Research Projects-Quality of Life Technology Center - Carnegie Mellon University

Current Projects

Project Title
Accessible Website Design for Cognitive Impairment Study of the performance of website design features and technical knowledge for creating accessible interface designs for people with cognitive impairments like schizophrenia. AP HSIT
Analysis of People Images: Detection, Tracking and Identifying People Development and distribution of technologies that process images and videos to detect, track and understand people's face, body and activities. AP PAT
Assessing Cognitive Load of Elder Drivers Explores the use of low cost sensors in identifying when drivers, both young and old, encounter high cogntive loads while driving. CP SD
Assessing the Risk of Vibration Exposure during Wheelchair Propulsion Assessment of vibration characteristics transmitted to manual wheelchair users which can cause injury and development of strategies to address these vibrations in wheelchair suspension and component design advances. AP VC
Automated Methods to Support the Detection of Depression in Dementia Use of emerging video, audio and sensor technologies for quantifying and automating the detection of depression markers and identification of stages of depression for prevention and intervention. AP HCHW
Biomechanical Validation of TAI Study of the psychometric rigor of the Transfer Assessment Instrument (TAI) with wheelchair users with spinal cord injury and its potential for treatment-related improvements in the biomechanics of transfer. AP QB
Center for Excellence for Wheelchairs and Associated Rehabilitation Engineering (WaRE)
VA Center of Excellence focused on the clinical application of and engineering innovation in wheelchairs and associated rehabilitation engineering.
A Cognitive Assistive System for Coaching the Use of Home Medical Devices Development of principles, algorithms and methods to assist people with the procedures required to operate their home medical devices without errors. AP HCHW
Cognitive AT and Service Delivery for People with Moderate TBI Cross-sectional study to determine the effectiveness of prescribed CAT devices for meeting the needs of service members. AP VC
Collecting Community Based Vibration Exposure of WC Users to Determine Health Risk Development of instrumentation for community-based vibration recording of wheelchair users to assess the risk of secondary injuries that result from vibrations and to define new design criteria for better absorbing harmful vibrations. AP VC
Computer-Based and Virtual Assessment of Powered Wheelchair Mobility Examination of whether computer-based or virtual reality tests are as useful as real power wheelchair driving tests in measuring driver performance and identifying driving problems. AP HSIT
Computer Vision Processing for Assistive Navigation and Recognition Use and development of computer vision algorithms to process video into easily interpretable information for low-vision and blind individuals.
Detecting Boundaries for Segmentation and Recognition Ways to reliably detect occluding boundaries by combining motion cues with appearance cues and the use of such boundaries in key vision tasks through their integration with segmentation and category recognition. AP PAT
Development of Trust Models and Metrics for Human-Robot Interaction Development of quantitative metrics to measure a user's trust in a robot as well as a model to estimate the user's level of trust in real-time. AP HSIT
DriveCap Extension of the reach of driver rehabilitation specialists through accurate, low-cost, real-time measurements that collect driver capability metrics utilizing low cost sensor technologies. CP SD
DriveCap Navigator Special case DriveCap system focused on transforming traditional safety agnostic and somewhat uniform in-vehicle navigation approaches into system capabilities that directly support safer driving through personalized information and interaction.
DRRP on Technology Access in Resource-Limited Environments Development and implementation of survey instruments for manufacturers, distributors, and service providers to examine the relationshps among such factors as technology type, delivery system options, disability type, socioeconomic conditions and environmental conditions. AP VC
Embedded Assessment of Cognitive Decline Integration of sensors in everyday objects with which elders interact while performing activities of daily living to collect, analyze and present data on changes in cognitive condition. CP HCHW
Enhancement of Motor Cortex Activity Development of a novel brain-computer interface (BCI) neurofeedback paradigm combining biofeedback, motor imagery, and action observation and imitation. AP HSIT
Ergo Buddy Virtual coach system for package delivery works to help prevent injury and reinforce trained ergonomic practices. AP VC
Fitness Encouragement Electricity Monitor Creation of an easy-to-use tool that enables parents to use measurements of physical activity to regulate and limit passive activities that require electricity, such as television, video games, and computers. AP VC
A Generalized and Automated System for Establishing a Direct Brain Interface (DBI) Development of a generalized and automated system for brain-computer interface development and operation. AP HSIT
Grand Challenge Library of sensor and computational approaches for identifying activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs).
HeadCoach - A Home-Therapy Balance Exercise Monitoring Device An intelligent hat which acts as a virtual coach to monitor physical therapy patients' performance and give them feedback for exercise guidance during the home recovery process. AP VC
Health Kiosk Development of communal telehealth system that provides senior citizens an easy, convenient and affordable means of self-collecting health vital measurements and communicating with remote doctors and health care providers. CP HCHW
(Home Exploring Robot Butler)
A mobile manipulation system and household robot prototype for providing physical assistance with instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) in the home. CP QB
HERB Interaction Design Ethnographic research and interface design studies to help robots work closely with people. CP QB
Hill-Rom Cooling Shear Project Estimation of the relative importance of interface pressure, shear and skin temperature to ischemic tissue stress. AP VC
In-Situ Implementation Studies Evaluation and analysis of emerging QoLT technologies to address user acceptance, value and marketability while establishing an evidence base for informing policy makers.
In Situ Implementation Studies:
First-Person Vision Usability Study
Prototype testing of the First-Person Vision device and its data by end-users and researchers to identify parameters on use and usefulness.
In Situ Implementation Studies:
Multi-User Health Kiosk
Prototype testing of the Multi-User Health Kiosk by community-residing older adults in congregate living situations and remote health care providers to ensure easy and intuitive use. CP PST
Interaction Prediction:
Computer Access
Software to automatically detect amd respond to the difficulties of computer users, featuring prediction models of adaptation needs. CP
Interaction Prediction:
Power Wheelchair Driving
Methods to identify power wheelchair user intent from actions and task environments to improve input device configuration.
Kitchen Inventory Tracker Software program and handheld barcode scanner that allows users to keep track of food packaging thrown away, intended to assist the blind with an inventory of consumed items. AP VC
Large Analytics Library and Scalable Concept Ontology for Multimedia Research Creation of a shared community resource around large video collections, extracted features, video segmentation tools, semantic concept lexicons, ontologies, learned models, and software modules for advanced digital video analysis and searching. AP PAT
Learning Use of data-driven and machine learning tools to model human activities from sensor data for improved action and behavior prediction with live data. CP PAT
Methodology for Applying Haptic Robotics to Agile Manufacturing Development of an advanced robotic-hand platform that can respond in real-time with the speed and intelligence needed for dynamic grasping. SB-TRC QB
Mind's Eye Development of new visual intelligence capabilities for unmanned systems; machine-based implementations modeled after human judgement and learning from spatiotemporal concepts and visual experience.
Mobile Manipulation High performance algorithms for the safe and efficient manipulation of household objects by QoLTbots. CP MoMaT
Mobile Manipulation:
Planning for Lifting Heavy Objects
Efficient planning algorithms to effectively increase the lifting capacity of a manipulator through use of momentum.
Modeling, Analysis, and Visualization of Social and Communicative Behavior Development of novel computational methods for measuring and analyzing the behavior of children and adults during face-to-face social interactions. AP PAT
Monitoring Human Performance Using Accelerometers Development of a cyber-physical system composed of accelerometers and novel machine learning algorithms to analyze data in the context of a set of driving health care applications. AP VC
Natural Environment Proving Grounds Developing QoLT successfully requires that we have access to a wide range of community settings where these technologies can be evaluated and tested. CCE All
Neurofeedback to Enhance Neural Activity Following Spinal Cord Injury Development and implementation of a MEG-based neurofeedback training system to increase cortical activation in individuals with complete paralysis of finger muscles. AP HSIT
(Personal Mobility and Manipulation Appliance)
PerMMA combines manipulation and mobility assistance with perception and decision making wherever a person goes. CP QB
PerMMA: Driving Surface Classification Cost effective and reliable methods for implementation of driving surface specific EPW control systems and manual or automated control system switcing based on automatic detection of driving surface changes. CP QB
PerMMA: Strong Arm Development of a robotic system and strategies for the lifting and manipulation of heavier real-life objects and the safe transfer of a person from one surface to another. CP QB
Personal Health Coach Tools to motivate people to collect data about their health, test hypotheses for better maintaining and improving health, and guide long-term behavioral changes that impact health.
Personalized Social Coaching Sensor-based technologies that enable personalized, context-aware feedback systems for virtual coaches.
Personalized Stress Detection from Physiological Measurements Development of a personalized stress inferencing algorithm and system using Support Vector Machines (SVMs) to produce binary inferences indicating whether or not a subject is mentally and/or physically stressed. AP VC
Physical Activity Measurement in Manual Wheelchair Users with Spinal Cord Injury Development and evaluation of a physical activity monitoring and sharing platform (PAMS) suited for capturing physical activities that are part of the lifestyles of wheelchair users with SCI. AP VC
Powered Seating Function Usage Among Veterans - Compliance and Coaching Evaluation of the use of electric powered wheelchairs and powered seating function patterns among veterans to determine how usage patterns relate to activity, participation, and seating comfort/discomfort. AP VC
Privacy Study Exploration of privacy dimensions related to monitoring, collecting and transmitting data on individual-level behavior for informing the design of QoLT technologies.
Psychosocial Stress Exposure: Real-time and Structured Interview Technologies Development of efficient electronic data collection devices for administering, recording, and scoring self-report assessments relevant to the novel assessment approaches.
QoLT CAD Generalizes the collective knowledge derived from individual virtual coach systems into a set of tools supporting technical and non-technical clinical users with existing and future virtual coach systems. CP VC
QoLT Handbook Development of a book resource to introduce, define and provide an overview of quality of life technologies as an emerging multidisciplinary endeavor.
QoLT Policy and Adoption Analysis Case studies of external commercialization factors including cost, start-up capital, reimbursement, regulation and privacy critical to the adoption of QoLT. (Initial focus is on PerMMA.) CP PST
Recognition Techniques for understanding the user's environment based on sensor data, including localization and geometric modeling of the user's environment.
Recording Observations of Daily Living Data collection derived from sensors integrated into everyday objects with which elders interact while performing activities of daily living. AP HCHW
Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Accessible Public Transportation (RERC-APT)
Establishes an effective and sustainable process to address high priority transportation needs of people with disabilities using enabling technology and universal design. AP SD
Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Recreational Technology (RERC-RT)
Examines the validity of three common activity monitors to assess EE among manual wheelchair users with SCI during varying modes and intensities of physical activity. AP VC
Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Spinal Cord Injury (RERC-SCI)
Performs research on technologies and approaches addressing pressure ulcer, urinary tract infection, and musculoskeletal injury prevention to develop mathematical models of inflammation and healing following spinal cord injury and monitor the risk and progression of these common secondary conditions. AP VC
Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Telerehabilitation (RERC-TR)
Develops methods, systems and technologies to support consultative, preventative, diagnostic and therapeutic interventions that improve and promote TR for individuals with limited access to outpaitent services. AP VC
Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Wheelchair Transportation Safety (RERC-WTS)
Reduces the barriers of motor vehicle transportation for individuals who use wheelchairs by achieving measurable improvements in transportation safety, usability and independence. AP SD
Rich Representations with Expose Semantics for Deep Visual Reasoning Explores qualitative geometric reasoning in terms of 3D spatial relationships between scene components, category-level object models, and global scene understanding.
Rich Stimuli Data Collection Interactive and web-based techniques to convey QoLT product concepts to end users and stakeholders for obtaining more valid reactions and ratings of systems in design.
Robust Speech to Text Messaging Development of a predicitive speech-to-text prototype to demonstrate voice prediction technology as a ubiquitious interface for a variety of computing platforms and assistive technologies. SB-TRC HSIT
Robust Tracking Experimentation with algorithms and sensing technologies towards a Symbiotic Black-box Tracker (SBT) for better general-purpose people tracking suitable to multiple contexts. AP PAT
Seating Coach Encourages safe and healthy use of electric powered wheelchairs by detecting seating activities, analyzing user behaviors, and responding accordingly with suggestions and reminders.
Self-Tuning Spaces

Extension of rehabilitation and compensation assistance  to the natural environment through device- and environment-mediated living spaces that leverage intelligence, aesthetics, flexibility and configurability.

Semantic Analysis of Large Multimedia Data Sets Development of mechanisms to enable real-time interactive video search for user defined concepts using intelligent, active processing clusters and high-accuracy semantic video analysis methods. AP PAT
Sensing Development of  new approaches to sensing, such as "first-person" vision in which the system experiences the environment and the user's behavior from the user's point of view. CP PAT
SMARTWheel Adaptation of Pitt's SMARTWheel device for use on Paralympic-style racing wheelchairs. AP VC
Soft Interaction Ways for robots to physically interact safely and intuitively with humans; development of robotics systems capable of manipulating humans gently and safely while performing assistive tasks. CP MoMaT
Software for Computer Input Devices Software development to allow clinicians and consumers to identify the most appropriate configuration and options for a scanning system that maximizes Text Entry Rate (TER). AP HSIT
State Art Assistive Technology Labs within VA Regional Polytrauma Centers Investigation and development of model Assistive Technology (AT) service delivery systems for the VA's four regional Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers (PRCs). AP HCHW
Telerehabilitation System for Intelligent Stretching & Remote Assessment of Arm Joints Evaluation of Visual Feedback Distortion (VFD) to enhance physical therapy regiments using Rehabtek's IntellilStretch device. SB-TRC MoMaT
Terrain-Dependent Driver Assistance for Electric Powered Wheelchairs Cost effective and reliable methods for automated EPW detection of hazardous terrains as well as proper driving rules and automated driver assistance on EPWs on each hazardous surface. AP QB
Trust in Remotely Acquired Data Survey of health care providers to assess levels of trust in the use of remotely acquired data.
Understanding Humans Identification of a comprehensive forward-dynamic model of neuromuscular swing-leg control for understanding human gait changes and dynamic balance restoration.
Understanding Quality and Equity in Wheelchairs for Veterans Study of the interrelations and consequences of patient demographics, psychosocial characteristics and provider factors on wheelchair quality and patient outcomes. AP PST
University of Pittsburgh Model Center on Spinal Cord Injury Research focused on assistive technology (AT) for mobility examining disparities in the quality of equipment received by inidividuals from minority groups and people with low socioeconomic status. AP PST
User Engagement Computer gaming applications that support virtual coaches and user engagement with health/rehabilitation data.
Use of an Instrumented Glove for In-Home Hand Therapy Development of a home-based physical rehabilitation system to improve hand function and finger coordination in indivudals with chronic brain injury, such as stroke. SB-TRC MoMaT
Vehicle Transformation:  Technology and Assessment for Drive-by-Wire Systems
Evaluation of adaptive driving vehicle modification equipment to enable safer driving through key design and vehicle control improvements as well as training courses. CP SD
Vehicle Enhancement: Virtual Valet Case studies on semi-Autonomous driver assistance systems targeting specific driver needs. Initial focus is on a car that parks autonomously without a driver in the vehicle.
Visual Information Restoration and Rehabilitation via Sensory Substitution Technology Creation of a wireless tongue display to improve the look and feel of the BrainPort Vision Device and evalute its usefulness amoung the blind. AP PAT
Weight Management Coach Pilots Adaption and extension of the technologies and methodologies used in Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) for use in studies of obesity. AP VC

Project Types

Core NSF-Funded Project
Associated Research Project
Small Business Translational Research Collaboration
Cross-Cutting Research Effort