National Center for Technology Innovation Announces Awards for Breakthrough Innovations Designed to Support Students With Special Needs

Washington, D.C., May 15, 2007 — The National Center for Technology Innovation announced its 2007 Technology in the Works Award winners today. The 2007 awards went to the Access Technologies Group and CyberLearning Technology, LLC, for their innovative approaches to supporting students with special needs.

?NCTI is proud to sponsor this collaborative research that will provide evidence on the use of innovative technology for students with special needs. These awards will serve to enhance the development of technology tools and provide valuable information for consumers,? said Tracy Gray, Ph.D., Director of NCTI, located at the American Institutes for Research and Managing Research Scientist at AIR.

One award recipient has developed video game technology capable of enhancing concentration in adolescents with learning disabilities and attention problems.

The SmartBrain SystemTM developed by CyberLearning Technology and NASA uses Sony PlayStation® and Microsoft Xbox® video games to enable to reward focused thought, for example by making the game?s race car move faster. When the player?s brain is not producing activity consistent with improved processing, the race car slows down. The technology acquires a real-time brain activity signal and transmits the signal to a receiver wired into a gaming console, providing an engaging, immersive and fun neurofeedback training experience that is especially useful to adolescents who have attention deficit disorder. The system helps users train their mind to be focused.

?We?re very pleased to receive the recognition and support of an NCTI Award. It is exciting to have this opportunity that provides hope to those struggling with significant attention challenges, cognitive processing issues and the ability to concentrate,? said Domenic Greco, President, CyberLearning Technology.

Another award went to the Access Technologies Group for its work developing the Social Simentor, which offers online, interactive instruction to individuals with disabilities who need training in social and interpersonal skills. The Social Simentor uses role-play practice and reinforcement to teach the social skills required to make a positive impression during a job interview and in the workplace. After completing the program, developed by Lucy Baney, President and CEO of the Access Technologies Group, students participate in job fair interviews with local employers.
Recipients must match their $15,000 awards and conduct research to determine the impact and effectiveness of their innovations. ?We look for innovations capable of serving students with disabilities but also have the potential to serve a much larger audience. Our goal is to promote evidence-based technology solutions that can lead to enhanced student achievement,? said Dr. Gray.

About the National Center for Technology Innovation

The National Center for Technology Innovation at the American Institutes for Research is funded by the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs. NCTI advances learning opportunities for individuals with disabilities by fostering technology innovation. NCTI seeks to broaden and enrich the field by providing resources and promoting partnerships for the development of tools and applications by developers, manufacturers, producers, publishers and researchers.

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