A Customized Artificial Communication System for the Physically Handicapped
This project is merely a stage in the creation of a computer system. In a previous stage, a developmental prototype was designed and built by the Artificial Language Laboratory at Michigan State University. Developed seven years ago, the model utilizes Programmable-Read-Only-Memory integrated circuits and a first generation voice synthesizer integrated circuit (VOTRAX). The entire system is controlled by a foot-operated joystick. As an enhancement, a foot-controlled motorized wheelchair has also been incorporated. Innovations in engineering and the need for expanded memory capabilities necessitated the second stage, known here as the "working model". This Senior Individualized Project focuses on the construction of the working model. The second stage model was the outgrowth of the concepts and basic circuit connections of the first generation system. Tom Rehwoldt designed the entire system and coordinated this project. Guy Clawsen was responsible for assembly language programming, including the terminal assembler and self-maintenance programs. Jim Brooks, utilizing the first generation computer system and its link to the APPLE computer, is responsible for all programming, including the program responsible for initiating speech synthesis, all voice synthesizer programs for all words and phrases, and all joystick parameters. Stanley Gilbertson modified the existing joystick with which Jim Brooks operates the computer, and built the second generation model of the joystick. Finally, I built and tested all custom cables and assembled printed circuit boards, (but not the Advanced Interactive Microcomputer (AIM 65), itself. I was also responsible for formalizing design sketches for the joystick and written documentation for the entire computer system.
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