Blind World Magazine


October 5, 2005.
Press Release.

Quantum Simulations, Inc., a developer of artificial intelligence (AI) tutoring and assessment software, has completed a six-month, $100,000 research project funded by the National Eye Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health, to produce the first and only tutoring software based on artificial intelligence for students who are blind or visually impaired.

Quantum's AI tutoring program for chemistry has been certified by the National Federation of the Blind's (NFB) Nonvisual Accessibility Web Application Certification Program. Because the Tutors are Internet-based and equipped with a unique dialogue-driven tool that converses with students, the software is well-suited for use with synthesized speech screen access technologies utilized by individuals who are blind or visually impaired to navigate web sites and access e-mail. This historical achievement marks the first-ever artificial intelligence accessible Tutor for the visually impaired.

"Quantum Simulations has not simply achieved accessibility, they have systematically built it into the core of their tutoring technology," commented Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind. "In this way, they have created a powerful learning tool for all students and, fortunately, Quantum realizes that 'all' includes students who are blind or low vision. This inclusive and forward-thinking design strategy not only helped Quantum achieve Accessibility Certification, it helped them build a better product that benefits a wider audience, which is business innovation at its best."

"With additional funding from outstanding agencies such as the National Eye Institute and the National Federation of the Blind, our hope is to incorporate accessibility into the complete line of Quantum Tutors within two years," stated Dr. Benny Johnson, President and CEO at Quantum. "Equally important, the methodology developed by Quantum and our expert collaborators will have broad impact on the potential to develop accessible software in other content areas beyond math and science."

Just like working with a human tutor, Quantum's tutoring software allows students to work on any problems they choose, ask questions and receive personal guidance, hints and feedback based on their own work and subject knowledge. Through the use of patented artificial intelligence technology, the Quantum Tutors embody the proven teaching practices of Mr. Dale Holder, award-winning master teacher with over 35 years of experience. As a result, classroom research has shown that the Quantum Tutors can improve test scores by as much as 50%.

"It is tremendous to see a leading developer of advanced educational software place such high importance on accessibility," said Jeff Dittel, President of Britlan Ltd. and collaborator on the Quantum Tutor accessibility project. "It is common these days for blind students to be diverted away from advanced science subjects such as chemistry before they are even given a chance to try. The Quantum Tutors will soon provide the blind the opportunity to learn science just like any other student."

End of article.

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