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RFID to Bring Literacy to Down Syndrome Children

The Kiteracy system, designed by researchers at universities in Costa Rica, Spain and Ecuador, displays words and plays audio files when a child places a tagged toy on a reader.
By Claire Swedberg

By April 2016, Jadán-Guerrero will be moving to his home country of Ecuador, where he will serve as a researcher and professor at the Universidad Tecnológica Indoamérica. There, he hopes to complete the software for a kit that he will then offer to schools for children who have developmental deficits and need help learning how to read.

With the kit, schools and other users can employ their own tablet and access the software on the Kiteracy website. The software will not only be able to display information based on RFID tag ID numbers, but also come with an administration module to configure the quantity of sessions that a particular child has with the system. Once teachers set up a series of sessions for each child and designate a number for every session in that series, the teachers can then sign into the Kiteracy site and the software will create a record of each session's start and end times, along with the number of objects the child selected during that session and the time between each identification step.

Ongoing testing conducted in Costa Rica employs a Phidgets LF 125 kHz reader with Phidgets ABS key fob (model 3902), clothing button (model 3903) and credit card (model 3008) tags.
The kit will consist of the RFID reader and about 12 RFID-enabled toys. The teacher or some other user would then plug the reader into a tablet. The toys are intended simply to be starters, however. According to Jadán-Guerrero, a teacher or parent can acquire RFID tags and input his or her own data—linked to the ID of a specific item's attached RFID tag—including the written word describing that object and the sound of that word, which the teacher or parent could record in his or her own voice.

In the long term, Jadán-Guerrero hopes to offer the solution worldwide in different languages. He says he is presently seeking partners to help produce and distribute the system once it becomes commercially available.

Other researchers involved in the project included Luis A. Guerrero, a supervisor at the University of Costa Rica; Javier Jaen, a supervisor at Polytechnic University of Valencia; and two of the study's other co-authors, Gustavo López, from the University of Costa Rica and, Doris Cáliz, from Polytechnic University of Madrid.

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