In this Phase I research Koronis Biomedical Technologies Corporation (KBT) will construct a system to improve mobility and transportation access for the cognitively impaired. The proposed system is intended to allow the cognitively impaired to use public transportation systems, community transportation and dedicated transportation services for the disabled with greater ease and safety. Individuals with cognitive disabilities are often unable to operate an automobile, or may require a prolonged recovery period before resuming driving. Public transportation systems represent a significant means to allow these individuals to maintain independence. Yet public transportation systems can pose significant challenges to individuals with cognitive impairment. The goal of this project is to develop a system to reduce these barriers via a technological solution consisting of components developed both for the cognitively impaired user and their caregiver or family member. Phase I efforts will focus on the completion of a system containing these two elements. The first component consists of a cognitive prosthetic device featuring traditional memory cueing and reminders as well as custom location-based transportation specific functions. This cognitive mobility assistant will leverage the computing power and GPS location determination capabilities of inexpensive, powerful smart phones. The second component consists of a management application which offers caregivers the ability to configure and program the reminder and transit functions remotely via the Internet. User interface development for the cognitively disabled population presents challenges to the developer. To ensure that the cognitive assistant will be usable by the largest user population a preliminary expert panel will be conducted to direct development activities. Following completion of the prototype system a pilot human test will be convened with cognitively disabled individuals and family members or caregivers to assess the usability and acceptability of both system components.
The proposed system will assist cognitively impaired users in their use of transportation systems by providing memory cues and transportation specific functions. By comparing their GPS based coordinate location with expected route coordinates obtained from geographic route databases, the system will provide time- and location-based reminders as well as detect mistakes. Using 3G wireless capabilities the system will offer the user real-time updates of the bus schedule using the increasingly common bus timetable reporting features offered in many metropolitan locations. The system will also provide a management interface to a caregiver that may be remotely located. This interface will allow the remote programming and configuration of the handheld system via the Internet reducing the user requirements. Finally, a real-time remote tracking feature will allow family members and caregivers to follow progress during transportation. The proposed system will provide individuals with cognitive disabilities more independence, safety and an improved quality of life.