1 out of 10 people worldwide are affected by learning disabilities and the most common one is dyslexia. Dyslexia lowers student self esteem and these students are 3 times more likely to drop out of school and 2 times more likely to be suspended than that of their general education peers. As well as making learning to read and write more difficult for individuals, it also affects their families and the surrounding community.
We aim to help these students by creating an Augmented Reality program that will help them better keep up with their peers. Our team's concept features an AR headset worn by a user that tracks the words they write onto paper. If there is a misplaced or invalid character, the headset would highlight that character and help them correct the mistake, thereby allowing identifying weaknesses and creating immediate feedback. Unlike current market products which only detect syntax and spelling errors, our device also will use machine learning to detect characters that have been written incorrectly, which is an error many people with dyslexia struggle with when learning to write. Another shortcoming of current products is that they only analyze handwriting after the user has finished writing an entire sentence. Team ART plans to implement a LIVE handwriting correction system to create a more intuitive experience.
We plan to follow the design thinking process to best create a product that helps our intended user base. We first plan to empathize with children with dyslexia to better get a feel of their experiences and how they can be improved. Because children with learning disabilities is a protected population, we plan on doing this by interviewing their parents, teachers, doctors, and other adults who interact with these kids on a daily basis. After we understand our target market, we will define the scope of the problem and ideate potential solutions. With a clear problem statement in mind, we will begin prototyping our ideas and end by testing them to see if they bring about the positive impact we desire. We will use an iterative development model though so we can continue making improvements on our design as we work our way through the design thinking process.
Challenges We Faced/Potential Future Challenges
Some challenge we faced during BitCamp was our limited knowledge on how to use Unity and Tesseract which will be the basis of our project. Because of this, we spent the hackathon learning these tools as opposed to programming the project itself. Some future challenges we might face though are in regards to the ethics of this device, proving a statistically significant quantitative increase in writing ability, and how to overcome lag to provide real time feedback. We also might face challenges with the compatibility of the different software tools we use to build this assistive device so it will have to be something we are mindful of moving forward.
What We Learned/Will Lean
During BitCamp, we gained more experience working with Unity and Tesseract so that we can implement our program. By gaining the technical skills necessary to implement this project, we can hit the ground running when we acquire a HoloLens to build this device. Furthermore, we will learn more about the design thinking and research process so that we make the best product to meet the consumers needs.
We came into BitCamp with the preliminary research done on this project. During our time here, we focused on learning how to best use Unity for the rendering we will need to do and Tesseract for the image processing component. Because we plan to continue working on this project over the next 2 years we are at UMD, we are willing to wait for customer feedback since it will ultimately better aid the design of the device. By the end of this semester, we are hoping to send out surveys to gather feedback from the target market. We will continue working to develop this device through all of next year and hope to test on participants in the year after. We plan to follow the iterative design process so we can continue to update and improve our device’s performance during the testing stages.