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Engineering Students Develop Assistive Technology Two-Way Communicator

September 12, 2012

Senior electrical engineering students James Branscomb of Cheyenne, Wyoming and Scott Rigg of Niwot, Colorado developed a two way system to enhance communication between individuals with hearing or speech challenges.   The system consists of two wirelessly connected keyboard equipped units.   When a user types their desired communication on one of the keyboards, the device outputs the communication stream as both text and speech for the other user to read as well as hear.  Branscomb and Rigg completed the project to fulfill requirements for their capstone senior design project.  Following graduation both stayed at UW to pursue masters degrees in electrical engineering.  Dr. David Whitman, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, served as the faculty advisor for the project.  The device was recently delivered to the Wyoming Institute for Disabilities (WIND).  WIND is a member of the national network of University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) whose mission is “to assist individuals with developmental disabilities, their families, professionals, and University of  Wyoming students through education, training, community services, and early intervention.”    The project was sponsored by a National Science Foundation Research to Aid Persons with Disabilities grant.  The grant is a joint effort between the College of Engineering and Applied Science and the Wyoming Institute for Disabilities (WIND) to fund senior design students to design custom assistive technology devices for challenged individuals.  Professor Steve Barrett serves as the primary investigator for the grant.  Project ideas may be submitted to him at

Photo Caption: Electrical engineering students James Branscomb (left) and Scott Rigg (right) deliver their two way communicator to Wendy Alameda, Project Coordinator Wyoming Assistive Technology Resources (WATR) and AgrAbility.


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