Wednesday, February 11, 2009

CyLab MRC Mobile Health Workshop: Carnegie Mellon's Siewiorek on "Intelligent Systems that Augment Body and Mind."

[Image: Quality of Life Center (Carnegie Mellon/University of Pittsburgh) presentation, 2-11-09]

CyLab MRC Mobile Health Workshop: Carnegie Mellon's Siewiorek on "Intelligent Systems that Augment Body and Mind"

Dan Siewiorek, Director of the Human Computer Interaction Institute, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University spoke on "Quality of Life Technology Engineering Research Center" (QoLT).

Sieiorek's talk described how the QoLT ERC addresses this core problems of human-centered, holistic design by bringing together robotics and information technology engineers with biomedical and rehabilitation engineers, healthcare professionals working in assistive technology research and clinical practice, and experts in aging.

The project's goal is to "increase employability and productivity across the life span."

Siewiorek reported on the QoLT's integration testbed, "McKIZ," the McKeesport Independence Zone (a.k.a. Blueroof), a 10-acre 12-block area with 12~15 single family houses with a church, a convenience store, a community center and other infrastructure.

To view, Siewiorek's presentation, click here.

Q&A on Mobile Health Workshop Themes

What is your vision of how mobile health will improve outcomes, reduce costs and/or improve patient (and provider) experiences?

Siewiorek, Carnegie Mellon University: The Quality of Life Engineering Technology (QoLT) Engineering Research Center (ERC) envisions intelligent systems ranging from individual devices to comprehensive environments that enhance body and mind. They monitor and communicate with a person and understand his/her needs and task goals, and compensate for or replace diminished capabilities appropriately, safely, reliably and graciously. Such future Quality of Life Technology (QoLT) systems will not be just machines for convenience or saving labor, but intelligent assistants. They will allow people to independently perform valued and necessary activities of daily living so that they can fully participate in society. They will enhance and augment the capabilities of caregivers. They will also delay or prevent the manifestation of functional impairment. The missing element is a basic understanding of how to relate human functions (physiological, physical, and cognitive) to the design of intelligent devices and systems that aid and interact with people.

What are the most pressing business, process, organization, cultural and technical issues in mobile health?

Siewiorek: The QoLT ERC is addressing a large and growing segment of our population - people with reduced functional capabilities due to aging or disability. The number and percentages of people in need of QoLT increase every year. About 60 million Americans have a disability that affects one or more of their major life activities. Perceptive, cognitive and musculoskeletal diseases that impair motor skills dramatically increase with age. A number of subpopulations are of particular interest. In 2030, over 20% of the U.S. population will be over 65 years of age, with one in two working adults serving as informal caregivers. Globally, the number of people older than 65 years is anticipated to double between 1997 and 2025. An estimated $1B could be saved annually in the U.S. if all seniors’ entry into long-term care facilities can be delayed by a single month. As individuals, families, communities and a nation, we are facing new technical and social challenges to attain, prolong, and preserve quality of life.