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Murphy, Thomas H. (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Vol. 75, Number 1 (Oct. 1973)

The University,   pp. 12-16 ff.


Page 14


lievice Aids Handicapped
  A team of 16 UW students who
came up with a device to help handi-
capped persons communicate has
received a National Science Founda-
tion grant of $84,500 to continue
development of their project.
The team, consisting of engineering,
journalism, psychology, special
education, communication disorders,
and speech therapy students, is headed
by Greg C. Vanderheiden, Appleton.
It was organized as the Cerebral
Palsy Communication Group, with
experiments conducted in the College
of Engineering.
  In the past two years, the students
developed the Auto-Coin (WA, March
'73). This consists of a smooth, fiat
board with letters, numbers, and
punctuation figures printed on it.
Beneath the board is a sensing system
that is activated by a magnet con-
tained in a handpiece manipulated by
the handicapped person. When the
handpiece is pointed over a character,
the figure is reproduced on a portable
TV screen. Only minimal pointing
skills are needed to communicate;
the Auto-Coin responds even to
hesitant movements of the handpiece.
The unit also may be used with a
typewriter instead of the screen.
Currently the device is being tested
and evaluated at seven Illinois and
Wisconsin schools.
  During the one-year grant period,
the team will work to improve the
design of the device, and to produce
a final model that can be manufac-
tured and made available at modest
cost to schools, institutions, and the
estimated 10,000 persons unable to
speak or write in this country.
  In the works is a mount so the
board can be placed on the arms
of a wheelchair and used as a
lapboard when not in use. The students
also hope to develop an Auto-Coin
with more portability, using small
battery-operated transmitters mounted
inside the board to transmit signals
up to 200 feet to the output devices,
the controller, and the TV screen
or typewriter. For even more
portability, the students are working
on a model that has a miniature
printer built inside the board and is
battery-operated. This would produce
copy like a ticker tape.
  This is the second NSF award to
the group. Last summer it received
$16,340 under the foundation's
Student-Originated Studies Program.
NSF sees the project as an educational
experience for the students and an
opportunity to apply technology to an
educational need.
  Student members of the team
include:
Warren P. Brown and Mark J.
Spielman, Racine; Andrew M. Volk,
Corrine Bahr, and Paige G. Cousineau,
Madison; Deberah Harris, Brown
Deer; Claudia L. Scheibel and
Robert J. Norton, Milwaukee; Cindi
Lee Seuser, Delavan;
Dave E. Church, Janesville; Caron
Ann Harris, Miami Beach; Tom S.
MacDonald, Oshkosh; Dirk C. Robin-
son, Burlington; Gerald A. Raitzer,
Coon Valley; and Cheryl Ann
Thornsen, Wonewoc.
Faculty advisers are Profs. C.
Daniel Geisler, electrical engineering
and neurophysiology, and Leo Jedynak,
electrical engineering.
Sports Replay
   Sports fans can now relive the excit-
ing moments of the UW's 1972-73
winter sports season which included
a national championship by the
hockey team. Two films-the Wis-
consin hockey highlights entitled
"The Year of the Champion" and
the Winter Sports Highlight film-are
now available free to alumni clubs,
service clubs, church groups and
schools. The films are sponsored
by the Coca-Cola Bottling
Company of Madison.
   The Wisconsin hockey film is 17
minutes long and is a sound-and-color
recap of the Badgers' drive to the
national championship. Over half
the film is devoted to the exciting
come-from-behind overtime victory
over Cornell in the NCAA semi-final
game and the championship victory
over Denver. The color and sound of
the excitement in the Boston Garden
is captured in slow motion and instant
replay used by WHA-TV in their
coverage of the tournament. Other
film segments were donated by WMTV
in Madison. The film concludes
with the celebration by over 8,000
fans in the Fieldhouse as they
welcomed home the new champions
of collegiate hockey.
  The 1972-73 Wisconsin winter
sports highlight film recaps the
exciting moments of the Badgers
basketball, wrestling, swimming,
gymnastics and track seasons.
  Featured is the play of Wisconsin's
basketball twins Kim and Kerry
Hughes, outstanding wrestling by
Rick Lawinger and Ed Vatch as well
as the appearance in Madison of
450-pound Chris Taylor of Iowa
State and the Russian National team.
The 16-minute sound film also high-
lights the exploits of Big Ten fencing
champion Harry Chiu, records
broken by Wisconsin swimmers, and
outstanding track and field feats by
Glenn Herold, the Badger distance
runner, and Jim Huff, the
Wisconsin high jumper.
  The films can be obtained, for pay-
ment of postage only, by contacting
the UW Sports News Service, Camp
Randall Stadium, Madison 53706, or
by calling (608) 262-1811.
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