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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

NSF funds $150,000 for device developed with UALR expert input

The National Science Foundation is providing $150,000 for a device developed by a Magnolia-based company with input from University of Arkansas at Little Rock experts and facilities.

FauxSee Innovations worked with UALR students and faculty to create Roboglasses,™ a device to assist the blind and visually impaired by dramatically reducing their chances for receiving head and upper-body injuries including protecting those around them.

The six-month, phase one award, stems from the technological contributions of Dr. Hirak Patangia and graduate students in UALR’s Department of Engineering Technology. Hirak Patangia

Studies have shown that over 46 percent of the 11.4 million blind or visually impaired Americans experience head injuries at least once a month, with 23 percent of those injuries requiring medical attention.

More than 160 million people who are blind or visually impaired could benefit from using Roboglasses in conjunction with traditional methods, such as guide dogs, which cannot protect the user from upper body hazards, according to company co-founders Brandon Foshee and Tim Zigler.

UALR’s Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center’s innovation consultant, Rebecca Norman and Dr. William H. Jacobson, professor and department chair of UALR’s Counseling, Adult and Rehabilitation Education, also provided expertise in orientation and mobility for the product.

UALR faculty will work closely with the clients at World Services for the Blind to test the device if phase two of the award is funded, according to Jacobson.