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Improving the Communication Capabilities of People with Autism Who Use Assisted Typing Through the Use of Mechanical Devices

The goal of this project was to develop a system to improve the communication capabilities and eye-hand coordination of patients with autism. In general terms, the use of the system was as follows: a set of letters (targets) were presented sequentially or simultaneously on a screen. An eye-tracking system recorded the position of the subject’s eyes as they converge on the target’s spatial location. With the help of an assistive (phantom) device the subject’s finger was guided to the spatial position of the target.  The system was comprised of three parts: a) an eye-tracking system, b) a phantom device to which the subject’s finger was attached and which helped guide them to touch the target, and c) a software interface that coupled the two systems. This system aimed to improve subjects’ communication capabilities as well as subjects’ eye-hand coordination.