[March 8, 2002]
Xybernaut Announces Wearable Computer Platform
For Education And Assistive Learning
announced XyberKids. Equipping students
who face challenges from disabilities with XyberKids gives them a
quantum leap beyond traditional assistive
devices. No longer limited by the equipment's functionality and
location, students are given the freedom and power
of communication and learning in every facet of their lives.
XyberKids, which is based on Xybernaut's Mobile Assistant (MA) V
product, integrates a variety of educational applications, such as
speech and handwriting recognition and peripheral devices, into a sturdy
backpack that brings the power of a desktop computer to a wearable
package to assist teachers and children in the classroom.
In its initial stages of deployment, instructors and administrators
in the special education community -- most notably in programs
concentrating on children with autism, cerebral palsy, and physical
disabilities -- found excellent results from classroom use of XyberKids.
With this positive feedback, Xybernaut began preparing the product for
wide scale distribution to the education market.
One of the first school districts to deploy the product was the
Coventry (Ohio) Local School District, located near Akron, OH. Special
education teachers Lisa Zverloff, Eric Van Raepenbusch and Celeste
Powell worked with Xybernaut for more than six months to develop and
refine the applicability of XyberKids in the classroom. The commercial
XyberKids product is based on their successful on site use.
Coventry employs XyberKids as an assistive technology device, which
has become a critical component of an interdisciplinary approach to
educating students with disabilities. XyberKids is used to aid students
in a variety of tasks including written expression, conversion of text
and pictures into structured speech, supplemental communication through
audio output devices, augmentation for study habits and enhancement of
"Looking beyond the potential size of the market, which is
estimated at 4-6 million children, it is more gratifying to receive
personal letters from the children thanking us for their Xybernaut
computers stating how much these technologies mean to them in so many
aspects of their lives," stated Edward G. Newman, chairman,
president and CEO of Xybernaut Corporation.
Students range in age from nine to 17 and have disabilities that
include learning and cognitive challenges, mental retardation, autism,
communication disabilities and orthopedic disabilities. Activities
incorporated into current research include wireless connectivity to the
Internet, computer generated augmented communication (AC), speech output
programs that provide verbal reminders to students, text-to-speech
sentence structure and syntax usage, visual scheduling and organization.
XyberKids consists of Xybernaut's MA V wearable computing platform,
software, and peripherals, which will be carried in a 15x10x5-inch,
heavy-duty polyester and rip-resistant nylon backpack with padded and
adjustable straps. The standard MA V unit features a 500 MHz Intel
Mobile Celeron processor with 256MB SDRAM, 5 GB internal HDD, as well as
Compact Flash, USB and Firewire peripheral ports.
Students enter and view data using the flat panel display, which is
an 8.4" viewable (21.3cm) all light readable display with 800 X 600
color SVGA graphics capabilities, onscreen keyboard and built-in
handwriting recognition. Utilizing the MA V's standard communication
ports, XyberKids supports networked and/or wireless (such as 802.11B or
cellular) Internet access just as one would experience with a standard
laptop or desktop PC.