WEDNESDAY,     AUGUST     16,     2006     •    VOL.     32     NO.     33 


Test to check mental capabilities developed in Boca

By David A. Schwartz

Times Staff Writer


Sandy Straus has a huge vision of her tiny SpecialtyAutomated Systems Corp. doing for the city of Boca Raton what IBM did in the 1980s and ‘90s, when a host of technology-related businesses sprung up around the computer giant’s development and manufacturing facilities here.

Straus wants to see the software sector of the industry once again flourish in Boca Raton.  From an office on South Dixie Highway she and a small staff produce automated, interactive cognitive, vision, and knowledge tests.

Straus says she believes the cognitive products will find eager markets in senior centers, nursing homes and assisted living facilities, hospitals, clinics, and physicians’ offices. 

That’s why she recently tried out the Automatic Clock Drawing Test ™ on a computer touch screen, with the computer hidden inside a cabinet at the Mae Volen Senior Center.

The clock drawing test is a pencil and paper test in which the person being tested draws a clock face and fills in the hours on the dial and the time, as instructed by the tester.  It is a part of a battery of tests used to diagnose dementia and psychiatric illnesses.

Straus’ belief is that the Automatic Clock Drawing Test™, when paired with the touch screen version of a visual acuity and contrast sensitivity test that shows an individual’s ability to discern detail in moving objects, would be useful in identifying impaired drivers.

“Our goal is to have all this online,” she said between tests.  “We can offer the software and a kiosk, but the greatest demand has been pay per use [on-line].”

Susan Spinozzi took Straus’ Automatic Clock Drawing Test ™ in the lobby of the Mae Volen Senior Center to satisfy herself that nothing was wrong with her eyes.  The 88-year Boca Raton resident said she gave up driving about five years ago.

“At this age you don’t have the reflexes right away to put your foot on the gas,” Spinozzi said.  “I wanted to make sure that, God forbid, I would never hit anyone while driving.”

This month’s visit to the Mae Volen Senior Center, 1515 W. Palmetto Park Road, followed three last month.  Straus said she has tested 45 seniors and the tests have gone well.  The testing at Mae Volen, Straus said, is just the start.


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For further information on the Automatic Clock Drawing Test  or Dyna-VACS Automated Dynamic Visual Acuity Tests , please contact SpecialtyAutomated

or via email.