Today's smartphones, tablet computers, e-readers, and netbooks have locked out a population of people who could arguably benefit from them most: people with severe physical disabilities who cannot use small touchscreens, flip keyboards, or other conventional input modalities. This project focuses on creating a universally accessible mobile device for this population and demonstrating its usefulness in a real-world long-term care setting. Our objective is to develop a toolkit including common hardware and software platforms that will make it possible for any individual to fully access a mobile device with any input interface (i.e. a pushbutton switch, sip an puff switch, Webcam-based head tracker, or other device) in order to make telephone calls, browse the Web, communicate with others, and control their environment. We plan to build and showcase specific solutions at the Leonard Florence Center for Living in Chelsea, Massachusetts, a residence for individuals with advanced Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS) and multiple sclerosis (MS). The near-term goal is to create a solution that works effectively for residences at the Florence Center to allow them to call elevators, send text messages to caregivers, open doors, and control other devices; our long-term vision is to catalyze the development of mobile technologies that are universally accessible.
Enable residents with disabilities at the Leonard Florence Center control their environment, regardless of their physical ability
William Li (Team Leader) email@example.com William is a second-year graduate student in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) and the Technology and Policy Program with an undergraduate background in biomedical engineering. His experience includes the development of a virtual reality therapy system at a children's rehabilitation hospital as an undergraduate, research on speech recognition for a robotic wheelchair for people with limited fine motor skills, and work with volunteer assistive technology student groups at the University of Toronto and MIT. William helped found the MIT Assistive Technology Club, which has now grown into a vibrant community of students, staff, and researchers that receives requests from people with disabilities in the Greater Cambridge/Boston area for low-cost, customized assistive devices.
Rachna Pande (Team Leader) firstname.lastname@example.org Rachna is a second year graduate student in the Technology and Policy Program. She is a biochemical engineering graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology. She has 3 years of consulting experience in sales and marketing for pharmaceutical firms and volunteers in ICT for health in India. In this project, Rachna is leveraging her on-the-ground expertise with mobile solutions and her rich background in scalable and sustainable healthcare models to improve the economics of assistive technology for people with disabilities.
Aditi Basu email@example.com A senior in Mechanical Engineering at Boston University, Aditi is interested in determining and documenting ways to physically interface computing devices, switches, and other peripherals onto power wheelchairs. Her project experiences include building a LEGO Atomic Force Microscope (AFM), which is to be built out of LEGO pieces and fully programmed and controlled by a computer to simulate a real AFM. In this project, Aditi aims to work closely with residents at the Leonard Florence Center to evaluate scalable mounting solutions that are robust to changing physical needs, movement patterns, and environments.
firstname.lastname@example.org Alejandro is a visiting student at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), currently working with the Agile Robotics group. He is a computer engineering graduate from the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico. His experience includes working on computer vision and real-time path planning algorithms for proof of concept lunar rovers at NASA and the development of optimal real-time motion planning algorithms for autonomous vehicles at MIT. Alejandro is applying his background in computer vision and signal processing to develop low-cost, open-source access devices that will interface easily with off-the-shelf mobile devices.
Alexandre Jacquillat email@example.com Alexandre is a first-year graduate student in the Technology and Policy Program. He graduated from the French Ecole Polytechnique in Applied Mathematics and Economics. He interned for six months in a non-profit organization dedicated to locked-in syndrome; his work included both adapting high-tech devices to patients and helping patients to communicate efficiently and control their environment without speech nor motion.
Claire Souchet firstname.lastname@example.org Claire is a graduate student in Boston University. Her interests include entrepreneurship, marketing and communication. She graduated in France in International Business Law. She worked for a non-profit organization which provides help and support to senior citizens in retirement homes. She is particularly interested in the use of information technology and social networks in sharing ideas, expressing commitment and seeking involvement.
Leonard Florence Center
165,Captains Row, Chelsea, MA
Imagine a nursing home where residents live in houses that reflect their respective interests, values and needs. A place where elders can receive individualized skilled nursing care and support with daily activities, but without this assistance becoming the focus of their existence.
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