consist of a full-working interactive CD-ROM of one of the four areas of The AT Center proposed for Phase II, the Adaptive Computer Technology Room. This prototype will be evaluated according to appropriateness of competencies included, accuracy of content, usability of the program, and effectiveness of the program as a training tool. Five major objectives will be carried out: l) Determine device categories for each room and competencies to be included in the complete AT Center program, 2) Determine content for the complete program, 3) Create multimedia components for the prototype, 4) Combine the multimedia components into an interactive program for the prototype, and 5) Evaluate the prototype version of the program. This program will provide a low-cost, convenient and effective alternative for the many individuals who need information and training on the operation and uses of assistive technology devices and systems but do not have access to the required assistive technology equipment or expertise. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS: The commercial potential for this program is indicated by: (l) large number of individuals with disabilities; (2) many organizations and agencies who are mandated to provide assistive technology services; (3) many university training programs in special education, allied health sciences, engineering, rehabilitation counseling, medicine and nursing; (4) the growing need for in-service training and information; (5) many facilities such as assistive technology centers, libraries, and public computer access laboratories. This list, and the demographic information given below, indicates that there exists a large professional, institutional and organizational market for this product.