Near-Term Activities

In the near term, we expect to have prototypes of all the hardware and software pieces running some time no later than early November. And by mid-December we expect to have initial versions of the more complete systems running.

Gail has already had an initial meeting with two Pullman-area ALS patients, and the rest of the team will meet with them in December or January. We anticipate being able to have prototypes useable by them for testing by March.

Due to a large donation by a very generous donor, most of the team is going to New Orleans during the week of Thanksgiving (Sunday-Wednesday). WSUTG will meet with Team Gleason and see Team Gleason House. This will be to both learn a lot more close up about the practical restrictions of ALS patients and technological opportunities to help them. We will also talk with the house’s technology experts and other staff. During this trip we will also visit Steve Gleason in his home. They will learn from his practical limitations and struggles, be inspired by his vision, etc. But, being both a techie and a former NFL player, he has done a lot of automation of his home. WSUTG expects to learn a lot from this.

Members of the team who are going (full names and picture below) are Dave, Gail, Andrew, Adam, Forest, and Peter. Because WSU has these days off, we will be on the ground all days Monday and Tuesday November 25-26 and traveling the day before and after.

The team is being very careful to not over-schedule and to have an adaptable schedule. Indeed, the 3 seniors plus Prof. Bakken tried to meet Steve at GleasonFest 2013 in Spokane this August. They arrived at 10am, but Steve was having a bad day, as Gail updated them throughout the day, so at 4pm they gave up and went back to Pullman where they had other commitments. While missing a chance to meet Steve and learn up close about his limitations and technology was disappointing, the team learned a huge lesson in Steve’s almost complete inability to control his body or his schedule. This has doubled their resolve to make a difference to ALS patients. And the team is extremely thankful that it can go to New Orleans to learn.