Grant Funds Smart-Home Healthcare Tools

By Anna Lynn Spitzer

Irvine, CA, October 5th, 2012 - -  Calit2’s eHealth Collaboratory has been selected by Samueli Institute to collaborate on an initiative aimed at developing a set of “smart-home” tools for veterans and active duty service people with traumatic brain injuries and other war-related trauma.

The new $200,000 grant to Calit2 is a sub-award under the Brain Injury Disease Management, an Office of Naval Research-funded grant to Samueli Institute.

The grant will fund an in-home platform, and peripheral tools and techniques for evaluating individuals with traumatic stress disorder, brain injuries and stroke. The system also will include applications and devices for rehabilitation and monitoring.

“A home-based technology-assisted system built to assist individuals with war-related injuries will create a comfortable environment for function and recovery. It will significantly supplement care provided to soldiers and their families through the Department of Defense and Veteran’s Affairs healthcare systems,” said William Beckner, Samueli Institute’s senior director for health information technology and data management.   

 Samueli Institute is a non-profit research organization supporting the scientific investigation of healing and its role in medicine, health and healthcare. Founded in 2001 by Henry and Susan Samueli, the institute has funded approximately 130 research projects at more than 50 universities and institutions worldwide.

The smart-home healthcare system will be built upon a platform called Telios – Tele-Immersive Operating System – that was developed at Calit2 to serve as a hardware-independent, user-friendly Web 2.0 platform for communicating with peripheral devices, and collecting and sending data to remote servers. In order to provide military patients with a complete healthcare program, Telios will be rebuilt as a hardware-and-software system that can deliver health applications – HAPPs for short – and will become known as HAPPI, the Health Application Interface.

Stability Sole, a balance and gait-monitoring insole, will connect to the system. (Photo: Paul Kennedy)

 In addition to making available the newest technology-assisted interventions and monitoring for traumatic stress, brain injury and stroke, the project will position homes to readily accommodate new methodologies as they become available.
What sets the HAPPI system apart is the complete integration of all devices and technologies. A host of electronic medical tools currently exists but often, they do not work together. HAPPI creates a single platform that integrates all related devices and technologies in a simple, easy-to-use way.

As a result of the grant, two peripheral devices will be developed to run on the HAPPI system, providing a single platform for bringing data from the health applications to partnering healthcare centers: MusicGlove, a sensor-laden glove used for stroke rehabilitation; and Stability Sole, a balance and gait-monitoring insole.

MusicGlove, a sensor-laden glove used for stroke rehabilitation, is another system peripheral. (Photo: Paul Kenndy)

As with the original Telios platform, HAPPI will be based on Web 2.0 protocol, allowing developers to easily produce apps using their choice of Web-based programming tools.

The system will take the form of a box connected to users’ television sets. HAPPI is a complete website with fully-loaded Web services, including a user-friendly homepage screen that serves as an interface to the healthcare applications.

The peripherals, in addition to delivering therapies, will store patient data and when required, relay them directly to healthcare providers.
The Calit2 eHealth Collaboratory team is led by Mark Bachman, UCI assistant professor of engineering. Other key personnel include Calit2 Irvine Director G.P. Li, technical staff Tiffany Chua, and graduate research assistants Nizan Friedman and Peyton Paulick, who developed the Music Glove and Stability Sole, respectively.

“We opened the eHealth Collaboratory to serve as a testing ground for innovative and patient-centered healthcare technologies. The grant from Samueli Institute gives us the opportunity to develop and deploy solutions that can assist those who have served our country,” said Li. “This is very necessary and important work, and we’re honored to participate.”