Individuals who have lost their ability to speak due to severe traumatic brain injury, brainstem stroke, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis often use specialized computers to communicate. However, many also have severe physical limitations that make access to these computers with their hands difficult or impossible. This project focuses on developing new and innovative methods of accessing computers to support communication. The long-term goal of this project is to study and develop multimodal access methods (e.g., combining eye and head tracking, touch access to large locations and switch scanning to small/discrete locations on a computer) that are intuitive to the user and decrease the overall fatigue that individuals with severe physical impairments experience using alternative access methods. This project is a part of the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (RERC on AAC) funded through NIDILRR (grant # 90RE5017).
Research Collaborators: Tom Jakobs, P.E., Invotek, Inc.; Susan Fager Ph.D. C.C.C.-S.L.P., Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital; David Beukelman Ph.D. C.C.C.-S.L.P., Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital; Janice Light Ph.D. C.C.C.-S.L.P., Penn State University; David Hershberger, Saltillo