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Quadriplegics to be able to use computers

BUFFALO, N.Y., Dec. 24 (UPI) -- University at Buffalo classmates say they developed software enabling quadriplegics and others to type, surf the Web, listen to music and play computer games.

Austin Miller, Robert Rodenhaus, Leonard Story Jr. and Matthew Taylor, classmates in a computer engineering class at the University at Buffalo, developed OmniSwitch, which enables people with limited mobility to use a computer using a single button or switch.

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Working with the Applied Sciences Group in Buffalo, N.Y., the students are developing the software for disabled veterans at the Spinal Cord Injury center at the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital in Tampa, Fla.

A second UB team, computer science master's students Ari Fogel and Praneeta Prakash, is working with ASG to develop a speech-generating software system that will enable non-verbal veterans to communicate with each other and caregivers; e-mail; text message; call friends via Skype; and complete tasks such as controlling the lights or TV via computer.

"This is the most meaningful computer science project I have ever done," Prakash says in a statement. "I've never worked on software that would help people out, so this was interesting and new. It's not just going to sit in some university database. It's going to be used out there."

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