Todays electronics displays and devices largely engage our vision and hearing, increasing chances of sensory overload, which can lead to delays, distractions and even life threatening situations. It is surprising that alternative senses, particular touch, are underutilized as receptive channels for receiving electronically delivered information. For almost a decade, we have explored the sense of touch in such a role within the context of assistive technology. Within this space, we have developed the Social Interaction Assistantan assistive aid for which we built a haptic belt to convey the direction (via vibration around the waist) and distance (via tactile rhythm) of communicators to an individual who is blind. Our proposed haptic belt, or Haptic Annunciator System, is a complete system solution for designing and integrating haptic signals within an existing application. It consists of a haptic belt, firmware, API for simplified integration, and software for in the form of a graphical user interface for visually editing haptic signals. Unlike existing haptic belts designed specifically as navigation or spatial orientation aids, our proposed innovation is application-independent with a focus toward functionality (expressiveness, scalability and reconfigurability), performance (durability and reliability) and usability (easy to use, easy to don/doff, comfortable, unobtrusive and discreet). Given the relatively small market of assistive technology, larger markets are being sought for commercialization opportunities; in particular, console, PC and online games offer a potentially lucrative market based on a recent study that shows haptic belts for situational awareness may provide performance gains for players, offering clear advantages over players without haptic belts. To lead this commercialization effort, I-Corps team members include Troy L. McDaniel (entrepreneurial lead), Donald J. Becka (I-Corps mentor) and Sethuraman Panchanathan (principal investigator). Troys expertise in haptics, human-computer interaction and wearable computing creates the core of the proposed I-Corps team where he will lead the effort toward creating a startup company around the proposed innovation. Donalds background in leadership, management and negotiation will be instrumental in his roles as advisor and customer liaison. Sethuramans expertise in multimedia computing and haptics, and background in leadership, management and startups, will be integral to his role as project manager. The team will pursue potential customers within game developing, publishing and manufacturing across both independent and major game companies. These contacts will be made through online presence; email and direct mail; and visits to cities with a high concentration of game developers for meetings.
|Effective start/end date||7/1/12 → 6/30/13|
- National Science Foundation (NSF): $50,000.00