SmartWheels for Hands-on Physical Science
Award last edited on: 3/23/2023

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Solicitation Topic Code
Principal Investigator
Clifton Roozeboom

Company Information

Myriad Sensors Inc (AKA: PocketLab)

385 South Monroe Street
San Jose, CA 95128
   (408) 350-7322
Location: Single
Congr. District: 18
County: Santa Clara

Phase I

Contract Number: 91990021C0026
Start Date: 5/3/2021    Completed: 12/31/2021
Phase I year
Phase I Amount
Through prior projects and IES-funded SBIR projects in 2017 and 2018, the company developed an intervention called PocketLab, which includes a sensor that students use to collect scientific data, a dashboard to present data, and a notebook to catalogue data. In this project, the research team will develop a new prototype of a matchbox-sized car with embedded sensors for measuring velocity, acceleration, and force, for use in hands-on physical science classrooms. The prototype will include a sensor component that captures and transmits data to an app and a user-interface to present data from which educators and students can draw insights. At the end of Phase I, in a pilot study with two middle school educations with 100 students, the researchers will examine if the prototype functions as planned, it the lesson plans are feasible for classroom use, to what extent teachers use lesson plans to prepare for and conduct classroom investigations, and whether students are engaged using the prototype.

Phase II

Contract Number: 91990022C0039
Start Date: 5/15/2022    Completed: 5/14/2024
Phase II year
Phase II Amount
Purpose: In this project, the team will fully develop a product where students play with a matchbox-sized car that includes a sensor that tracks scientific data. Speed, velocity, and acceleration are physics concepts that are relatively intuitive because students have some innate understanding from their personal experiences, such as riding a bike or going on a roller coaster. However, experimenting with speed and other motion concepts in the science classroom remains difficult and current solutions often do not align to student learning needs. Project Activities: During Phase I in 2021 the team developed a prototype of a matchbox-sized car embedded with a sensor to capture and transmit scientific data to a digital notebook that presents data from which educators and students can draw insights. At the end of Phase I, researchers completed a pilot study with two middle school science teachers and 35 students to test the usability, feasibility, and promise of the prototype. The team found that the prototype captured student play data and transmitted the data to a dashboard that students and educators were able to view. Students found the prototype easy to use and indicated that the exercises were focused on learning objectives. Educators reported that students were engaged when using the prototype and were able to analyze data generated by the prototype. In Phase II of the project, the team will fully develop the product, including a data visualization dashboard, a competition platform, and ten physical science classroom instructional modules. The team will conduct iterative refinements with feedback from educators and students at major production milestones until the product is fully functional. After development concludes, researchers will carry out a pilot study to test the feasibility and usability, fidelity of implementation, and the promise of the product for improving science learning. The team will collect data from 30 middle school science classes, with half randomly assigned to use the product and the other half to use business-as-usual activities for the same course content. Researchers will compare pre-and-post scores for NGSS-based items including analyzing and interpreting data from graphs, as well as student motivation for engaging in STEM activities and careers. Researchers will gather cost information using the "ingredients method" and will include all expenditures on things such as personnel, facilities, equipment, materials, and training. Product: G-Force will be a physics learning product that embeds a sensor within a matchbox-sized car to collect scientific data (position, velocity, acceleration, g-forces, and compass heading) to encourage hands-on learning as middle school students play. The data collected with G-Force will be transmitted via Bluetooth to an existing cloud-based notebook that was developed through a prior ED/IES SBIR award. The intervention will include tracks for the cars and points to attach weights, bumpers, springs, velcro, hooks, and other accessories for experiments. The product is designed to be integrated with lessons in middle school physical science classes for topics aligned to Next Generation Science Standards, and will support the use of data visualizations, competitions, and a collaboration platform for races and design challenges.