Alma, AR– July 26, 2011 – InvoTek, Inc., a research and development company in Alma, Arkansas, has recently been awarded a $120,643 Phase 1 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop prototypes of a computer control method that integrates head and eye movement into a new unified computer access method. This new method is designed for those with high spinal-cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), brainstem strokes, and degenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), who may find it difficult to operate traditional computer systems.
The technology will be developed by InvoTek and researchers at the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska, as well as researchers at State University of New York at Buffalo. Consumers and assistive technology professionals will evaluate the prototypes to judge their effectiveness, efficiency, and the ease of user acceptance.
Current computer access technologies require users to have enough movement to move the cursor across the computer display and enough control to target a particular icon. Many users struggle to meet both requirements.“Giving someone with a severe disability control of a computer opens up a wide range of possibilities for achieving life goals and improving quality of life,” says Tom Jakobs, president of InvoTek. “We feel combining head and eye tracking into one access method is a great potential to improve users’ lives.”
Founded in 1988, InvoTek specializes in applying technology to the needs of people with severe disabilities. InvoTek also established the Be Extraordinary program in cooperation with the Arkansas Spinal Cord Commission. The program identifies people with severe disabilities who want to accomplish a life goal. The goal can be wide ranging -- improved participation in their health care, access to books, better communication with family or friends, the ability to advocate on their own behalf, or accomplish an educational or vocational goal. Be Extraordinary uses tax-deductible contributions from generous donors to fund the projects.