winning entries in the johns hopkins national

The purpose of the Johns Hopkins National Search, a national competition, is to identify and reward
the best examples of computer-based applications to assist persons with disabilities. Ten simultaneous
regional contests and fairs were held, one in each federal region of the United States. Thirty-one winning
entries were invited to compete at the national fair in Washington, D.C. The winning entries are described
briefly in order of award. National awards for first, second, and third place, as well as eight additional
national awards, are followed by the national merit awards and other top regional awards.
Arjan S. Khalsa
Richmond, Call!
The IntelliKeys smart keyboard is a flexible, affordable
alternative to standard computer keyboards. It is a membrane keyboard comprising 576 small keys that can
be grouped to form larger custom keys. The IntelliKeys
works with MS-Dos-compatible, Apple Macintosh, and
Apple II computers. It comes with six preprogrammed
overlays, and custom overlays can be developed. When
the user places an overlay on the keyboard, the keyboard
automatically recognizes the overlay and interacts appropriately with the computer. The original design of this
product provides computer access to many people with
disabilities in a variety of settings.
Jonathan D. Adams
Cambridge, Mass.
SwitchEnsemble is a music-performance program written for the Apple IIOS. It provides several musical activities for students who have a broad range of physical and
cognitive abilities. SwitchEnsemble makes full use of the
graphics and sound capabilities of the IIOS and supports
a variety of input devices.
Frank McKiel, Jr.
Trophy Club, Tex.
This audible feedback scheme allows a blind person
using a computer to comprehend and use a windowed
graphical user interface in the same manner as a sighted
user. The user controls a pointer on the display by using
a mouse or similar input device. As the pointer passes over
windows, controls, and other graphical features, stereo
sounds are generated by special software to convey the
identity of the features. The sounds, which may combine
musical tones, filtered noise, recorded sound effects, and
synthesized speech, serve as replacements for visual sensations.
Eric Bohlman
Wilmette , Ill.
Tiny talk is a memory-resident screen-reader program
for blind users of MS-Dos-compatible computers with
speech synthesizers in place of the screen display. Tinytalk has advanced features for translating modem software display methods (such as pop-up windows) into
speech and requires little computer memory.
Carrie Brown, Al Cavalier, Maggie Sauer, and
Catherine Wyatt
Dallas, Tex.
The sound-to-speech translation system using graphic
symbols is a computer-based voice-recognition system
designed to allow people with mental retardation or
severe handicaps to communicate with others and also to
control their environment. Users may include people with
quadriplegia, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, aging
problems, arthritis, and neurological disorders. Operation
of the system is through speech or vocalizations, switch
activation, and keyboard input. In response to user inputs,
the system controls operation of electrical appliances and
provides digitized speech output. The user may also
select customized photographic-quality icons displayed
on the monitor via a mouse or track ball. The system may
also be used to assess handicaps and to provide feedback
in educational applications.
Laura Goin, Ted Hasselbring, Victoria Risko, and
Charles Kinzer
Nashville, Tenn.
The Peabody Multimedia Adult Literacy Program
capitalizes on the power of integrated media technology.
Based on several years of empirical research at Peabody,
Johns Hopkins APL Technical Digest, Vo lume J3, Number 4 (1992)
this program mediates instruction in word recognition
and decoding as well as the comprehension of text passages on contemporary adult topics that are presented on
videodisc. The students interact with portions of the
program through a voice-recognition device. An animated tutor guides the instruction and provides feedback to
the students via a digitized human voice. The program
tracks individual student progress and adjusts the instruction accordingly.
Lane T. Hauck
San Diego, Calif.
SAM is a display device that allows nonverbal users to
communicate using Morse code by means of a single
switch. Originally designed for use by persons with
cerebral palsy, the device is compact, portable (it uses
four AA batteries), and inexpensive. Messages entered via
the switch appear in a twenty-character scrolling display
with large, easy-to-read letters. A special feature of the
device is that the actual timing of dots and dashes of the
Morse code can be extremely "sloppy" and yet still be
recognized by the device.
Eric Lippke
Kirkland, Wash.
person's telephone receiver. The user reads the words on
the Tonetalker display. No other computer, device, or
special telephone is required, and Tonetalker works with
any telephone. Voice communication is not affected.
Joaquin Vila and Kathleen M. Ahlers
Normal, Ill.
The purpose of this project, called Read-My-Lips, was
to develop a system to enhance the speech-reading abilities of the hearing impaired. The system helps instructors
teach the fine nuances of lipreading through an interactive
multimedia approach. The system consists of three multimedia instructional modules: (1) Read & See, a series
of stories and games that highlight new vocabulary; (2)
Babel, which shows front and cross views of a human
face synchronized with the outputting of sounds; and (3)
Fingerspelling, which allows the student to request any
word or number to be finger-spelled.
Guy Eddon
Fairlawn , N.J.
LessonMaker is a tool for creating talking interactive
student lessons. It was developed to augment communication and is easily modifiable to meet a student's changing needs. LessonMaker enables a teacher to create custom graphical talking templates for use by students. The
SkillBuilders series is a collection of premade talking
lessons that are created using LessonMaker. Teachers can
use the SkillBuilders as they are, edit them, extend them,
or create their own lessons.
Danny's Rooms is a multimedia game intended for
autistic people that helps focus a user's attention through
the use of graphics, music, and animation. The program
uses a touch screen to allow direct access to the computer.
It also incorporates digitized photographs and voice capabilities to allow the student to see and hear familiar
people. One of the special features of this program is that
the student retains complete control of the program at all
times and does not require any assistance in choosing or
playing the games.
James S. Lynds
Bountiful, Utah
Dillip M. Emmanuel
Glenn Dale, Md.
The Dynamic Asynchronous Remote Computer Interface (DAReI TOO) is a device that gives people with physical disabilities the ability to control personal computers.
By connecting DAReI TOO to a computer's keyboard and
a user-selected input device, it can provide complete
access to the computer. The input device can be a joystick; single, double, or triple switches; an expanded
keyboard; or the controllers used with the Nintendo video
game. DAReI TOO can be controlled by joystick code,
Morse code, scanning, or expanded keyboard. Timing is
adjustable so that this device can match the abilities of
people with virtually any type of physical disability.
This device is a customized internal modem (half card)
that brings state-of-the-art telecommunication access to
the deaf. It consists of a package that includes software,
hardware, and a user manual. The entire work is the
product of a deaf engineer who has dedicated several
years to its research and design. Although this modem
addresses mainly the problems of the hearing impaired,
it also has some functions designed to assist the visually
impaired and can be interfaced with several braille software packages.
Carol J. Sanford
Jupiter, Fla.
Tonetalker is a low-cost, portable, hand-held, batterypowered device. Used with a telephone, it enables a
hearing-impaired person to see messages sent from any
Touchtone phone. Tonetalker has a display and a microphone on a suction cup that attaches to the telephone
receiver. The hearing-impaired person needs only the
keys on a push-button phone to spell words to the Tonetalker device, which is connected to the hearing-impaired
f ohns Hopkins APL Technical Digest, Volume 13, Number 4 (1992)
Larry R. Goldberg
Boston, Mass.
The Caption Center (eC), working closely with the
National Technical Institute for the Deaf and Tripod,
proposes to use the multisensory properties of captioned
television in an innovative and highly motivating manner.
The project, called CC School, employs deaf children's
linguistic competence in American Sign Language (ASL)
to improve their competence in English. Instead of watching captioning, students write captions to translate ASL
stories. The design of the project requires students to
Winning Entries in the f ohns Hopkins National Search
consult, in an active way, English language resources,
such as dictionaries, as well as their own growing knowledge of the English language. Throughout the captioning
process, an instructor or media aide provides ongoing
dialogue and feedback.
are then displayed on a computer monitor. It can be used
as a lipreading aid that supplies supplementary information to normal lipreading by allowing the "listener" to
perceive gestures that cannot be seen, such as velar closures that occur in the back of the mouth, for example,
"g" and "k" sounds. Another important application is
as a therapeutic tool for speech disorders. The device
works on the basis of a neural network that maps the
relationships between speech sounds and articulatory
This computerized, voice-activated, electrical stimulation system can help to restore limited hand functions and
enhance mental and motor capabilities of quadriplegics,
persons with brain injury, or mentally retarded persons.
The battery-powered system consists of a laptop personal
computer, a Medtronic neuromuscular stimulator, and an
interface device. The Medtronic stimulates paralyzed
hand muscles through electrodes placed on the person's
forearm. The interface device contains a Covex voice
recognizer and a simple switch circuit. The computer
system recognizes a user's verbal commands and then
turns either on or off the channels of stimulation accordingly to control different hand functions.
Say & See is a software program designed to improve
articulation for the hearing impaired and persons with
speech deficiencies. In response to speech input, the
software displays an animated midsagittal picture of the
user's vocal tract on a Macintosh II in real time. The
computer screen can be split so that the animated display
produced by the user can be compared alongside a phoneme snapshot of the idealized vocal tract position.
Christopher Hannemann
Peapack, N.J.
Robin J. Japins
Overland Park, Kans.
Many of the students at the Matheny School use electronic communication devices . These students need to
access their communication devices with the same
switches they use for operating their wheelchairs. They
also want to be able to access their televisions, VCR'S,
lights, and Nintendo entertainment systems with these
same switches. Multi-Controller is a wheelchair-based
environmental control unit that provides these capabilities in a central location. A custom lap tray will house
the display and a programmable infrared controller. The
displays are interchangeable, and the function of the controller can be adjusted by changing an EPROM. Thus, if
the needs of the student change, the system can be easily
Tri-Page is an example of emerging communication
technologies now available to the deaf community that
address their problems of unemployment and underemployment. This software allows a Telecommunication
Device for the Deaf (TDD) to access and leave messages
on alphanumeric pagers. The deaf person is alerted to the
receipt of messages through a vibrator in the pager. TriPage can bridge the communication barrier of bauds and
ASCII, making traditionally incompatible devices accessible to each other.
Vicki L. Hanson and Carol A. Padden
Yorktown Heights, N .Y.
HandsOn is an educational application designed to
improve the literacy skills of deaf students. Using students' existing competence in American Sign Language
(ASL), HandsOn seeks to promote the acquisition of literacy via the cooperative use of ASL and English. Through
the use of interactive video technology, students can
switch between English and ASL versions of the same
story while engaged in reading and writing tasks. HandsOn has been tested for usability and effectiveness with
elementary-school-age children in the United States and
Canada, and testing will soon begin in Europe with languages other than English.
Judith G. Hochberg, Francis Laroche, Simon Levy,
George Papcun, and Timothy R. Thomas
Los Alamos, N.M.
This computer-based device uses a speaker's acoustics
to infer tongue and lip motions during speech, which
Sandra E. Hutchins
San Diego, Calif.
Paul J ubinski
Seattle, Wash.
The goal of the Virtual Tactile computer display
(VIRTAC ) is to provide an affordable means for a blind
person to run and interact with publicly released, industry-standard software for MS-Dos-compatible computers.
The hardware provides a virtual tactile display window
that allows the operator to explore text displays in a
braille mode and graphics displays in a direct tactile
mode. This design requires no modifications to the computer or to the software being run.
Arthur Kaufman and Lloyd H. Woodward
Bethesda, Md.
This rugged, wearable smart card, PlusTag, contains
64 K of data formatted to carry a patient's medical record.
With the aid of MAGIC (Medical Applications Graphic
Image Compression), the PlusTag can be programmed to
hold the patient's last X ray and electrocardiogram as
well as nine full pages of text. The tag can be embossed
with the person's name and identification as a medical
alert device. This life-saving tool can be worn around the
neck like a dog tag or carried on a key chain. PlusTag
is intended to aid persons who, because of their disabil-
J ohlls Hopkins APL Techllical Digest. Vo lum e 13. Number 4 (1992)
Winning Entries in the f ohns Hopkins National Search
Itles, are unable to supply medical information about
themselves in an emergency.
Chris McCanna and Rama Olrech
Salem, Oreg.
Medicine Manager is a software program designed for
people who need to take prescribed medicine but have
problems remembering to do so. It will help people achieve
the maximum benefit from their medication by sounding
a computerized alarm when medicine is due. The program
allows a person to enter up to five different medicines and
can handle the most commonly prescribed frequencies,
that is, one, two, three, and four times per day.
Andrew R. Mitz
Kensington, Md.
Severely retarded children often fail to understand the
fundamental concepts of language. Having them touch
photographs to obtain toys, food , or other objects is a
valuable educational approach that can be augmented by
a device that "speaks" the meaning of the photograph
with a recorded voice. For some children, the voice feedback is essential for progress. WeeTalk is an electronic
device that records or plays back a voice expressly for
this purpose. It obviates the need for computer-based and
other expensive solutions by employing recently introduced analog EEPROM technology. Verbal feedback can
now become an affordable tool for those who need it.
Dennis W. Mountford
Colorado Springs , Colo.
This sound analyzer for the hearing-impaired displays
the volume and frequency of sounds. In addition, it has
a continuous noise detector for smoke alarms, burglar
alarms, alarm clocks, and other devices . Because it is the
size of a beeper, the user can take it along wherever he
or she goes to "see" sounds.
Vera H. Saliba-Pruznick
Mountain View, Calif.
The Braille Tutor (BT) program teaches braille to both
blind and sighted people. It runs on IBM pc's and uses six
of the home-row keys as braille dots 1 through 6. With
BT, a person can learn to write in three braille codes and
practice reading any braille material.
Michael J. Socha
Tecumseh, Mo.
This versatile and inexpensive computer keyboard has
a simple, reliable interface and a modular design that
allows ergonomically correct one-hand (left or right)
touch typing. Or it is possible for a person to design a
configuration with simple, off-the-shelf, do-it-yourself
Jeffrey Szmanda and William Szmanda
Milwaukee, Wis .
The Health Care Keyboard is divided into three sections that adjust independently into an infinite number of
Johns Hopkins APL Technical Diges(, Vo lume 13 , Number 4 (1992 )
positions. Thus, the keyboard accommodates people with
particular requirements for each hand, those requiring the
use of a head wand or mouth stick, and those who have
suffered cumulative trauma disorders .
Gerald Wasserman, Brian Berndt, and
Bruce Bresnahan
W. Lafayette, Ind.
Loss of auditory receptor cells in the cochlea causes
deafness. Surgical treatment with artificial ears (cochlear
implants) recreates certain properties of normal hearing.
The essential concept behind the Purdue Artificial Receptor (PAR) is that it recreates the normal signal processing
of auditory receptors. Controlled experiments have demonstrated that PAR processing improved speech perception in every nerve-deaf patient studied. It is currently
implemented in hardware as a single-channel, batterypowered, portable, real-time, digital-signal-processorbased computer that simulates natural receptor cell function. Future multichannel PAR'S will add spectral information to improve pitch perception.
Mary Sweig Wilson, Bernard J. Fox, Daryl White,
Brent Magnant, Timothy Welch, Scott Simon, and
Steve Peery
Hinesburg, Vt.
The Words & Concepts Series consists of six related
programs for training and entertainment. Words & Concepts I, II, and III provide training; Concentrate! On
Words & Concepts I, II, and III provide reinforcement
and use of the same words in a game format. Each of the
three Words & Concepts training programs uses a core
vocabulary of forty words in six related language instruction activities: vocabulary, categorization, word identification by function , word association, and the concepts of
same and different. The Concentrate! programs allow
users to practice their new skills in a game format, playing either alone or with a companion.
John W. Barrus, Michael Cassidy, and
Krisztina Hally
Cambridge, Mass.
This pen-shaped, bar-code-reading wand connects to
a telephone. Using the wand, one can quickly place an
order for groceries out of a bar-code-filled catalog and
then have the groceries delivered. The wand is easy to use
and can be leased for $3 per month. People who have
difficulty leaving their homes or who have speech impairments can use the wand to interact with supermarkets,
banks, and other organizations, thus increasing selfreliance.
David J. Griffiths
So. Sutton, N.H.
Schoolcraft is a collection of large-character programs
grouped by common themes; Math 1 is representative of
the series. The quadruple-sized screen and print charac-
Winning Entries in the f ohns Hopkins National Search
ters allow children and special-needs students to focus
their attention and may provide a significant cognitive
advantage. Math 1 provides several modules, from interactive to hard copy, each limited to the elementary
operations +, -, x, and -7- on positive integers up to
32,768; levels of difficulty vary.
Matthew L. Israel, Lisa Ruthel, Michael Bates, and
N ancianne Smith
Newton Centre, Mass.
Little or no software has been designed for use with
severely developmentally disabled people, and even less
that can be used in a truly self-teaching mode. In addition,
because such students often lack communication skills
(many cannot speak normally), they are often unable to
take standard hearing or vision tests. Behavior Research
Institute has designed, tested, and implemented software
for this population that teaches communicating by pointing to pictures (the key skill in using a communication
board), beginning reading, typing from dictation, beginning mathematics, and skills to enable vision and hearing
David 1. O'Neill
Dorchester, Mass.
An electronic magnifier is frequently used by the partially sighted to enlarge documents. Because of the incompatibilities between the enlarging unit and video
adapters, two different monitors must be used, one display to enlarge hard-copy materials, and the other to view
computer video. This problem can be overcome by interfacing the enlarging unit with multiple computer video
adapters using a single monitor.
1. Conrad Schwarz, Carolina Herfkens,
Susan Beaumont, and Richard Hefter
Storrs , Conn.
The Optimum Resource Reading Program (ORRP) is the
first remedial reading program for the personal computer
that employs both speech synthesis and voice recognition. Designed specifically for learning-disabled students, its special features help to compensate for the
phonological deficits found in most reading-disabled
people. The ORRP comprises nine lesson modules of
voiced tutorials, exercises, and instructional games to
teach word decoding and reading skills. Because students
can operate ORRP with a minimum of supervision, this
software system allows teachers to serve more students
needing basic instruction in reading.
Marc D. Simkovitz
Brighton, Mass.
Visually impaired computer users need a simple solution to allow seeing and using the vast range of text and
graphics programs on a personal computer. Large-print
DOS (LP-DOS) is a software package that can run on any
personal computer or laptop; it can be used anywhere: on
the job, at home, or at school. Once loaded, LP-DOS mag-
nifies text, spreadsheets, educational software, and video
games. It is also the first product to support the Microsoft
Windows environment, opening the world of Windows to
people with low vision.
Mary Sweig Wilson and Bernard 1. Fox
Hinesburg , Vt.
The Early Vocabulary Development Series consists of
three receptive vocabulary training programs and three
expressive communication programs using the same
words. After students learn the nouns and verbs in First
Words, First Words II, and First Verbs, they are introduced
to Talking Nouns I, Talking Nouns II, and Talking Verbs,
where they can actively use Early Vocabulary Development words to communicate. The programs combine highquality speech output, colorful graphics, animation, accessibility, and teacher control to meet the needs of children
and adults with mental retardation, language-learning disabilities, physical handicaps, and autism.
Barbara Couse Adams, Mary Sweig Wilson,
Bernard Fox, Robert Winchester, Steve Peery,
Cole Tierney, and Chris Barrett
Winooski , Vt.
My House: Language Activities of Daily Living is a
software program designed to help children and adults with
communications impairments understand and express the
language they are likely to encounter in their daily routines.
Four different activities are designed to increase the understanding of the labels on various objects and the functions
of the objects. Each activity can be carried out within six
scenes that represent typical rooms in a house: bedroom,
bathroom, dining room, kitchen, living room, and utility
room. Selections can be made using the TouchWindow,
keyboard, or single switch.
Marion Blank, Mary Sweig Wilson, Thomas
Bradshaw, Robert Winchester, Bernard Fox,
Elaine Ducharme, and Chris Barrett
Tenafly, N.J.
The Sentence Master addresses the critical problem of
difficulty in learning to read or inability to learn to read.
By combining insights from linguistic research with the
advantages of the computer, it successfully reaches students for whom traditional instructional methods have not
worked. It uses innovative, motivating, self-paced materials to lead students to master language skills and enables those students who have been devastated by their
reading failure to succeed in a novel way.
Arthur Boothroyd, Laurie Hanin, Eddy Yeung, and
Oi-Yu Chen
New York, N.Y.
This video game was designed for speech perception
testing and training of hearing-impaired and learningdisabled preschoolers. Requiring only that the user understand the concept of object permanence and the ability
to point, it is suitable for children as young as three years
Johns Hopkins APL Technical Digest, Volume 13, Number 4 (1992)
Winning Entries in the f ohns Hopkins National Search
of age. The child pursues an animated toy through a series
of scenes, using hearing (or sensory) aids to identify its
hiding place. Attention and compliance are encouraged
by interesting events (contingent on correct response)
and, at the end of a run, by the emergence of the screen
character as a real toy that can be taken home.
Rosamond R. Gianutsos and Aaron Beattie
Sunnyside , N.Y.
The Elemental Driving Simulator (EDS) is a low-cost
simulation of the information processing demands of
driving. It is intended for use by persons with cognitive
deficits, including those with head injury and stroke survivors, as well as by the elderly. The system helps the user
to identify driving problems and prepare for intervention.
Self-judgments are contrasted with norm-referenced
measures of steering control, reaction time, adjustment to
changes, self-control, and consistency. The EDS operates
on MS/Dos-compatible computers with a color graphics
adapter, and it features machine-independent timing accurate to hundredths of a second. Its steering wheel, tum
signal, and gas pedal are interfaced through the joystick
or game port.
John D. Nolander, Dwayne Allain, and
Thomas Welch
Hypercard applications for the Macintosh provide a
powerful tool in assisting disabled persons. This entry
maximizes the use of Hypercard and the intuitive nature
of Macintosh interface to provide a business information
management system for learning-disabled, severely
dyslexic, and functionally illiterate persons. Icons , voice
overlays, and consumer involvement in development
create a comprehensive, functional business information
management system. The approach is readily transferrable to assist persons with other types of disabilities in
handling business and life management activities. Development was sponsored by New York State Office of Vocational Education and Services for Individuals with
Disabilities, and the computer architecture and programming were supplied by volunteers.
T. V. Raman and M. S. Krishnamoorthy
The aim of this project is to demonstrate a software
prototype that enables a person to identify figures and
curves on a computer monitor using sound cues. This can
be contrasted with a screen reader that interprets only
ASCII text.
Kurt S. Thorn
Wading River, N.Y.
A measuring cup for the visually impaired announces
the volume of liquid it contains in metric or English units.
This cup contains an alarm that enables the user to pour
a specified volume. When the cup contains less than the
set volume, it says "low"; when it contains more than the
j ohns Hopkins APL Technical Digest, Vo lume 13, Number 4 (/992)
set volume, it says "high"; when the user is within 10 ml
of the set point, it says "okay." The pitch of the voice
drops as the user approaches the set volume to indicate
how much more must be poured. The cup is accurate
to 4%.
Douglas L. Chute and Scott A. Quillen
Devon, Pa.
Speech Ware 2.0 is a speech prosthesis for people with
communications and motor disabilities. It runs on a
Macintosh computer and provides user empowerment
over synthesized and digitized speech, telephone and
print communications, and household environmental
control. A variety of input devices, including single-click
operations, are supported, and SpeechWare can be customized to the user's cognitive and physical abilities.
Mark Friedman and Richard Lombardi
Pittsburgh, Pa.
This microprocessor-based guidance system can automatically give a verbal reminder about prescheduled activities, monitor the user 's progress to appropriate destinations in a building, give directions to the destination
that are appropriate to the user's current location, verbally
prompt the user through activity sequences at the site, and
automatically call for human assistance if the user fails
to reach the site. Using internal clock and transponder
subsystems, this aid, which is worn on a belt or a pendant, can offer verbal assistance either automatically or
on demand.
Daniel M. Goodman
Brinklow, Md.
The Arcade Access is a wheelchair-accessible pinball
machine system that offers a therapeutic and recreational
environment for people with spinal cord injuries, neuromuscular disorders, brain injuries, and other disabilities.
It provides a highly motivating, nonthreatening, and selfesteem-reinforcing platform for teaching motor and progressive task-oriented skills; it also helps to develop attention spans. The Arcade Access allows people with a
wide variety of physical abilities to compete on an equal
basis, encouraging positive interactions and building relationships by breaking down barriers. The system can be
operated either manually or by infrared remote control
through joysticks, touch pads, sip-and-puff modules, or
virtually any controllable part of the body.
Carl J. Jensema
Silver Spring, Md.
A computer board and attachments were developed to
translate audio signals of a personal computer into visual
or tactile cues. The device works on any IBM-compatible
personal computer. Its purpose is to offer deaf persons
equal access to computers by use of an inexpensive plugin board to translate the pc 's audio signals into a visual
translation. The display is via a ten-segment frequencyto-light display.
Winning Entries in the Johns Hopkins National Search
Thomas M. Kepple
Bethesda, Md.
The Move3D software uses data obtained from motion
measurement systems to provide quantitative analysis
and three-dimensional graphical displays of human musculoskeletal motion. Its purpose is to aid in the understanding of a variety of human motion disorders, thus
leading to recommendations and improvements in clinical interventions. Currently, rheumatoid arthritis and
post-polio syndrome are the primary patient populations
for which the software is used.
Gary J. Kiliany
Allison Park, Pa.
The Dyna Vox gives persons who are unable to speak
the ability to communicate. It incorporates a 10-in. LCD
graphic display, a touch panel, high-quality speech output
(nine different voices), and custom, dynamic display software tailored to the nonspeaking population. Users can
ac~ess the device through its touch panel , by external
switches, or with a joystick. The Dyna Vox then speaks
the message selected by the user in a high-quality synthesized voice.
Bernard C. Pobiak
Washington, D.C.
The Reader Project developed an electronic system of
book publishing and reading for print-disabled users. The
single-volume book files have the full function and accessibility of the corresponding printed book. The user
can read the book files in his or her preferred medium
to jump instantly to the original printed page numbers and
sections, to leave personal "bookmarks" and notes and
to jump to and from the original table of content; and
ind:x. The software can be fully adjusted to any adaptive
devIce. Each user has a unique key device, and the books
are uniquely encrypted for each key, thus eliminating the
economic ramifications of pirating.
Hamid R. Arabnia
Athens, Ga.
~ disable? person using this novel computer input
devIce can gIve commands to a personal computer without touching any physical device (i.e., no keyboard or
mouse). The system receives input through a pc-based
charge-coupled-d:vice (CCD) camera that is built on top
of the DOS operatmg system. The major components of
the input device are a monitor, an image-capturing board,
a CCD camera, and software. These are interfaced with a
st~ndard IBM-compatible PC running under the DOS operatmg system.
Anthony Bailey, Michael Bollinger,
Keith Christian, Lynn Earnhardt, and
James U rq uhart
Orlando, Fla.
The All Children's Playground is a place where chil?ren can learn about abilities, not disabilities. The design
I based on encouraging and promoting the interaction
and interplay of handicapped and able-bodied children.
The playground was designed for children with physical
disabilities by students of computer-assisted design for
the disabled at Valencia Community College. Because the
students are themselves physically disabled, they were
able to use their own experiences to determine what
would constitute a functional playground.
Donna J. Crowley, Philip J. Grise,
Mary Sweig Wilson, Bernard Fox,
Elaine Ducharmy, and Thomas Bradshaw
Sopchoppy , Fla.
One of the hardest skills to teach readers, especially
hearing-impaired and learning-disabled students, is the
concept of main idea. The Readable Stories Series comprises three programs designed to help early (grades
1-2) through intermediate (grade 4) readers derive a main
idea from a story as well as increase their comprehension
of subordinate details. Each story employs graphics, text,
speech, and animation to engage the reader in a highinterest, action-oriented, multisensory experience. Stories can be presented at three levels of linguistic complexity. Reinforcement or corrective feedback follows the
responses , and error responses are analyzed to facilitate
subsequent instruction.
Cindy L. George
Lexington, Ky.
The Posture Monitor (PM) is a computer-based device
designed to support persons who, because of neuromuscular difficulites, have limited physical control for maintaining appropriate posture. The PM addresses the problem of maintaining proper trunk alignment by persons
seated in wheelchairs, thus providing a seated position
~at offers greater functionality and enhances physiologI~al processes, such as respiration, circulation, and digestion. The PM consists of a microprocessor-controlled
mo~itoring . device, a sensor, an earphone, a remote signaIlIng devIce, and support software. Potentially it could
be used as an automated means of monitoring and training proper alignment behavior in a variety of settings and
Vincent L. Haley
Raleigh, N.C.
~he Ac~ess Power-Pointer is a chin-controlled input
deVIce deSIgned to make personal computers accessible
to people with spinal cord injuries but who have full use
?f their head and neck. The device is positioned directly
In front of the monitor and extends over the front edge
of a work surface. A platform tilted at a 60-degree angle
supports the keyboard in an optimum position for data
entry by a wheelchair-bound user. To operate this prod~ct, the user wheels up to the workstation, takes a position
In front of the computer, and rests his or her chin in the
c?in rest. To select and input data, the user simply pivots
?IS. or he~ ?ead and the pointer will follow. When the tip
IS In pOSItIOn over the desired key, the user has only to
puff lightly to activate the powered tip and depress
the keys.
Johns Hopkills APL Technical Digest. Vo lume 13, Number 4 (1992)
Winning Entries in the Johns Hopkins National Search
Richard G. Long
Lilburn, Ga.
This orientation device can aid blind or visually impaired persons to achieve independent mobility. By integrating existing technology in global positioning and
computerized mapping databases, it describes to the user,
via voice output, the user's CUlTent location and the route
to a specific destination.
Ann R. McNeal and Dennis McLain
Raleigh, N.C.
The Reservation Readiness Training Project (RRTP)
was created to give persons with disabilities a competitive
edge when applying for jobs in the travel industry. Based
on the Projects With Industry concept, RRTP offers specific vocational training and is guided by a business
advisory council made up of employers in the travel
industry. Besides providing training on a simulated computerized reservation system , the RRTP provides four
weeks of classroom instruction in communication
and interpersonal skills, computer use, city and state
code memorization , stress management, and job-seeking
Marco K. Nielsen and Bent Givskov
Tampa , Fla.
MarComm is a computer program that was designed
to help severely speech-disabled or physically disabled
persons to communicate; it also makes writing easier for
people with dyslexia or limited vision. This word-processing software is flexible and easy to use and has adjustments for users with different disabilities. The type
is clear, easy to see, and large so that work can be done
from a distance from the screen. Use of the program has
been made as easy a possible, and only brief instruction
is needed. On-screen help is also available while the
program is running.
computer that greatly enhances the capabilities of two
otherwise simple input switches (left and right eyelids,
open or closed) to a more complex scheme of sequenced
switch pulses. The prototype EWCI was designed to control a powered wheelchair.
Jacqueline L. Berg
Evanston, Ill.
The purpose of Express Yourself Artistically (EYA) is
to provide profoundly retarded persons with a vehicle for
learning and for enjoying artistic exploration in real-time
media. Biofeedback provides the tool for creative control.
Three activities are included in EYA: Design Your Image
uses live video effects; Directing Music plays instruments
and sounds; and Spiral Animations rotates two sine waves
into spirals. Via the editor, exercises can be custom designed, and in the file folders, changes in the editor are
permanently stored. The graphs function is a real-time
graphical display of signal movement for critical signal
Charles Merbitz, Leora Cherney, and
Hanspeter Marqui
Glen Ellyn, Ill.
The Communication Analysis System (CAS) computer
software assists the clinician in providing effective and
efficient rehabilitation treatment for persons with aphasia
or language impairments after stroke or brain injury. It
provides automated recording, filing , and graphing of
functional (behavioral) data so that the clinician and
patient have objective, accurate, timely data displays with
which to organize and manage therapy; thus, treatment
activities can be regulated to achieve maximum progress.
Communication to other professionals and to families is
enhanced. The model provides absolute measures of behavioral function; like inches or meters , the data are
directly comparable across rehabilitation disciplines,
functions, and disabilities.
Sheryl S. Ranson
Kurt F. Smith and Victoria E. King
Tallahassee, Fla.
Columbus, Ohio
The Isabel system is a software program designed to
expand career opportunitie for persons with physical or
sensory limitations. The system has two major files: a
physical demands file containing detailed information on
180 occupations and an assistive devices file containing
information on a variety of assistive devices. The system
allows the user to compare his or her physical capacities
with the physical requirements of occupations of interest.
If a discrepancy is found between an occupation 's requirements and a person 's physical capacities, the system
enables the user to search for assistive devices that might
eliminate the problem.
A key challenge to organizations assisting persons with
mental retardation or developmental disabilities in the
workplace is the counting of pieces produced. In response
to a need to record 500,000 cosmetic packages as they
were sorted, a counting device was designed to count
pieces automatically as they were dropped into cardboard
boxes. The device totally eliminated the need for hand
counting and paid for itself on this project alone. On a
second project, it was used in conjunction with a sewing
machine motor to produce automatically rolled, consistently sized lengths of plastic stripping. The potential
for this proven counting device in the work setting is
Robin Shaw and Everett E. Crisman
Tampa, Fla.
Timothy J. Van Antwerp
The Eye-Wink Control Interface (EWCI) is an input
device based on the timed closings of either one or both
eyelids and is intended for use by persons with severe
motor impairments. Integral to the unit is a dedicated
Benton Harbor, Mich.
J ohns H opkins A PL Technical Digest . Vo lLim e / 3. N Limber 4 (1992)
This hands-free, voice-dialed cordless telephone is
typically for use on a power wheelchair by a quadriplegic
person. It offers true handset-quality communication, and
Winning Entries in the Johns Hopkins National Search
voice programming is not required. Phone activation is
under the complete control of the user.
Karen L. Wilt and Paul E. Wilt
Ann Arbor, Mich.
The Cued Speech Teacher-Tutor Translator computer
program interacts with a speech synthesizer to display the
hand shapes, hand locations , and mouth formations used
in Cued Speech which uses fourteen hand positions and
shapes to repre ent the forty-one phonemes of the English
language. Anything keyed on the computer would be
translated into Cued Speech equivalents with graphics.
David A. Fisher and C. Ward Bond
Baton Rouge, La.
This invention is a single-handed chord system that is
based on braille and compatible with the Bat chordic
keyboard. Use of this system provides speed, accuracy,
and protection against developing carpal tunnel syndrome. The chords are analogous to standard braille cells,
and the system has access to full 256-character ASCII.
Computer users who are blind or who have use of only
one hand will fmd the system especially useful, and both
English and computer braille are provided for users who
are blind or engaged in English-to-braille transcription.
Mark I. Bresler
Oklahoma City, Okla.
The Tamara System was developed for people who are
unable to move, speak, or control their surroundings
without human or technical assistance. The Tamara System is a wheelchair-mounted control unit that uses a
microprocessor, which is configured for each user. It
directs control signals to the power wheelchair, speech
output communicator, environmental control, computer,
and telephone. One switch is used to move among the
controls for mobility, communication, environment, and
telephone. Depending on the user 's level of ability, a
proportional input or a single switch is used to control
the operation of the selected device. Programming within
the microprocessor assists the user by prompts and programs to speed and simplify operation.
James K. Kennedy
Round Rock, Tex .
This ratiometric blowpipe has an LCD display for data
entry. A pressure transducer is used to characterize the
force and frequency of the input pressure, and a microcontroller reads the pressure transducer and then drives
a two-line LCD display and interface to the Pc. The user
advances the characters slowly by applying low pressure
and rapidly with high pressure. The top line displays the
characters to be selected, and the bottom line shows the
mode of operation, that is, numeric, upper case, lower
case, function keys , and so on. The unit can be calibrated
to the user 's ability.
the average person. For blind people, however, the revolution has been slow and expensive. Although several
brands of four-function talking calculators have appeared
during the last fifteen years, a talking programmable
scientific calculator was either unavailable or available
only at a high cost (about $500.00 for a specially built
calculator). This portable interface converts the infrared
printer output of an off-the-shelf HP28 series scientific
calculator to spoken English.
Brian P. Melton
Houston , Tex.
The Speech Aid Device (SAD) was designed for use by
vocally impaired persons who have the use of at least one
hand to communicate freely. The user spells the desired
word or phrase to be spoken using a hand-held keying
device and then signals the SAD to process the input data
for speech. The only training required is to learn the
positioning of the fingers for each letter of the alphabet.
In extreme cases, the hand-held keying device and finger
positioning can be modified to fit the user 's hand.
Wayne L. Schmadeka and Gerry Woelfel
Houston , Tex.
LitTech combines software and audio cassette tapes for
teaching reading and related skills. The program is individualized, multisensory, mastery-oriented, and cost-effective. It is appropriate for students from the preprimary
through ninth-grade levels. LitTech uses one on-site computer to generate individualized lessons for many students each day. Each lesson is a set of worksheets with
an accompanying audio cassette. The computer program
handles placement, prescription of remedial lessons
(based on weekly mastery testing), and report generation
so that the teacher is largely free to encourage and assist
David E. Altman
Lincoln, Neb.
Use of the Mechanically Actuated Rotary Linear Adjustable Arm (MARLA) will allow a physically disabled
person to adjust the height and angle of his or her computer monitor by means of a switch. The switch mechanism can range from a sip-and-puff switch to any kind
of microswitch.
Robert D. Gunn
Beatrice, Neb.
A single-action switch with the necessary BASIC subroutine was developed so that physically limited, mentally retarded adults would have access to the computer and
computer programs designed specifically for each person. This was possible through the modification of computer joysticks for use with the Commodore 64 computer
Martin G. McCormick
Stillwater, Okla.
Glenn Nielsen and Gregory G. Harvey
Columbia, Mo.
The development of the electronic calculator has revolutionized simple arithmetic and higher mathematics for
Braille and audio-recorded materials cannot meet the
information needs of the blind population. The goal of
f ohns Hopkins APL Technical Digest, Volume 13, Number 4 (1992)
Winnin g Entries in the Johns Hopkins National Search
Interactive Talking Books is to provide reference, educational, and leisure reading materials to the blind and
visually impaired on CD-ROM disks. The program employs
a simple-to-use and inexpensive consumer CD-ROM platform to provide indexed reading material spoken by a
computer or recorded human voice. The user would have
a simple remote control that responds to spoken menus
to select the material of interest.
Theodore W. Cannon
Golden, Colo.
The inventor has developed special software to enable
his 18-year-old, cerebral-palsied son to communicate
using a speech synthesizer, monitor, and printer. Either
codes or the words themselves are entered via a keyboard
with a heads tick. The system is unique in that the encoded
word information is read into the communication program from a database file. Individualized database files
are easily generated, edited, listed, and analyzed using the
features of database software such as Appleworks database or DBase.
Theodore W. Cannon
Golden, Colo.
This personal computer system can be installed on a
power wheeelchair to provide full-time computer access
by a wheelchair user with special needs. The computer
system, which can be powered from the chair's battery,
includes a keyboard, printer, text -to-speech system, and
small monitor.
David A. Detary
Lakewood, Colo.
The Pi Vu (pie view) Flash Reading Technology is an
interface between a computer and its user that presents
text information, either one word or several words at a
time, through a fixed window on the computer screen. In
this way, complete thoughts and ideas can be communicated to persons with limited vision, slow comprehension, or limited movement; it can also be used by deaf
persons. The user controls all aspects of the information
displayed: content, size, speed, and direction of travel
(through the keyboard, mouse, or joystick hardware).
Individual control allows the user to receive the electronic
information at the speed and size best suited to his or her
needs and ability.
Kelli C. Foster
Orem, Utah
Daisy Quest is an interactive software program designed to evaluate and train phonological awareness,
which is defined as awareness of the phonological structure of the words in one's language. Studies have shown
a strong relationship between phoneme awareness and
success in the beginning stages of reading and that training in this area will reduce the incidence of reading
failure. As children use Daisy Quest, they master specific
skills while searching for a dragon named Daisy, who
likes to play hide-and-seek. Daisy Quest is a highly
interactive program that presents material via high-quality digitized speech as well as graphics without text and
Johns Hopkins APL Technical Digest. Vo lume 13, Number 4 (1992)
accepts input from children via a mouse. A tutorial for
each skill is included as part of the program. After completing the tutorial, the child can demonstrate mastery of
the skill by moving to another area of the program and
answering specific questions.
George Kerscher
Missoula, Mont.
The research and development department of Recordings for the Blind (RFB) has established a protocol for the
production of computerized books from publishers '
source files. Print-disabled people would thus have access
to information on a PC , readable through synthetized
speech, enlarged print, or electronic braille. Mathematics
and science books are particularly targeted for this type
of production.
Zan Merrill, Bill Sanderson, and Bryan Snow
Logan, Utah
The purpose of SHARE (Ski*Hi Acquisition and REtrieval) is to give efficient access to information on a
variety of topics associated with persons with disabilities.
It provides professionals, care givers , and families with
the necessary information for interactions with persons
with disabilities, ranging from daily activities to designing a state-of-the-art curriculum or lesson. Briefly, the
system works by acquiring information through standard
library and publication resources; the information is then
read, categorized by topic, and entered into the system.
Marlo E. Schuldt
Orem, Utah
A small, easy-to-use, portable, inexpensive electromyograph (EMG) was developed to measure minimal
muscle recruitment of multiply handicapped persons with
the purpose of allowing them to interact, using a single
switch or a personal computer. This system provides the
handicapped with exciting new opportunities to improve
learning capabilities, enhance leisure time, enrich lifestyle, and provide opportunities that existing technologies do not offer.
Steven B. Smith
Powell, Wyo.
The designer's goal was to aid a friend who is blind
and has a neurological problem that has caused him to
lose all fine motor control. The friend is unable to walk,
his speech is very difficult to understand, and he has only
limited use of his hands. The device is a Macintosh-based
speaking word processor and musical instrument. Because the user is unable to use a keyboard, input is provided via two large joysticks. The word processor is also
used as a communication device. Any musical instrument
digital interface can be played via the joysticks, and the
range is four octaves.
W. Chapin, J. Kramer, Cathy Haas, L. Leifer, and
Elizabeth Macken
Stanford, Calif.
TeleSign is a natural language telecommunication
system for deaf and other speakers of a sign language
Winning Entries in the f ohns Hopkins National Search
(such as American Sign Language) that enables real-time
telephone communication. It operates on a 32-bit portable computer system with standard modem communication capabilities. TeleSign consists of an instrumented
glove worn on the dominant hand of each signer. The
glove measures the position and motion of the fingers. In
addition, an absolute position and orientation sensor is
worn on both wrists of each signer. The finger, hand, and
wrist data from one signer are used to construct a dynamic three-dimensional image in second-person perspective
on the computer screen of the other signer. On the screen
the image moves in front of a drawing of a human head
and torso to reflect the actual relative position of the
signer's hands and arms.
Ronn J. Cooper
Dana Point, Calif.
The CooperCar was designed for use by children with
severe and profound disabilities. It uses a Sears-provided
battery-operated spin system (BOSS) six-wheeled vehicle,
a conversion kit, an adaptive seat (like a Tumbleform),
and either a specially designed joystick or any of the
numerous commercially available switches. The type of
switch is determined by the ability of the child. Because
of the variety of disabilities, many supervisor-selected
features are included. There are seven speeds, two accelerations, two supervisor overrides, and a timed mode for
children who are unable to maintain contact with their
switch or joystick.
Norm Crozer
Canoga Park, Calif.
Vocabulary Enrichment computer software provides
deaf adults with an opportunity to increase their vocabulary by up to 900 words. The learning process occurs
without an instructor, as the computer teaches the vocabulary, provides contextual practice with the new words,
and administers each test. Furthermore, each student
can proceed at his or her own pace. Over the last five
years, deaf students from several California community
colleges have begun the series knowing an average of
approximately 14% of the words in the series and have
completed the series knowing approximately 98 % of
the words.
William A. Gerrey and John Brabyn
San Francisco, Calif.
A large part of installing computer systems involves
proper interfacing between the computer and its various
peripheral devices; both hardware adjustments and software configurations are involved. Various programs use
speech and tone signals to provide the blind computer
technician with information to configure peripheral software drivers. Devices for testing the hardware data and
hand-shaking lines are traditionally visual, however, often displaying their indications via colored lamps. The
Smith-Kettlewell audible breakout box gives the blind
technician nearly instantaneous indications as to line
levels and changes; by quickly scanning them with audible logic probes, lines can be categorized by their commitment, and their functions can thus be inferred.
Cynthia A. Keller
Livermore , Calif.
The purpose of the Readman is to help deaf persons
to function more independently in public places, for
example, tourist sites and museums. The Readman consists of a computer-controlled digital disc wired to a pair
of glasses. The Readman is similar to a walkman with an
audio tape and headphones, except it projects words for
the deaf to read. The user would look at the object of
interest, rather than at a person to lip-read or to read sign
language. The Readman could also be used in movie
theaters, on airplanes, and at theatrical performances.
Marshall Raskind and Neil Scott
Woodland Hills , Calif.
Sound-Proof is a screen-reading and speech synthesis
system designed to provide persons with learning disabilities with a multimodal means of reviewing text on a
computer. Sound-Proof consists of two key elements: (a)
a high-quality speech synthesizer available as a plug-in
PC half-card, a small external "speech box" or laptop
module; and (b) a screen review software program that
enables the user to select text on a computer screen and
to hear words spoken as they are simultaneously highlighted. Sound-Proof works with any MS-DOS text-based
program. Review functions are controlled by the computer's keyboard or mouse.
William R. Ard, Jr. , Susanna B. MacDonald,
James Stephen Newton, and Shawn Michael Boles
Eugene, Oreg.
The Neighborhood Living Project Decision Support
System is a menu-driven, interactive software program
that helps providers of community-based residential services for persons with developmental disabilities to make
decisions to improve the lifestyles of the program 's participants. It allows staff to input lifestyle outcome data
regarding participants' valued activities into a computer
and subsequently to produce reports based on those data.
The reports are used at weekly staff meetings to monitor
the progress of each participant with respect to his or her
Individualized Habilitation Plan and to schedule preferred valued activities for the upcoming week.
John A. Bailo
Seattle, Wash.
The purpose of this device is to enable hearing-impaired users of Microsoft software to receive software
support. The result will be the integration of the hearing-impaired caller into the general call distribution and
tracking systems.
Johns Hopkins APL Technical Digest, Vo lume 13. Number 4 (1992)
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Gary J. Carnemolla
Portland, Oreg.
The Braille Emulator is a braille word processor that
is divided into two main parts: the menu and the environment. The menu is where many basic document defaults may be preset; it gives access to built-in DOS utilities and allows altering the translator through the easily
modifiable typical and problem word list. The braille
environment has more than thirty utilities and three primary modes of input: six-key, direct (ASCII braille equivalents), and auto-translation. A document can be viewed
either as simulated dots or as ASCII characters.
Jim A. Hood
Mercer Island, Wash.
Shareware software teaches basic computer skills in
areas such as computer history, DOS , keyboard, buying a
new PC, viruses, word processing, spreadsheets, computer
reading list, and more. It can be mouse driven for disabled
users. Shareware is useful for job training of disabled
William B. Loughborough
Goldendale, Wash.
This economical, interactive system for reading computer screens and files provides entry-level computer access to blind or visually impaired persons. It is useful in
early reading training of developmentally disabled and all
print-handicapped persons.
Johns Hopkins APL Technical Digest, Vo lume 13, Nlimber 4 (1992)
William Ludlum, Diana Eastburn-Ludlum,
Mark Houston-Ludlum, and
Genevieve Houston-Ludlum
Hillsboro, Oreg.
The Opti-Mum System is an easy-to-use software program designed to aid persons with a variety of visual
deficiencies that affect the reading and learning abilities
of children, for example, brain-damaged and low-vision
(legally blind) people. The Opti-Mum System consists of
ten programs that have proved effective in developing and
improving the visual skills and abilities of children and
persons who have a loss of visual perception, a lack of
visual memory, or the inability to process information.
The Opti-Mum System is used to tutor the basic visual
functions essential to the progress of reading and learning. It helps to develop hand-eye coordination, eye movement and tracking, focusing, and two-eyed coordination.
James B. Olsen
Portland, Oreg.
Using this computer program, a student can enjoyably
review any language. The teacher enters the language, a
quick and easy process that can be done minutes before
the student uses the lesson, if necessary. Because the
sentences can have any subject, length, and difficulty, the
lesson can be adjusted for any student or group. A student
sees a sentence, erases it, then reproduces it by typing a
few characters: the first letter of each word, other characters specified by the teacher, and punctuation. The time
required for each lesson is recorded.