Department of Veterans Affairs

Department ofDepartment
Veterans Affairs
Technology Innovations
for Persons with
Disabilities (TIPeD)
Mary Goldberg, MEd
Education & Outreach Coordinator
Jon Pearlman, PhD
Assistant Professor, RST, SHRS
Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Human Engineering Research Laboratories
of Veterans Affairs
Department of Veterans Affairs
TIPeD Program
Supplement ASPIRE & QoLT REU programs
-Support Product Development Projects
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Assistive Technology (can) help people live
independently & participate in society
But poor designs undermine the benefit
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Why Poor Designs?
Weak Regulations
User is
Reduced Funding
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How Universities Help
• Leverage Interdisciplinary Programs
• Work on grant-funded product development
• Develop & transfer technologies
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HERL Technology Development
• Commercialized products
• 3 patents awarded; 9 pending
• Established business
• Multidisciplinary faculty,
students, & staff driving
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RST Design Training Activities
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TIPeD Program Structure
• Interdisciplinary team
• Solicited ideas from faculty
• Develop project mission
• Determine commercial potential
• Feasible 10-week objectives
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Training Model
• Weekly team meetings + speaker series
• Objectives
– Technical: benchmarking & design revisions
– Business: market estimation & commercialization plan
• Deliverables
– Weekly updates (pechakucha style)
– Business Plan (Coulter or E-teams template)
– Slideshow (template)
– Elevator Pitch (REU req)
– Poster (REU req)
– MG Wells Design Competition
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• >20 primary students
• 12 Projects. eg.
Wheelchair Restraint System inside a bus
Low-cost diabetic footwear for developing countries
Smart controller for Power Wheelchairs
Smart Anti-Tip System for Wheelchairs
Kitchen Cueing Handle
Intelligent Drivers’ assessment system
Sidewalk Measurement Tools
Bed Scale
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Example Project: Bus Buddy
• Novel self-administered containment
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Navisection (Driver Evaluation)
• Objective measurement of drivers’
performance during training/evaluation
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Pathway Measurement Tool
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Program Highlights
• Bus Buddy
– Company: LINC Design
– Big Idea Design Competition (runner up)
– Funded SBIR
• Navisection
– Company: Navity, LLC
– NSF-ICORPS Team Grant
– Space/Support from Hustle Den (Incubator)
• PathMet
– Company formation (soon)
– NCIIA E-Teams
– Pitt Gear (Icorps-like) program
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Recommendations: Lit review
Use multidisciplinary teams
Helps train system integration,
increased responsibility, teamwork
and competition
Add projects to database
Helps with commercialization and
avoids repeated solutions
Disseminate Training Modules
Supports methods improvement
Apply for funding and publish results
Supports commercialization
Share information related to techtransfer and liability
Ensures that all parties are aware of
legal status of invention
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Recommendations: Program
Identify client through reliable clinical
Allows for transparency and trust with
client, full understanding of their
clinical needs
Allow for transparency between
instructors, client, and team(s)
Conveys expectations related to
frequency of communication and
liability with products
Use a process-oriented vs. solutionoriented product development model
Ensures students execute due
diligence and complete necessary steps
Use a project management software to
facilitate and archive communication
and outputs
Organize weekly objectives
Facilitate client interaction frequently
through in-person, phone, and online
More communication results
in better design
Department of Veterans Affairs
Recommendations: Program
Publish student designs on
Motivates students and enables
creativity, disseminates design
Integrate design competitions and
commercialization plans into
Interests potential investors and
teaches students about
Incorporate formal and informal
education opportunities
Increases’ students confidence to
tackle design problems
Department of Veterans Affairs
• Funding: National Collegiate Innovators &
Inventors Alliance Grant #7563-10, National
Science Foundation Grants EEC0540866 &
EEC0849878, Berg Center for Ethics & Leadership
• 2011 & 2012 students & mentors