Grant: $128,445 - National Science Foundation - Aug. 24, 2009
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Award Description: The aim of this proposal is to implement a highly focused program at The University of Texas at Dallas that enables seniors enrolled in senior design projects in the Department of Electrical Engineering (EE) to partner with clinical collaborators from The Callier Center for Communication Disorders and explore new ideas for improving access, integration and quality of life for persons with hearing disabilities. The Callier Center for Communication Disorders at the University of Texas at Dallas is a multifaceted, university based institution containing a large number of interdisciplinary programs. This effort will combine a unique blend of resources, personnel, and NIH-sponsored projects in The Department of Electrical Engineering and Callier Center for engineering seniors to understand the bases, treatments, and technology for persons with hearing impairments. Intellectual Merit The objective of the proposed design program is to encourage collaboration for senior engineering students with Audiology students, persons with impaired hearing, and research faculty to identify assistive technology needs and to collectively design new or improve upon existing assistive devices and technology. Most design projects will be identified based on the interaction between the engineering students and persons with impaired hearing under the supervision of Callier faculty and engineering faculty. Some design projects will be dedicated to improve ongoing clinical efforts and to support the training of audiologists. At the conclusion of the design sequence the engineering students will have experienced the most sophisticated techniques for evaluating hearing and auditory processing disorders and gained experience with advanced technology for reducing speech recognition deficits caused by hearing loss through completing an assistive hearing technology or equipment project. Broader Impacts Every year five senior design projects will be offered to Electrical Engineering students. We will include faculty and doctoral students from The Callier Center for Communication Disorders as clinical advisors on project teams. The students in this program will be asked to attend monthly seminars about ethics in medical research and regulatory process of medical devices. Potential projects include Bluetooth/Wi-Fi based assistive listening systems, hands-free Bluetooth interface for cochlear implants, portable software-defined cochlear implant processors, self-test system for hearing aid users, auditory training software on portable digital players, cortical auditory evoke potential (CAEP) recorder to auditory stimuli, and real-time signal processing system deployed in cochlear implants. Innovative student designs will be presented at engineering education conferences and published in engineering education or rehabilitation engineering journals. Upon completion of the project, students will have gained valuable experience in conducting research/development that will prepare them to continue on to more in-depth research opportunities in fields related to hearing impairments, or any other disability. The proposed program aims at producing engineers who will be able to pursue the next generation of research challenges in assistive technologies that will improve the quality of life of not only hearing impaired listeners, but of those with other disabilities in ways never before imagined.
Project Description: The objective of the proposed design program is to encourage collaboration for senior engineering students with Audiology students, persons with impaired hearing, and research faculty to identify assistive technology needs and to collectively design new or improve upon existing assistive devices and technology. Our project started one month ago and we recruited ten undergraduate students for the program. The students are divided into two groups each with a project. Project 1: Assistive Listening Device for Home People with a hearing impairment often complain that they do not enjoy watching TV or listening to music as much as they used to, and that switching from TV/radio listening to answering the phone is quite cumbersome and frustrating at best. This is because it involves switching cords, connectors and sometimes Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs). In addition, some ALDs confine users to a single room making it impossible for them to listen to music or talk on the phone while moving around the house. Project 2: Self-Test System for Hearing Tests. The project is to design a graphical user interface (GUI) as shown in Figure 3 on a portable digital assistant (PDA) that would allow users to self-test their ability to identify the 11 vowels in American English. This is an import test for hearing abilities. Snapshot below shows the 11 vowels embedded in the word /hVd/. Subjects click on Start to start the testing, listen to the stimulus (from the speaker) and identify the vowel by clicking on the corresponding word on the screen. The stimuli need to be randomized. At the end of the test, the program needs to be report how many vowels (% correct) did the subject identify correctly. The students recruited to this program will have a chance to develop engineering skills necessary in traditional and emerging medical electronics and prosthetics devices. We will report the status of the students' progress with design projects in the next reporting cycle.
Jobs Summary: As an institute of Higher Education, UT Dallas is principally engaged in educating students and performing research. The effect of this award is to support the university?s research enterprise. As the prime recipient, university has retained and/or created jobs in the following categories: Undergraduates, Faculty, Research Science Associate Assistant, Graduate Research Assistant, Post-Doctoral Fellows in accordance with awarded budget. (Total jobs reported: 0)
Project Status: Less Than 50% Completed
This award's data was last updated on Aug. 24, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.