Research and Development
Cosmo’s Learning Systems™ is an innovation in learning designed to motivate children with and without disabilities to engage more actively in educational and therapeutic activities. This educational product, featuring Mission Control™ and Cosmo’s Play and Learn™ software, is the culmination of five years of research and development in clinics and schools by AnthroTronix, Inc. A research and development company, AnthroTronix specializes in interfacing humans and technology. With funding from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and Department of Education, AnthroTronix developed Cosmo’s Learning Systems for children with disabilities. AT KidSystems™, Inc., was established to manufacture, market, and distribute the technology created by AnthroTronix.
In 1999, AnthroTronix was founded with initial seed funding to develop a robotic device that encouraged children with disabilities to participate more fully in therapy. During the ensuing years, the company’s engineers worked with children, parents, and therapists to fine tune the design. Testing conducted in classrooms and clinics in the greater Washington, D.C., area proved the device feasible for use by therapists and educators as a learning tool for children with disabilities.
A Department of Education grant supported creation of software programs for use in therapeutic and educational settings. With the guidance of a content team consisting of an occupational therapist, speech language pathologist, educational curriculum specialist, disability advocate, and engineers, the curriculum scope and sequence for the software activities was designed. The team focused on a pre-literacy and pre-numeracy scope and sequence for children with a developmental age of 3 – 5 years. The software received positive feedback during testing from children, therapists, educators, and parents. Designed for use with Mission Control, a computer access device for children with disabilities, Cosmo’s Play and Learn software emerged with its first title, Playground Discovery.
While testing the software using a developmental version of Mission Control, the AnthroTronix engineers recognized that traditional switches did not replicate the interactive experience for children with and without disabilities who did not use a standard keyboard or mouse. Working with children, parents, educators, and therapists, AnthroTronix invented aFFx™ Activators which provide multiple on-screen actions with one press to provide greater access to more educational and rehabilitation software for the facilitator and more fun for the child. Consider the analogy of an on/off switch as a button and the aFFx Activators as a dimmer switch – the greater the depression, the greater the effect.
The flexibility built into the software program enables therapists and educators to adapt the activities to the individual child’s specific needs and goals. With the comprehensive data collection capabilities for tracking the child by session and across sessions, Cosmo’s Learning Systems offers powerful learning tools that ensure no child is left behind.