Development and Evaluation of the GIDEI USB Interface Device

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Title: Development and Evaluation of the GIDEI USB Interface Device
Author: Burkholder, Adam Bresler
Advisors: Stephen Bruce Knisley, Committee Member
Richard L. Goldberg, Committee Chair
Henry S. Hsiao, Committee Member
Abstract: Individuals affected by a variety of conditions, including progressive neurological disorders and strokes, frequently experience the loss of the ability to speak. Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices aid these individuals by utilizing speech synthesis technology to speak pre-programmed words and phrases as well as user-entered text. Many of these individuals have also lost a great deal of muscle control and range of motion, and are unable to operate a computer using a traditional keyboard and mouse. To facilitate the use of computers by AAC users, the General Input Device Emulating Interface (GIDEI) was developed by the Trace Research and Development Center at the University of Wisconsin. This communication protocol utilizes the standard RS-232 serial port, ubiquitous in computers at the time of development, and defined a standard method by which AAC devices were to emulate a mouse and keyboard. This allowed a standard set of drivers to be developed and implemented on almost any computing platform. However, because serial ports are largely being phased out in favor of USB and support for the GIDEI protocol in newer operating systems is poor, new methods are necessary to allow continued support of this functionality. For this reason, a USB 1.1 compatible human interface device (HID) was developed to act as a transparent bridge between AAC devices and personal computers. The device was evaluated for both its ability to adhere to requirements of the USB and GIDEI specifications and its ability to be effectively used by the intended population. To this end, two testing protocols were developed. The first was performed by the developer, and was designed to utilize every aspect of the GIDEI protocol. The second was performed by AAC users recruited from Duke University?s ALS clinic, and was designed to include most of the mouse and keyboard tasks utilized during normal operation of a computer. Nearly every step throughout four trials of each test protocol was able to be completed successfully. While further development is necessary, these results indicate that the device is a potentially viable solution for AAC users wishing to take advantage of GIDEI functionality to access current computers.
Date: 2008-11-15
Degree: MS
Discipline: Biomedical Engineering

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