Development Projects

Development Project 1: Demonstrating Knowledge Translation for Technology Transfer Outcomes to NIDRR Grantees

Objectives as Proposed:

Project D1 is accomplishing product outcomes from R&D while demonstrating KT for TT practices to NIDRR technology grantees. Project D1 has four Objectives:

1) Conduct original R&D in three technology focus areas, to identify, apply and validate the barriers and carriers to and effective practices for technology transfer.

2) Involve NIDRR Technology grantees as Participant/Observers in applicant’s Development Projects and track the grantee’s uptake and use of demonstrated KT and TT best practices.

3) Accomplish a minimum of six new product outcomes, as evidenced by new products in the marketplace for people with disabilities resulting directly from this original R&D.

4) Supply Barrier & Carrier content to Project R1, and contribute to information through publications and presentations to Project U1.

Project D1 Accomplishments:

  • The project engages NIDRR Grantees to collaborate with AT Corporations working in the same field to design, test and eventually deploy new or improved products for the commercial marketplace.
  • The NIDRR Grantees were able to contribute valuable input to the AT Corporations, but only when they subordinated their own scholarly ambitions in order to be responsive to the collaborative project’s requirements. The Center on KT4TT conducted consumer focus groups (Alpha & Beta) as well as prototype testing for all six projects.
  • The six completed projects are as follows:

1) Hearing Companion – completed with SBIR Grantee Creatability Concepts Inc. on their internal project. Input from consumer, clinician and industry stakeholders caused the Grantee to change the platform selected for product creation;

2) Accessible Food Containers – completed through a partnership between Tupperware Inc. and the RERC on Successful Aging at the University of Southern California. It resulted in a new set of storage containers that are easier to open and close.

3) MyPad Universal Appliance Controller – involved the SBIR Grantee Creatibility Concepts Inc. partnering with Whirlpool to create a hardware/software system (formerly called MAID) capable of monitoring and controlling multiple home appliances either in person or remotely. This work has since been combined with related work under the U.S. Smart Grid initiative.

4) Electronic Magnifier – Humanware Inc. collaborated with the RERC on Low Vision, Blindness and Multi-Sensory Loss at Smith-Kettlewell Institute to design the features and functions for the next generation of Electronic Magnifiers to be introduced by Humanware Inc.

5) The Morph Wheelchair Wheel – Maddak Inc. partnered first with the RERC on Wheeled Mobility at Georgia Tech on the Alpha version, then with SBIR Grantee Beneficial Designs Inc. on the Beta version of the first foldable wheelchair wheel. Since its market release in January 2013 it has garnered multiple innovation awards.

6) VARPO Mid-Drive System – SBIR Grantee Criterion Health was engaged to industry best practices in the re-design of the Variable Position (VARPO) Mid-Wheel Drive System for powered wheelchairs. They were also introduced to a potential Phase III partner (Sunrise Medical Inc.) should the SBIR team seek to license out their prototype.

  • Participating NIDRR Grantees recognized that the primary customer for their technology-oriented projects was not People with Disabilities (PWD’s), but instead was the AT companies working in that same field. It is the companies that offer, sell, support, maintain and improve AT devices and services to PWD’s. Companies are the key intermediary stakeholders that require support in order to serve PWD’s. These companies are receptive to outside assistance when it can be provided in a timely fashion, in ways that complement their existing activities. 

Development Project 2: Knowledge Base and Toolkit for KT and TT

Objectives as Proposed:

Project D2 designs and programs a database framework in Year 1. This framework will then be used as a repository for all materials compiled by, and outputs generated within, the DRRP’s research and development projects, in order to facilitate uptake and use by Knowledge Producers and Knowledge Users alike. This knowledge base will include a fully and publicly accessible database and website to organize and link all the data-level knowledge. It will be designed so that over time, all DRRP publications, presentations, and other training materials can be housed and accessed within it.

Project D2. Accomplishments:

  • The project conducted a comprehensive scoping review of both scholarly and practitioner papers published since 1985 on best practices in new product development, and knowledge translation, covering all three phases of activity (research, development, production), as well as the mechanisms used to move knowledge from one activity to another. All relevant topics under these areas were addressed. The nearly three hundred articles most directly relevant to the process as outlined by the international Product Development Managers Association (PDMA) were linked to the associated stages, gates, steps or activities, with key quotations excerpted from each article. A blue magnifying glass icon is the hotlink from any point in the NtK Model to the underlying literature.
  • All material derived from the scoping review was integrated into the NtK Model through an Oracle database to permit all forms of searches by model component, topic keywords, author, journal etc. The contents were further classified as representing either carriers to facilitate the process, ways to avoid barriers that impede the process, and whether the content relates to Models, Methods or Metrics associated with new product development.
  • Feedback from NIDRR Grantees accessing the NtK Model was that there were many points calling for some form of technical, business or marketing analysis, some of which were unfamiliar to the Grantees. As a result, a Bio-Medical Engineering from the Dublin Institutes of Technology conducted a post-doctoral project to address all points in the NtK Model where some form of analysis was required. This task involved preparing charts describing tools appropriate for the analysis, along with details about the tool’s source and cost, required expertise, and expected output. A red toolbox icon is the hotlink from any point in the NtK Model to the underlying tool information.
  • The Knowledge Base also contains additional materials generated through the project (e.g., Focus Briefs, Webcasts, White Papers, Exemplars), all of which are intended to support understanding and application of knowledge translation and technology transfer models, methods and metrics by NIDRR and its Technology Grantees. It is serving as a permanent repository of reference information on these topics.