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 in 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 will evaluate a preliminary device in a focus group of parents, teachers, autism risk management professionals, and researchers. This is aimed at gathering refined user requirements, usability recommendations, and additional features. Phase I will result in a refined hardware/software design. In Phase II, a refined set of devices will be built, and tested in larger user groups, and finally, in a wide scale pilot program. In Phase II, the final manufacture-ready design will be generated.
Individuals with autism and other cognitive disabilities (such as Alzheimer's) 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.