Planning & Execution
Leukodystrophy is a type of genetic disease in which the myelin sheath within the nervous system degrades, leading to difficulty moving and speaking. The goal of this project is to provide a way for someone with this condition to interact with various forms of media without human assistance. The top priority for this system is providing an interface to entertainment, which will likely take the form of electronic games. The solution will require detecting motions that are comfortable and repeatable for the customer and translating these motions into interactions with electronic media.
More detailed information is available in the
Project OverviewOne Page Project Summary
An overview of the project including:
- Project Background
- Problem Statement
- Expected Project Benefits
Strategy & Approach
- Assumptions & Constraints
- Issues & Risks
Project Plans & Schedules
Preliminary Meetings to Guide the Project
Initial Meeting With Customer: Needs and Possible Solutions (11/30/2012)
The following notes are from our first meeting with Aleks (the primary customer) and his mother, Anita. Going into the meeting, our goal was to determine what the customer's primary wants are, because the provided Project Readiness Package (PRP) lists several. We also wanted to learn about what type of motion is easiest for Aleks, and any type of interface that Aleks currently uses.
- Aleks LOVES Star Wars
- Aleks's favorite subjects at school are history, math and geography (Aleks loves maps and using GPS systems)
- Aleks's best friend is named Dwight
- Primary choices for Aleks's system are the control of a computer mouse and a Wii console (keyboard would be great)
- No motion is painful or harmful to Aleks, but frustration is an issue
- Aleks generally gives a thumbs up for yes or thumbs down for no
- Head motion and knee motion is a possible preference
- Computer at home is a PC (Windows 8)
- At school Aleks uses a smart board and devices similar to an iPad
- We can meet with Aleks anytime after 2:30PM or on the weekend anytime
- We can go visit Aleks at school in Brockport to see the devices Aleks interfaces with on a regular basis
- Aleks uses a "Vanguard 2" speech device which is similar to a Dynavox
- Aleks uses the same wheelchair all the time, the Vanguard device hooks up to the bottom
Meeting With Dr. Phillips: Available Resource (12/03/2012)Early in the project we were informed that we would have access to a "Kinetisense" motion tracking unit, and that this might be of help during the initial characterization of Aleks's motion. We contacted Dr. Phillips from the Electrical Engineering Department to get a hold of this equipment.
- Kinetisense is essentially a 3-axis accelerometer coupled with a three-axis gyroscope, with a portable data logging system
- We need to install software to obtain data from the unit (PC only)
- Data can be logged real-time via Bluetooth thumb drive
- The system is very expensive, SO BE CAREFUL
More information on the Kinetisense is available at the Great Lakes NeuroTechnologies webpage.
Meeting to Determine Customer Capabilities: Prelimary Testing (DATE)
Secondary Meeting With Customer: Better Understanding of Customer Needs (12/17/2012)Does Aleks have a TV in his room?
- Aleks does have a TV in his room, he is usually laying down in bed when he watches it
Does Aleks use his wheelchair in the house?
- Aleks doesn't normally bring his wheelchair inside
- It is ok, and might be better if he sits in his wheelchair while using the control system
Is Aleks getting a new wheelchair soon?
- Aleks is getting a new wheel chair, but not in the immediate future
- Any controls that attach to the wheel chair should be adaptable to the new one
Is there a specific video game Aleks likes?
- Aleks currently plays video games by watching his parents, and indicating what to do and what no to do
- Aleks like to play Lego Star Wars and Angry Birds
Meeting with Customer's Teacher, Speech Pathologist and Occupational Therapist (12/21/12)This meeting took place at Aleks's middle school in Brockport NY. Attending was Scott Dauphin, Betsy Fitzpatrick and Angela Gebbie, Aleks's teacher, speech pathologist, and occupational therapist, respectively. The purpose of this meeting was to gain insight about the current technology Aleks uses to interface with people and media. Preliminary ideas for control inputs were also discussed with Aleks's educators in order to gain feedback from people who work with him on a daily basis.
- Aleks currently uses a Vanguard speech device or SMART Board to communicate with the class
- Aleks hates using the Vanguard because he has trouble isolating a finger and navigating between the relatively small icons
- The SMART Board is better because of its size, but Scott must still help Aleks to navigate a pointer between icons
- The most challenging part of communicating with Aleks is that he is always limited to the options you provide him with
- Aleks uses a walker to exercise in physical education class
- Aleks has strength in his arms and legs, but he struggles with directional control
- Aleks has a hard time providing a gradient of pressure; his muscles seem to be either on or off
- Aleks is vocal, but not consistently
- Aleks may be obtaining a Tobii eye gaze communication device (see following notes)
Meeting with Customer and Tobii Representative (1/04/2013)Aleks is being given a four-week trial of the Tobii C15 communication device, a tablet PC with an integrated eye-gaze tracking system. This device will provide him with an effective means to control a computer and use it to communicate, play games, etc. The C15 is also capable of interacting with television sets via an IR transmitter. The ramifications of the likely future adoption of this device for our project are substantial. We sat in on the meeting with the Tobii company representative, Jeri Hoffman, and Aleks' educators at Oliver Middle School.
- Aleks hates the Vanguard 2 device because it is
frustrating for him to use, due to the small icons
- The Vanguard 2 uses a resistive touch display with a plastic grid overlay
- The Vanguard 2 has variable button size overlays, however Aleks does not like the huge buttons because then he only has four options
- The Tobii C15 appears highly effective as a control mechanism, and Aleks reportedly scored very well in an accuracy test performed previously.
- The C15 is a tablet PC running Windows 7 - however, certain features (including wireless networking) are locked down by Tobii so the device can qualify as a "communication aid" with Medicaid. These features may be unlocked later on for a trivial fee.
- Since the Tobii would be acquired through Medicaid, it would become Aleks' property, and would therefore be with him at both home and school.
- The C15 is a full PC with USB ports and other interfaces
- Tobii's software allows the user to use their gaze as either a mouse pointer or with an on-screen keyboard which features word prediction
- The C15 uses full-screen "pages" of various buttons and controls to provide options to the user; these pages may be created by anyone using the free "Communicator" software package available from Tobii.
- A refereed repository for these page sets is available at PageSetCentral.
- Available pages can control external devices such as a TV, DVD player, cell phone, etc.
- A standalone eye-tracking camera system is avaiable as the Tobii PCEye for $4000. This system may be mounted under any PC monitor.
- An OEM version of the PCEye called the Rex without the included software will be available to developers for $1000, and was announced at CES 2013.
- Tobii may be willing to lend the team a PCEye unit for development purposes
Teleconference with Anita and Dr. DeBartolo (1/09/2013)The purpose of this meeting was to adjust the customer's needs and project scope. The initial goal of the project had been to enable Aleks to use a computer, however, the Tobii provides this service exactly, so the scope was adjusted to satisfy alternative customer needs.
- Any system that is built for Aleks should utilize arm and leg motion, this will help keep his muscles healthy
- It would be nice for Aleks to control a source of entertainment (video games, physical games)
- Aleks currently owns Wii and Playstation 3 gaming system
- Aleks likes watching the family play the Wii sports package games
- Wii sports games that require minimal inputs, such as bowling or archery, could be compatible with Aleks's capabilities
- Aleks received an Android tablet (the Samsung Galaxy Tab) for Christmas
- The project scope might include fixtures to help
Aleks utilize the tablet for entertainment
- A brace to help isolate Aleks's finger
- A stand/bracket so that Aleks could utilize the tablet without assistance
- A variety of games is not necessarily a customer need, but multiplayer capability is important
- Aleks may be getting a new wheelchair next year; any system we create should not be dependent on his current chair
Conversation with Customer's Physical and Occupational Therapists (1/10/2013)The purpose of this conversation was to obtain input from professionals about what body motion would be beneficial to Aleks's muscle health. Aleks's Physical Therapist, John Kissel, and Occupational Therapist, Angela Gebbie, took part in the conversation.
- Aleks completes training sessions at school in order to keep his muscles healthy; these exercises are most likely more effective than motion for game control would be
- The project should focus more on social interaction and game control, rather than physical exercise
- Aleks seems to have good control over his knees, this could be a good source for input
- Aleks has less control over his legs and arms, hitting targets is hit or miss
- Aleks has limited control over head/neck motion
- Aleks was recently approved by Medicaid for a new headrest system
Team Norms & Values
The table above documents our team's primary values and expectations. This table is referenced during peer reviews to insure consistent scoring. The most important value of our team is commitment. A committed team will not only produce the minimum requirements, but also a functional product that will improve Aleks's independence and quality of life.