Baecker - Electronic Cognitive Prostheses
Towards the Design of Electronic Cognitive Prostheses
Ronald Baecker, PhD
Professor, Computer Science
Bell University Laboratories Chair in Human-Computer Interaction
Founder and Chief Scientist of the Knowledge Media Design Institute
University of Toronto
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Davis Centre 1302, University of Waterloo
Co-Sponsored by: University of Waterloo Institute for Computer Research
View Video of Presentation in HI Alive Archive: Research Seminars Archive 2006-2007
Technological systems can function as cognitive prostheses. For example, existing cell phone and PDA software helps manage and access addresses, phone numbers, and appointments, but has only limited and rigid functionality. The goal of our research project is to envision, prototype, design, construct, and evaluate more powerful and flexible electronic cognitive aids. These should help people, including individuals who are aging and who have cognitive impairments, carry out activities of daily living; remember and use names, faces, and appointments; find objects of importance, such as glasses, wallets, and keys; understand and remember procedural instructions, such as taking medications; reminisce about meaningful aspects of their lives; and communicate with distant loved ones.
We shall motivate this work in terms of need and opportunity. Demographers forecast significant increases in the percentage of senior citizens and in the prevalence of cognitive impairments caused by afflictions such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Information technology, and in particular advances in mobile, ubiquitous, and multimedia computing, allow us to create powerful new aids to cognition.
We shall develop a seven-dimensional framework for our research encompassing the kind of cognitive function to be supported, such as aspects of memory or executive functioning; the “disease” category for which it is intended, including AD, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and normal aging; the stakeholders for whom the system is intended, which may include caregivers and family members; whether the user will work with the prosthesis by himself or with assistance; the kind of technology to be used; and the design process that is employed, such as user-centred design and participatory design. Of greatest importance is whether the technology is intended as a prosthesis, or to function as an aid to rehabilitation, or most ambitiously as a mechanism for prevention, e.g., helping to delay cognitive decline.
We shall illustrate the framework with projects that are underway:
- The participatory design of orientation aids for individuals with amnesia (MSc student M. Wu, in collaboration with Dr. B. Richards of the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care in Toronto, completed), followed by an investigation of cognitive aids as collaboration technology among amnesiacs and members of their families (PhD student M. Wu, together with Dr. Richards).
- The participatory design of DVD-based multimedia biographies for AD and MCI individuals and their families (with Dr. E. Marziali at Baycrest, also previously T. Cohene, S. Mindy, and K. Ramdeen, and now S. Chatland, K. Easley, M. Yeung, and M. Crete, supported by the Alzheimer’s Association).
- The participatory design of a cell phone software to support normally aging seniors (MSc student Mike Massimi, with the assistance of Dr. David Ryan at Sunnybrook, completed), followed by an investigation of the roles of mobile devices in supporting the development of effective internal memory strategies by individuals with MCI (PhD students Mike Wu and Mike Massimi, in collaboration with Dr. Richards, Dr. Kelly Murphy, and Dr. E. Svoboda at Baycrest).
The talk will conclude with brief sketches of several other projects that are defined and await funding.
About the Speaker
Ronald Baecker is Professor of Computer Science, Bell University Laboratories Chair in Human-Computer Interaction, and Founder and Chief Scientist of the Knowledge Media Design Institute at the University of Toronto. He is Affiliate Scientist with the Kunin-Lunenfeld Applied Research Unit of the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, and during the first half of 2006 was Visiting Professor, Cognitive Neuroscience, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons. Baecker is also Principal Investigator of the CDN$5.5M Canada-wide NSERC Network for Effective Collaboration Technologies through Advanced Research (NECTAR), has been named one of the 60 Pioneers of Computer Graphics by ACM SIGGRAPH, has been elected to the CHI (Computers and Human Interaction) Academy by ACM SIGCHI, and has been awarded the Canadian Human Computer Communications Society Achievement Award. He has published over 125 papers and articles, is author or co-author of four books and co-holder of 2 patents, and has founded and run two software companies. His current entrepreneurial venture is a virtual non-profit foundation within the University of Toronto to distribute and support the open source ePresence Interactive Media system (http://epresence.tv). His B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D. are from M.I.T.