Research

Picture of Jerry Russell working InvoTek partners with leading research institutions to create tools that help people with disabilities achieve greater independence. Although our projects have focused on people with minimal movement capabilities and/or communication impairments, we recently began working in the areas of dementia care and adaptive sports. To get an insight into our design philosophy, see our article on assistive technology design.

InvoTek is a research partner in the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (RERC on AAC), a consortium of leading researchers in the AAC field.

The following institutions have partnered with InvoTek on Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) projects.

SBIR Research Projects

InvoTek’s current and future SBIR supported development plans include...

Comprehensive Telecommunication System

There are over 700,000 Americans with severe physical impairments (SPIs) who have few options for independently accessing telecommunication services such as voice calls, text messaging, and video calling. We are creating an accessible telecom system that provides independent and reliable access to landline, cellphone, and internet-based voice, text, and video communication to the extent allowed by the local telecom infrastructure.

Co-Construction for AAC Devices

Currently, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) partners do not have a  way to help an AAC user formulate written messages, even if they have shared knowledge about the vocabulary. We are developing an AAC system that is grounded in the success and efficiency of dialogue co-construction and word prediction. This system combines word/phrase prediction from non-disabled communication partners with a sophisticated bigram-based language model residing in the AAC system to increase the speed and informativeness of message production.

InvoTek offers the technology developed above on our MultiAccess product page.

Quadrider Handcycle

Handcycling is a great adaptive sport, however safe operation of a handcycle requires that the rider has sufficient finger/grip control to change gears and apply the brakes. We are creating a handcycle named QuadRider that is accessible to people who do not have grip control. QuadRider may improve the health and quality of life of people with spinal cord injury and disease (SCI/D) by providing a fun way to exercise. Lack of access to fun recreational equipment is one of the primary barriers to participating in health-enhancing fitness activities for people with SCI/D.

Training Caregivers to Help Persons with Alzheimer's

People with dementia lose their abilities to perform activities of daily living when they do not use them. We are developing a new tool for teaching caregivers how to preserve functional ability during dressing. This tool includes a unique simulator that enables the caregiver to practice his or her dressing assistance skills.

Easy VSD

There is an urgent need for speech generating devices that meet the needs of young children with complex communication needs. This project responds to this need by developing innovative software that will:

    1. Appeal to young children by integrating play and communication;
    2. Be easy for young children to learn and use;
    3. Be easy and fast for parents and professionals to program “on the fly” within interactions with their children to ensure that the children have access to the language that they require to communicate and learn.

TobiiDynavox has licensed this technology and it is commercially available in their Snap Scene app.

MulitAccess

We have developed and tested an on-screen keyboard that uses gesture-enhanced word prediction techniques. The keyboard is gesture-aware in the sense that it enables a person to enter words by moving the mouse cursor toward several letters in a word without requiring the person to select each on-screen letter by dwelling or clicking on it. The combination of word prediction and gesture recognition techniques may reduce the number of on-screen letters that the user must select by up to 75%. Another unique feature of GWP is that the onscreen keyboard can be used to control several smart devices through a Bluetooth hub.

InvoTek offers the technology developed above on our MultiAccess product page.

RealTalk

Commercial AAC systems are designed to replace natural speech, however most people want to use their natural speech -- even if it is hard to understand. RealTalk enables a person to use their natural speech for conversation and as an input into their communciation device -- and it augments their natural speech with written "subtitles" to help the conversation partner understand better. This AAC system is built upon our SSR dysarthric speech recognition software-- the only large vocabulary speech recognition system recognition for people with dysarthria.