Research

  • Assistive Domotics

Summary: The elderly population in the United States is growing rapidly. For example, the Census Bureau (2008) projects that by 2040 over 20% of the US population will be over the age of 65.  Aging in place has become a major goal of public policy (National Aging in Place Council, 2012).  Besides issues related to the trauma of moving to a facility possibly inconveniently far from friends and family, assisted living and nursing home expenses present a severe burden on national healthcare costs, which will continue to increase in the future as the US population continues to age. The average cost of a nursing home private room is $212 per day ($77,380 annually), while the average cost for stay in an assisted living facility is $3031 monthly ($36,372 annually) (MetLife, 2008).  Yet such facilities are generally the only apparent means of safely assisting elders with activities of daily life and providing emotional and social support.

The research will incorporate smart-house technology (or domotics) seamlessly with the socially assistive agent.  The system is called “SAAD.” This stands for “Socially Assistive Agent and Domotics”.  The principal aim of the research effort is to develop a socially assistive agent to facilitate self-care for an elderly and/or disabled subject in his or her own home and to engage the subject socially and emotionally as well as incorporate smart-house technology, or domotics, with the socially assistive agent.

  • Interoperability for Medical Devices

Summary: In 2011, the American Medical Association issued a resolution stating it “believes that intercommunication and interoperability of electronic medical devices could lead to important advances in patient safety and patient care, and that the standards and protocols to allow such seamless intercommunication should be developed fully with these advances in mind. Our AMA also recognizes that, as in all technological advances, interoperability poses safety and medico-legal challenges as well. The development of standards and production of interoperable equipment protocols should strike the proper balance to achieve optimum patient safety, efficiency, and outcome benefit while preserving incentives to ensure continuing innovation.

Although there are cases of successful integration of medical devices, challenges still exist. Each new customization requires significant effort by the implementers. Caregivers have to wait for updated drivers to use a new set of interoperable devices. The on-site customization needed for device integration requires a great deal of software development. Other obstacles include the complexity of device communication, and lack of required data for each clinical scenario.

The proposed research aims to achieve medical device plug-and-play (MDPnP) in mHealth devices catered to the homecare environment. The Socially Assistive Agent and Domotics (SAAD) thrust is the front-end system that is responsible for interacting with the user. The Health Care Interconnection Network (HCIN) back-end provides a platform for integrating a variety of devices.

 

  • Reconfigurable Computing

Summary: Reconfigurable computing systems have proven to be a viable choice for designers wishing to implement computationally intense applications. There remains a need for tools that ease the transition from application specification, typically in the form of a high-level language such as C++ or FORTRAN, to an actual design implementation. There are many factors that must be taken into account, including the nature of the application, the capacity of the FPGA, and the desired performance of the final implementation.

My research in reconfigurable computing centers on aiding in the development of tools for mapping high-level languages to RC systems. This includes the development of a component library capable of implementing the arithmetic and logic functions found in computationally intense applications. This research also includes the development of new reconfigurable computing tools that will allow remote access to RC systems. The user will be able to submit computational jobs that can be executed on the remote system.

 

  • Mobile Technologies for STEM Education

Summary: The widespread use of cell phones provides an opportunity for enhanced education. This research leverages this technology to allow unspoken interactions between students and teachers. The program sends a random question to the student asking for them to answer a scholastic question. The student would then attempt to answer the question on their smartphone. Then the program reads the answer the student provides lets the student know if they answered correctly. The program will also provide a detailed approach for the solution. The program would be able to send a text message to the student as well as the professor of their choice showing how many questions the student attempted and how many they got right as well as wrong. The overall goal is to help students think critically both inside of class and outside of the classroom. This project involves programming Android devices to interface with the central server to receive questions. The programs will be written in Java, and will need to incorporate several screen sizes and resolutions.