InvoTek Receives Grant to Help Those with Disabilities

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 3:16 pm  

InvoTek, an Alma research and development firm that produces technology that is accessible to those with physical disabilities, has received a federal grant to build software that will help the disabled communicate more effectively.

The National Institutes of health grant is for $150,000. With it, InvoTek will develop "gestures" software to help children and adults with disabilities improve their ability to communicate, according to a press release.

The new software will make it easier for those with disabilities to enter text into their communication devices, reducing fatigue and improving quality of life, according to InvoTek president Tom Jakobs.

"Approximately 7 million children and adults in the United States have disabilities that hinder their ability to communicate,” Jakobs said. "These disabilities include spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, ALS, multiple sclerosis, stroke, and Guillain-Barre syndrome. This software gives them a simple way to enter text into a computer or speech generating device without requiring precise muscle movements."

Jakobs said the gesture software allows the user to enter partial words and then predicts and completes the word for them.

"People with disabilities who used early prototypes were highly satisfied and reported a significant reduction in effort needed to complete a writing task," he said.

InvoTek officials believe the new technology will enable users to enter text up to 64 percent more efficiently than with current technology.

InvoTek, a client firm of Innovate Arkansas and the Arkansas Science & Technology Authority, is partnering with Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln, Neb., on the gestures software project.



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