Broader Significance & Importance The GARDE proposal will develop customized solutions for North Dakota State University (NDSU) students (preferably veterans), faculty, and staff with disabilities. Each year, an average of 4 groups of 2-4 students each will work closely with an individual with a disability, through NDSU Disability Services in collaboration with the NDSU Nursing Department, and when applicable, the North Dakota Interagency Program for Assistive Technology and the City of Fargo, to develop practical and applicable solutions to resolve issues that are affecting a specific veteran's academic progress and societal reintegration. In most cases, a group will be entirely composed of NDSU Electrical and Computer Engineering students; however, when appropriate, students from other departments, such as Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering, may also be part of a group.
Customized solutions for specific individuals with disabilities will be developed by groups of undergraduate students following a rigorous design process that includes (i) Requirements Capture; (ii) Analysis; (iii) Design and Testing; and (iv) Validation. Because the developed solutions may also hold value for other persons with disabilities, each group will adhere to the following five design principles: (i) modularity, (ii) adaptability, (iii) cost-effectiveness, (iv) efficiency, and (v) ease of use. This will enable the end-products to be utilized by a larger consumer base. Therefore, provisions have been made to maintain the product at a level that can guarantee longevity.
Intellectual Merit The developed technologies can be classified as: -- Projects that address a unique need for a specific student or type of student, such as: a) Book Reader Application with Voice for Students with Depression and Anxiety Disorders b) Auditory Enhancement System for Partially Deaf Students c) Voice Enabled Smart Vending Machine d) Voice Activated Door Openers for Students with Quadriplegia e) Custom Computer Keyboard for Veterans with Reduced Motor Skills -- Generic technologies to support students who are (for personal reasons) not registered (or do not want to register) with the NDSU Disability Services Department, such as Speech to Overhead Text Display. -- Projects that employ novel paradigms, such as social networking, smart phone applications, and cloud computing, to build awareness and help connect students with disabilities to other such students, such as: a) Interactive Academic Supportive System for ADD/ADHD b) Behavioral Control Training Application for Asperger Cases c) Route Information System for Visually Impaired Students d) Automated Cloud-based ADD/ADHD Assisting System
These solutions will reduce dependability and will assist users with life in general, which will help with reintegration into society. Provisions have been made to enable the proposed GARDE program at NDSU to become self-sustaining by: (i) closely working with the City of Fargo to deploy the developed GARDE products to North Dakota elderly care facilities, when appropriate, and (ii) presenting the most promising technologies at the Innovate ND competition, which is a talent and venture capital competition rolled into one.
Broader Impacts The products and solutions developed will directly benefit disabled veteran students to help them succeed academically and better integrate back into society. Products that can be commercialized will benefit local, regional, state, and national economies. The engineered solutions may also help in developing course content covering design principles.