Write to Hand
a PlatformSTL Technology
PlatformSTL is developing the first automated, digital, scientifically validated, scalable assessment of the motor skills that underpin handwriting. We can help school-age children with fine-motor delays get the therapy and support they need to improve handwriting.
Write to Hand’s ability to measure handwriting rapidly and objectively will provide a force multiplier for occupational therapists (OT)s by shifting the burden of testing from a time-consuming manual process to an automated digital process, and by enabling tele-health assessment in under-resourced environments where an OT cannot be physically present. With broad adoption of Write to Hand, we anticipate an increased number of children being identified for handwriting resources and therapy.
Our Progress & Plan
PlatformSTL has developed an advanced prototype of the Write to Hand drawing test as an iPad app. In a study at Washington University in St. Louis with school-age children, the Write to Hand app’s machine learning approach demonstrated 99% accuracy in predicting handwriting.
In 2018, PlatformSTL was awarded an NIH Phase I STTR grant through the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. With our STTR funds, we built a minimum viable product and demonstrated the feasibility of Write to Hand —far exceeding the aims of our grant on both counts. PlatformSTL is now pursuing additional funding to refine, further validate and scale Write to Hand as a ready-for-market product. PlatformSTL anticipates releasing two commercial-ready versions of the Write to Hand app by 2021: for movement control research and for school assessment. PlatformSTL will seek broad adoption of the tool within school districts across the country.
Dr. Benjamin Philip directs the Neuroscience and Rehabilitation Laboratory in the Program for Occupational Therapy at Washington University in St. Louis. During his research, he developed a drawing task to assess hand function, which forms the basis of his invention Write to Hand, the first quantitative digital assessment of handwriting. His lab uses behavioral and neuroimaging methods to understand brain lateralization and plasticity. Dr. Philip’s research goal is to understand the brain’s mechanisms of hand dominance, and manipulate them to help patients who lose the use of their dominant hand after nerve injury, amputation, or stroke.
Dr. Igor Zwir leads the Machine Learning for Biomedical Research Laboratory in the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis and in the Department of Computer Science and AI at University of Granada, Spain. Over the past 20 years, his career has been focused on three primary fields: Computer, Biomedical, and Translational Sciences. In Computer Science, he developed of the first unsupervised and explainable Machine Learning method that incorporated multidimensional phenotypes to Genome Wide Association Studies. In the Biomedical field, he conducted teams that discovered the “Schizophrenias” and “Personalities,” which were medical breakthroughs with consequences for heritability and genetic risk, and person-centered treatments. In Translational Science, he served as an alliance manager for scientists and intensivists to develop systems which reduced ICU readmissions by half per year. He extended this approach in his collaborations with PlatformSTL, to predict neuro-motor skills in the Write to Hand project, and quality of daily living in impaired people in PlatformSTL’s Proprio project. Dr. Zwir’s goal is to integrate multidimensional and time-dependent information into agnostic intelligent systems that uncover new –instead of reproducing existing- knowledge about diseases and their personalized treatment.
Dr. Betsy Hawkins-Chernof is a pediatric and school-based Occupational Therapist, certified Assistive Technology Practitioner, and instructor at the Washington University Program in Occupational Therapy. Prior to her position at the university, she was an Assistive Technology specialist and provided consultation support for educational teams including on how to implement the iPad for children with disabilities to meet their goals. In addition, she regularly taught workshops on methods for inclusion of iPads in school based Occupational Therapy and in the special education classroom. Currently, Dr. Hawkins-Chernof teaches coursework in assistive technology, case-based learning and in pediatrics, which includes instruction on implementing iPads with people with disabilities in school and the community. Also, she leads the Technology Integration and Participation Research Group. Her focus is on interdisciplinary, service learning experiences where Occupational Therapy students work with schools and community organizations to design and implement programs for children with disabilities. In addition, she is researching the effectiveness of iPad-based strategies for facilitating learning experiences for graduate students and providing her iPad expertise in the development of the Write to Hand iPad app.
PlatformSTL partners with researchers at Washington University in St. Louis on each of our four emerging technologies. Our direct working relationship with faculty partners ensures that research study findings are integrated seamlessly into PlatformSTL’s product development process.
School administrators and clinicians: contact us if you'd like to learn more or enroll your school in our pilot program
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