Murphy, Thomas H. (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Vol. 75, Number 1 (Oct. 1973)
The University, pp. 12-16 ff.
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. 14
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