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Non-Linear Context Aware Prompting System


At many jobs, job coaches help workers do their job. Computers can also help us do our job. A computer can be a type of a coach. It can tell us the next step that should be performed. It can also make sure we are completing the correct step or task. Another name for this type of computer is a prompting system. There are a lot of different types of prompting systems. A few examples include:

  • Talking computers
  • Pictures that show each individual work step
  • Videos that show how the works steps are performed
  • Words provided that describe the work steps
  • Computer that know the steps
  • Computers that require the worker to push a button when they finish a step
  • Any combination of the above

This research will study two computer prompting systems. Both prompting systems use a mix of text; audio; and video to prompt the user. The difference between the two systems is the linear system requires the worker to push a button when a step is completed and the non-linear system automatically knows when the a step has been completed and moves to the next step.

These computer prompting systems have been setup to help a person perform assembly line work.


The primary and only site for this study is Assistive Technology Partners (ATP), a center situated in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus. ATP is located at 601 East 18th Avenue, Denver, CO, and is a specialized assistive technology facility with comprehensive clinical and research programs focused on the assistive technology needs of people with disabilities.


  1. Cognitive disability as determined by the Colorado Department of Education.
  2. Male and females adults between the ages of 18 to 65 years old with a confirmed intellectual & development disability of known or unknown origin.
  3. Willingness and capability to give informed consent to participate in the study, or assent in the case of a legally appointed guardian if he/she is unable to provide full consent according to institutional guidelines.
  4. Fluent in cognitively appropriate English both expressively and receptively.
  5. Fine motors skills within gross normal limits.
  6. An auditory ability within gross normal limits, or if corrected, uses hearing aids or a hearing device during the study protocol.
  7. Visual ability within gross normal limits, or if corrected, uses corrective glasses (or device) during the study protocol,
  8. No current history of alcohol and/or drug addiction,
  9. Not taking any type of medication that could influence attention skills (cognitive function) (such as psychotropic drugs),
  10. Ability to perform the training task evaluated by the Block Design Test (BDT). BDT is a subtest on the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) that measures visuospatial​ and motor skills. The participant is required to take blocks that have all white sides, all red sides, and red and white sides and arrange them according to a pattern. If a participant is unable to complete a pattern, they will not be deemed eligible to be in the study  The work task used during the study has similar features to the BDT as to place (and fit) small merchandise inside a box.

For more information contact Patricia Heyn at 303-315-1293 or email