Web-Based Touch Display for Accessible Science Education
Award last edited on: 3/14/13

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Solicitation Topic Code

Principal Investigator
Christopher J Hasser

Company Information

Immersion Corporation (AKA: High Techsplanations Inc~HT Medical Systems Inc)

2999 Ne 191st Street Suite 610
Aventura, FL 33180
   (408) 467-1900
Location: Single
Congr. District: 24
County: Miami-Dade

Phase I

Contract Number: 9860813
Start Date: 00/00/00    Completed: 00/00/00
Phase I year
Phase I Amount
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project from Immersion Corporation will lower barriers that blind and visually impaired students experience in science education. Electrostatic fields, aerodynamics, molecular attraction, and mechanics are examples of undergraduate topics that intensively utilize visual media such as plotted data, computer graphics, and illustrations. Immersion has developed low-cost computer mouse capable of force display. This mouse will enable students to feel forces generated by simulations of these phenomena, turning inaccessible abstractions into tangible reality. The proposed work will develop enabling software for Internet force feedback and will apply it to a demonstration module designed for blind and visually impaired students. A team of blind scientists and educators will evaluate the application over the Internet. The next phase of the research will continue enabling software development, concluding in-depth assessment of outcomes using visually-impaired novice learners, and it will expand implementation to multiple educational sites. This project will provide essential steps in integrating persons with disabilities into Word Wide Web based learning technologies. While a number of investigators have examined the potential for mapping visual information to the sense of touch, to date, these have not proven commercially viable. Immersion's proposed touch surface, however, has the potential to meet accessibility needs of the blind and visually-impaired while achieving volume economies through mass-market appeal.

Phase II

Contract Number: 9983472
Start Date: 00/00/00    Completed: 00/00/00
Phase II year
Phase II Amount
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project from Immersion Corporation takes advantage of an opportunity to turn an emerging mainstream computer technology into a universal accessibility tool. During Phase I, researchers at Immersion Corporation and at Oregon State developed enabling software technologies for Web-based force feedback and put them to use by designing a physics computer laboratory module. The module allowed students to actually FEEL forces while holding a simulated charged particle in an electric field, take data points, and then feel a plotted curve using prototypes of a force feedback mouse. Such mice have received excellent reviews from mainstream users who enjoy the ease-of-use and excitement of feeling GUI objects and computer feel effects and have met with enthusiasm from blind users, who require the best touch interfaces at the lowest cost. Phase II will expand the enabling technology, curriculum, and evaluation work begun in Phase I, and it will add interaction with accessibility software developers. Enormous potential exists for accessibility research to push the cutting edge of force feedback technology and for accessibility applications to take advantage of mass market economies of scale, creating a true universal accessibility success story. Over 110 million computer mice are sold each year. Web-based applications will substantially drive the adoption of force-feedback mice. The proposed Internet force feedback innovations will accelerate market penetration. Development of educational applications will boost the market for accessible science education. The technology could also give a competitive advantage to screen reader companies.