Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Device helps children with disabilities access tablets

Date:
December 11, 2012
Source:
Georgia Institute of Technology
Summary:
Researchers are trying to open the world of tablets to children whose limited mobility makes it difficult for them to perform the common pinch and swipe gestures required to control the devices.

The current prototype of the Access4Kids device includes three force-sensitive resistors that measure pressure and convert it into a signal that instructs the tablet.
Credit: Georgia Tech

Imagine not being able to touch a touch-screen device. Tablets and smartphones -- with all their educational, entertaining and social benefits -- would be useless.

Related Articles


Researchers at Georgia Tech are trying to open the world of tablets to children whose limited mobility makes it difficult for them to perform the common pinch and swipe gestures required to control the devices.

Ayanna Howard, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and graduate student Hae Won Park have created Access4Kids, a wireless input device that uses a sensor system to translate physical movements into fine-motor gestures to control a tablet.

The device, coupled with supporting open-source apps and software developed at Georgia Tech, allows children with fine motor impairments to access off-the-shelf apps such as Facebook and YouTube, as well as custom-made apps for therapy and science education.

"Every child wants access to tablet technology. So to say, 'No you can't use it because you have a physical limitation' is totally unfair," Howard said. "We're giving them the ability to use what's in their mind so they have an outlet to impact the world."

The current prototype of the Access4Kids device includes three force-sensitive resistors that measure pressure and convert it into a signal that instructs the tablet. A child can wear the device around the forearm or place it on the arm of a wheelchair and hit the sensors or swipe across the sensors with his or her fist. The combination of sensor hits or swipes gets converted to different "touch-based" commands on the tablet.

Children with neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, spina bifida and muscular dystrophy typically suffer from fine motor impairments, which is the difficulty of controlling small coordinated movements of the hands, wrists and fingers. They tend to lack the ability to touch a specific small region with appropriate intensity and timing needed for press and swipe gestures.

The impact of Access4Kids could be significant. More than 200,000 children in the U.S. public school system have an orthopedic disability and have been excluded from tablet and touch screen devices. Current assistive technology, such as Augmentative and Alternative Communication devices, is available to those with motor impairments for traditional computer platforms but not tablets or smartphones.

"We can't keep it in the lab," Howard said. "It doesn't make sense for me to have one child, one at a time look at it and say 'Hey that's really cool' and not have it out there in the world. The real goal is to make it safe and efficient so someone can make it into a commercial product."

Howard is creating a second prototype that aims to be more flexible. It will include wireless sensors that can be placed anywhere a child is capable of hitting them, such as with a foot or the side of the head. User trials for the second prototype will begin soon. Howard says she hopes to have the device through clinical trials starting next year.

So far Access4Kids has received positive feedback from both typically developing children and children with disabilities, as well as caregivers. The device was also a finalist in a recent Intel-sponsored competition and was showcased to the British Consulate prior to the Paralympic games this summer, receiving good reviews.

The project was originally funded through the NSF-sponsored Broadening Participation in Computing Program and then through I-Corps, a National Science Foundation program that aims to translate scientific discoveries into useful products for society. Howard is working on a version of the device called TabAccess for adults with motor disabilities.

Access4Kids also received a seed grant from the Atlanta Pediatric Device Consortium, a partnership between Georgia Tech, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and the Atlanta Clinical & Translational Science Institute that provides assistance with the commercialization of novel pediatric medial devices.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Georgia Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Georgia Institute of Technology. "Device helps children with disabilities access tablets." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121211083229.htm>.
Georgia Institute of Technology. (2012, December 11). Device helps children with disabilities access tablets. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121211083229.htm
Georgia Institute of Technology. "Device helps children with disabilities access tablets." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121211083229.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins