Wireless Enabled Remote Co-presence (WERC)

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Wireless Enabled Remote Co-presence (WERC)

Wireless Enabled Remote Co-presence (WERCware) for the cognitively & behaviorally challenged: Students are developing and testing the prototype developed from previous research, conducted in collaboration with SymBionyx, a local Corporation that intends to market WERCware. See below for details about SymBionyx, and the current vision for WERCware.

Current 2013-2014 project-year objectives

With enough student participation, the main thrust of the 2013-2014 WERCware project will be to help to complete a second habilitation study and move forward with the continued integration of the needed sensors. An automatic privacy shutoff solution is still in development and will be needed in the future as well.

The team is looking to conduct a second habilitation study in Fall 2013 that will provide another inside view at how the current prototype holds up in the desired environment. Technical support will be provided during these sessions and they will provide us with helpful insight as we move forward in the development of this product.

One of the main focuses of the WERCware project during this academic year will be that of the Q-sensor. Integrating the q-sensor and the Android smartphone will be a huge step forward in the process towards enabling constant monitoring. The Q-sensor is a sensor that measures the galvanic skin response of the individual wearing the device. At this point the sensor is without an API, which is needed to connect to the smartphone. That API is what will be under development during this academic year.

Another sensor pack was obtained towards the very end of the 2012/2013 academic year. This sensor pack will need to be researched and tested to determine whether which, if any, of these sensors are feasible for possible usage on the current WERCware prototype.

The Arduino is another large aspect of the current project. The arduino, if able to be integrated with the Android smartphone, will provide a lot of possible assistance in many areas of the project. It may be used in concordance with the automatic privacy shutoff solution, which will be discussed in the next paragraph, or may even provide the ability to lengthen the battery life of the current smartphone. Josiah Merola completed work on this aspect last year, and we will be learning from his findings and looking to build upon them.

The automatic privacy shutoff solution is something that may or may not be reached during the current academic year. If it is not reached this year, then it will come up in the future. This is an integral part of the project moving forward. If the current WERC technology is in use and the participant enters a private area, such as a bathroom or a room with private records, the video/audio feeds need to be cut. This is currently under development and technologies that we are investigating include, but are not limited to, RFID, Tod, and sonic pulses.

In the future, a wireless connection monitor will be under development that will alert the participant and coach when the wireless connection is about to drop.


The Wireless Enabled Remote Co-presence (WERC) is an assistive technology system for socially and/or cognitively challenged individuals. WERCware permits a remote coach, trainer, or attendant care provider to see and hear what the participant sees and hears, in real time. It also has the ability to teach through the means of instructional video, and monitor a participant through means of heart rate and galvanic skin response.

With enough student participation, the main thrust of the 2013-2014 WERCware project will be to help to complete a second habilitation study and move forward with the continued integration of the needed sensors. An automatic privacy shutoff solution is still in development and will be needed in the future as well.

Purpose statement

There are people struggling with traumatic brain injuries and cognitive disabilities that are in need of remote training and coaching.


Design and develop a prototype of a working mobile audio-video solution which has the following specifications:

  • Provides remote assistance reliably (No constant dropping of calls)
  • Must be realistic to be worn on person. Size: TBD, Weight: TBD
  • Must be feasible cost-wise
  • Ability to monitor the participant constantly through the possible means of galvanic skin response
  • Includes a functional automatic privacy shutoff solution


  • Participate in and complete a habilitation study - Fall 2012
  • Participate in and complete a second habilitation study - Fall 2013
  • Obtain and integrate a Q-sensor to monitor a participant constantly using galvanic skin response - 2013/2014
  • Integrate the Arduino and Android smartphone - 2013/2014
  • Determine feasibility of newly acquired sensor pack - 2013/2014
  • Automatic privacy shutoff solution - Spring 2014/Fall 2015
  • Develop a wireless connection monitor - Spring 2014/Fall 2015


SymBionyx develops innovative solutions to assist late adolescents and young adults who have high functioning Autism or Asperger’s Disorder. SymBionyx employs coaching services, for diagnostic, job and life skills, together with tools of communication technology designed to unlock the potential of its clients as they transition into the workforce and pursue independent living. Currently, as many as 1 in 150 children are diagnosed with some form of autism, with degrees of impairment ranging across the Autism Spectrum. Although autistic individuals at the lower functioning end of the spectrum may never become capable of competitive employment or fully independent living, those diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder or Asperger’s Disorder have a higher functioning form of autism that may benefit from WERCware. Those with Asperger’s Disorder experiencing deficits in social functioning need not let that limit their employability or independent living potential. SymBionyx offers them the remedial training and life skills coaching oriented to Asperger’s-specific deficits that can enhance potential employability and full capacities for independent living. SymBionyx exists to uniquely serve this employable-but-for-remediation subset of the Autism Spectrum population. SymBionyx addresses this gap in service capacity by developing a comprehensive solution known as SocialWERC. SocialWERC combines one-on-one job coaching with a skills training process supported by proprietary wireless communications technology.

The technology aspect of the SymBionyx’s SocialWERC solution relies on a proprietary concept called Wireless Enabled Remote Co-presence (WERC). WERC reconfigures existing wireless communications hardware into a multi-component device involving associated technologies and services (hereafter referred to as WERCware). WERCware enables new forms of training and support for behaviorally, socially and/or cognitively challenged children and adults. With one important qualification, the multi-component WERCware device acts as a training-specific adaptation of current generation multifunction cell phones including separate wireless Bluetooth™ headsets, and several additional discrete wirelessly-connected components. These additional components include a sensor to monitor the participant and another piece of technology that is currently TBD, that will assist in the automatic shutoff in private locations. The video camera and microphone, on the participant's end, are encompassed within the smartphone that is being utilized. Most significantly, WERCware permits a remote coach or trainer, located virtually anywhere else, to share his/her trainees’ point of view—that is, to see and hear exactly what they are seeing and hearing, in real time or, retroactively by “instant replay.”

The coach can then discuss and advise them about what is happening, without the context-distorting effects of being physically present in their situation, the only way in-situ training can currently be done. Other WERCware features permit further significant enhancements over existing on-site job-training capabilities. To cite only one: Long after formal job coaching is completed, clients or their employers may elect to continue subscribing to a WERCware-based support service—-as a sort of job crisis Onstar™ for Asperger’s Disorder or Anger Management—-where a WERCware client who senses an impending crisis, can request active monitoring, and get counsel from a remote coach, to avert a crisis. Or, if a situation developed too quickly to actually avert the crisis, a WERCware remote coach could at least support a client soon enough after a crisis to permit damage control, and possibly facilitate recovery, after reviewing “instant replay” audio and video of the event, from the client’s point of view. SymBionyx is currently developing a pilot program to provide job coaching and training services, along with a device prototype. A team of Messiah College students supervised by faculty and SymBionyx staff will design, develop and test the current prototype. Recently a study has been completed on the most recent prototype, providing the WERCware team with much needed feedback moving forward as they continue to develop a newer version of the prototype.


Student Engineering Team


Prototype Development of Wireless Remote Co-presence (WERC) for the Cognitively and Behaviorally Challenged by Harold Underwood


For documentation please contact the project.

Contact Information

For more information about this project, please contact:

Kelly Kulp or Chad Clemens

For more information about this template, please read Help:Project article and Help:Template.
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