CreateAbility strives to be at the forefront of progressive evidence-based research so we can create products that that continually open possibilities for the people we have a heart for.
The projects below summarize a portion of the emerging research and development that CreateAbility has been cultivating alongside some of the best minds at major universities, companies, and organizations. They have been funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR).
Each research project follows the same process before being brought to market.
- Phase 0 (zero): This is where preliminary research on the idea takes place. We get an understanding of the problem we are trying to solve and how our solution could improve the lives of the people that use it.
- Phase I (one): Here is where we determine the technical feasibility of the idea. This phase answers the questions: Do we have the technology at our disposal to even do this? Will people want this?
- Phase II (two): This phase is the heavy lifting of production such as building the software and hardware needed to accomplish our goals.
- Phase III (three): Commercialization is the final step in the process. Projects with this label are available as a product either through CreateAbility or a trusted partner.
A large portion of our research is already being used in our own products and some will be made accessible over time. If you are interested in research that has not yet been made commercially available, click the button below the project and you will be added to our early adopter list and made aware when the product is available.
We will only use this information to make you aware of when the product is on the market. You will not be added to an ongoing mailing list.
HomePortal was commercialized as the product name ‘Back to Independence’, as it helps older adults with age-related eye diseases, or survivors of a traumatic brain injury that resulted in visual impairments, to return to independence. Back to Independence adds voice command options to help the resident control their environment, as well as verbally monitor the status of things such as door positions, what appliances are on, and how much more time is needed on their food.
Back to Independence can include many more sensor and control module devices. The system is based on the evidence-based research and development funded by NIDILRR’s Phase II SBIR program, under grant number: 90BI0022, titled: “HomePortal – A Universal Home Environment for Individuals who are Blind or Have Visual Impairments.”
Appliances can be plugged into special wireless modules that are controlled by a central hub. This hub is then linked with an Amazon Echo to facilitate voice control of things such as TV remotes, Microwave ovens, space heaters, lights and fans.
An optional connection to CreateAbility’s cloud helps others know that the resident is safe or alerts them if not.
Please see the solutions tab on ‘Back to Independence’ for more information.
My Emotional Compass
The ability to control your own emotions is something people often take for granted. For some, like those with a traumatic brain injury or autism, this is more difficult. The first step to controlling emotions is understanding and labeling them which is what My Emotional Compass is designed to do.
The initial project, funded by NIH, helped people better recognize and label their emotions with a traditional workbook and laminated pages that were used in therapy sessions.
The findings were then made more interactive through an app to help patients with a brain injury improve their ability to recognize and label their emotions as they recall a situation. This matures their ‘emotional IQ’ and accelerates the healing process.
Funded by: NIH, RHI
Although rural seniors are living longer, they frequently require ongoing support from caregivers and medical professionals to make that possible. However, this is often difficult due to their low-proximity to healthcare, and the frequency of having sons and daughters who don’t live close enough to provide care.
Rural-Health-Mate supplies solutions to these problems and extended the capabilities of our Independence Keeper system to support older adults in rural settings.
Funded by: USDA 8.6: Rural and Community Development
The WhenWear Advisor helps supervisors of people with an intellectual disability (ID) in job settings. While people with ID have shown success using prompting technology, an obstacle for their supervisor is often the complex process of recording and adjusting the prompts and instructions. WhenWear Advisor dramatically simplifies this task by helping these supervisors search a nationwide source of pre-built instructions and tailor or adjust selections for specific needs.
The prompter and cloud services, called MeMinder, are available now from CreateAbilty. The WhenWear prompter is available through SourceAmerica.
Funded by: SourceAmerica, NIDILRR
Phase II (under review)
The Mobility Coach assists patients after an orthopedic surgery return to mobility and function through a comprehensive tele-rehabilitation system. This research and development led to physical therapy companies assisting rural patients with their remote exercise tracking where proximity to physical therapy is a challenge.
CreateAbility has teamed with orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists to continue the research and development aimed at advancing how technology could help people accurately perform their exercise therapy after knee or hip replacement.
Funded by: USDA 8.6: Rural and Community Development
HearingCompanion is system that helps people to be aware of critical sounds in their environment. The target audience is people who are deaf or people who have profound hearing loss.
The capabilities of HearingCompanion were integrated into the commercialized “Independence Builder” system, as optional components. This product is based on evidence-based research and development funded by NIDILRR’s Phase II SBIR program, under grant number: H133S080075, titled: “HearingCompanion, a Handheld Portable Sound Identification and Critical Alerting Functionality for People Who Are Deaf or Have Hearing Loss.”
A special app runs on any Android device that serves as an identification and warning, that identifies the sound. This app is wirelessly connected to a small server (smaller than three decks of cards) that resides in the home or workplace environment. This server connects with various commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) sensors.
Please see the Independence Builder product, under the solutions tab, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for ordering instructions and details.
SoundAlert was commercialized as the product name Independence Keeper. Independence Keeper became the foundational core of CreateAbility’s sensor-based product line, and is based on evidence-based research and development funded by NIDILRR’s Phase II SBIR program, under grant number: H133S060109, titled: “SoundAlert – A Centralized System Capable of Alerting People Who Are Deaf or Hearing Impaired to Critical Sounds in Their Environment.”
A series of discrete wireless sensors collect information on the safety and security of the home. These sensors detect vibrations, loud noises, plus typical appliance usage and door openings. A wireless base station analyzes this information and then prompts the individual via special terminals distributed throughout the home. A connection to the cloud helps others know that the resident is safe or alerts them if not.
Please see the solutions page on Independence Keeper for more information.
VisionARI helps people who are blind or have visual impairments to more easily navigate indoor facilities that block GPS signals. VisionARI was the research and development name of a Phase II SBIR project funded by NIDILRR, under grant number: H133S100084, titled: “A Navigation and Object-Location System to Assist Blind and Low-Vision Individuals in Indoor Environments.” Maps consist of reference locations and step-by-step instructions on how to navigate to a desired location.
These maps were initially delivered via a special mobile App that was commercialized in 2010. Since that time, the team received feedback that virtual maps could be embellished by the inclusion of sounds and high contrast photos of specific reference points and require a public repository. The research and development in the VisionARI project have been converted to navigational scripts and sequences delivered by CreateAbility’s MeMinder App. MeMinder works best with the Android screen reader, but also is compatible with experienced individuals who prefer Apple’s Voice Over.
A special “Navigational” group within MeMinder’s public repository includes a growing set of scripts to a variety of places, such as popular disability-oriented national conference locations, National parks, and larger indoor shopping malls. Specific examples include the ATIA conference venue: Caribe Royal Convention Center and Hotel; RESNA’s favorite location at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City Hotel and Conference Center; and the National Mall in Washington DC. Beyond the one-time $74.95 App cost, there is no additional cost associated.
Please email email@example.com for instructions and details.
To ensure that people who cannot use their hands are able to maintain their independence, CreateAbility designed and developed HEADLAMP, a central control unit that connects and syncs existing technologies, controls devices and performs commands using voice commands, a tablet, or smart glasses. For these individuals, tasks that require fine motor skills and precise use of hands and digits, like adjusting a thermostat, using remote controls or appliances, often require support. Additionally, severe physical disabilities may reduce mobility within the home.
HEADLAMP will help users seamlessly interact with electronics, home systems, participate in everyday activities, communicate with caregivers, and live more independently.
While awaiting future funding, many of the voice-controlled aspects have been integrated into the Independence Builder system, and are available. HEADLAMP will also enable the user to wear Augmented Reality glasses to better understand and interact with their environment.
Funded by: NIDILRR Phase I
Phase II (under review)
Recent studies have concluded that exercise can significantly slow the symptoms of degenerative neurological diseases. Naturally, these must be done correctly for the individual to receive the benefits and minimize the risk of injury.
NGAGE is a system for people with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) or other degenerative neurological diseases designed for Neurological Guidance, Assessment, Goals, and Engagement (NGAGE). This research and development are made possible through the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), as part of their Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) Phase II grant.
The current prototype is available in two configurations.
- A series of wireless 9-axis accelerometers track precise movements by the patient as they follow on-screen exercises and prompts them if they need to adjust their motions.
- PunchBak – A portable interactive punching bag for people with Parkinson’s Disease who subscribe to the principles developed and instructed by Rock Steady Boxing. People with PD literally punch back at Parkinson’s.
By engaging in the built-in gamification features, PunchBak enables the person with PD to enhance their health, by literally slowing the disease progression. The concepts and principles behind PunchBak have been developed from evidence-based research at Rock Steady Boxing.
With PunchBak, people with PD feel better both physically and emotionally, which enables them to maximize their participation in community living.
PunchBak will include the inflatable punching bag, wireless punch sensors, Amazon Fire tablet, and PunchBak App. A connection to WiFi is required. Either water or sand can be used in the bottom of the bag to give it ballast.
Funded by: NIDILRR
My Skills Coach
My Skills Coach is a mobile and cloud-based tool to help individuals with an intellectual disability (ID) who also have behavioral health problems. They interact with an avatar of their choice as they engage in exercises defined by their therapist or clinical staff. This creates a strong foundation by allowing the individual to practice skills while they are in a calm state.
The preliminary research and development for this project led to enhancing the Mobile Avatar Coach project and is currently under review.
Funded by: NIDILRR
Phase I (under review)