The proposed effort is aimed at the development and evaluation of a wireless electronic location system for reporting the location of individuals with autism and other cognitive disabilities, who may wander or elope. This is a very vexing and routine problem for caregivers, and sometimes results in physical and emotional danger to the individuals who may wander. The system consists of an innovative wearable electronic navigation unit, which reports the position of the individual continuously to the caregiver, both i indoor and outdoor locations, irrespective of GPS coverage. This unit is specially designed for addressing the complicated issue of arbitrary pedestrian motion in unstructured indoor and outdoor environments. The system can also be integrated with other community and national safety networks (such as Amber Alert), and can be valuable in quickly locating individuals in emergency situations. In Phase I, we evaluated a preliminary device in a focus group of parents, teachers, autism risk management professionals, and researchers. We gathered refined user requirements, usability recommendations, and information on additional desirable features, resulting in a refined hardware/software design. In Phase II, a refined set of devices will be buil, and tested in larger user groups, and finally, in a wide scale pilot test program. Next, a final design will be generated, and a pilot fabrication run will be completed to verify that the design i ready for manufacturing at launch. A parallel (non-SBIR) effort is underway to build relationships with, and educate patient advocacy groups and user groups about this system, as part of the commercialization strategy.
Individuals with autism and other cognitive disabilities (such as Alzheimers) tend to wander or elope from their caregivers routinely. This is a very vexing problem for caregivers, and sometimes results in physical and emotional danger to the wandering individuals. The proposed electronic location reporting system consists of a wearable electronic navigation unit, which reports the position of the individual continuously to the caregiver, both in indoor and outdoor locations.