RASL members Nilanjan Sarkar and Joshua Wade took part in the 2017 TechVenture Challenge with their technology Alva: a gaze-sensitive driving simulator designed specifically for driving training in adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The two were joined by veteran business mentor Kei Gowda and a team of Vanderbilt students from various departments including business, public policy, and engineering.
The TechVenture Challenge aims to provide both graduate and undergraduate students from a number of different disciplines with immersive, real-world commercialization experience. The pitch finals, which were held on April 13th in Nashville, consisted of five teams presenting their technologies. Team Alva took first place, earning a $3500 cash prize!
Alva, the novel technology, received attention last year from national media outlets (video above). A number of peer-reviewed journal articles based on the technology have recently been published:
- J. Wade, L. Zhang, D. Bian, J. Fan, A. Swanson, A. Weitlauf, M. Sarkar, Z. Warren, and N. Sarkar, “A Gaze-Contingent Adaptive Virtual Reality Driving Environment for Intervention in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders,” ACM Transactions on Interactive Intelligent Systems (TiiS), vol. 6, p. 3, 2016.
- L. Zhang, J. Wade, D. Bian, J. Fan, A. Swanson, A. Weitlauf, Z. Warren, and N. Sarkar, “Cognitive Load Measurement in a Virtual Reality-Based Driving System for Autism Intervention,” IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing, vol. 8, pp. 176-189, 2017.
- J. Wade, A. Weitlauf, N. Broderick, A. Swanson, L. Zhang, D. Bian, M. Sarkar, Z. Warren, and N. Sarkar, “A Pilot Study Assessing Performance and Visual Attention of Teenagers with ASD in a Novel Adaptive Driving Simulator,” Journal of autism and developmental disorders, July 29 2017, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-017-3261-7
- J. Fan, J. Wade, A. Key, Z. Warren, and N. Sarkar, “EEG-based Affect and Workload Recognition in a Virtual Driving Environment for ASD Intervention,” IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, DOI: 10.1109/TBME.2017.2693157