Laser pointing in a safe context for people with disabilities

Period of Performance: 05/01/2007 - 02/28/2009

$100K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Invotek, Inc.
Alma, AR 72921
Principal Investigator

Abstract

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The proposed system offers people with severe disabilities an important new method for communicating when speaking is not possible. Presently all augmentative communication systems require a person to interact directly with that device in order to generate messages. This requires that a person have significant training in operating the device, and for many people with disabilities requires frequent and precise setup before they can use it. The proposed system, named LaserCam, offers assistive device users the ability to use their environment - made up of three dimensional objects, photographs, and communication symbols - to communicate. The user selects objects in this predefined "laser-safe" communication area by targeting the objects with a custom laser that is exceptionally eye safe. The envisioned system permits a facilitator to design an access scheme that enables the user to progress seamlessly from low-tech partner interpreted pointing, to high-tech independent computer access. The Phase 1 tasks include the development of image processing software and a safe computer controlled laser. People with disabilities will evaluate the system. The proposed system provides people with severe disability who cannot talk the opportunity to communicate effectively by pointing with a safe-laser.