Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Apr 2008 Paper Accepted Pervasive 2008 LBR: DocTrack

Holland T. and Quigley A,, "DocTrack: automatic printed digital document tagging and remote retrieval", Late Breaking Results of the Sixth International Conference in Pervasive Computing (PERVASIVE 2008), Sydney Australia May 2008

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Apr 2008 TRIL BioMOBIUS Launch

I am one of the Principal Investigators for the TRIL Centre (Technology Research for Independent Living) on the Technology Platform and today we launched the BioMOBIUS™ Research Platform. This is the combined effort of a dedicated and highly creative group of hardware engineers, software engineers, biosignal process engineers, researchers, designers and managers. Congratulations to the entire TRIL TTP team for great research platform.

NEWS Links:
UCD Research


The TRIL Centre BioMOBIUS™ Research Platform an Open, Shareable Hardware and Software System

TTP TeamIn a clinical laboratory in St. James’s Hospital in Dublin, Ireland, an older woman walks along a mat that is embedded with motion sensors. The woman, who has experienced a recent fall, is also wearing several wireless sensors that monitor her heart rate and the motion of her limbs as she walks across the room. Small video cameras placed around the room also track her movement. As data is captured by the sensors and cameras, it is processed and streamed to a nearby computer. The computer screen displays a continually changing graph indicating irregularities in the woman’s gait that could lead to another fall—and a costly hospital stay. The clinical researcher viewing the screen asks the woman to slow her pace. Her gait becomes more regular and her heart rate slows. The clinician ends the experiment, gives the woman feedback on the results, and together they review a rehabilitation plan to help the woman improve her gait and hopefully, prevent another fall.

Scenarios such as the one above unfold on a regular basis at a clinic in St. James’s Hospital in Dublin, Ireland, enabled by the TRIL Centre BioMOBIUS™ Research Platform. The BioMOBIUS Research Platform is a combination of hardware, sensors, software, services, and a graphical development environment that enables therapists, clinicians and engineers to rapidly deploy technology solutions for biomedical research. The BioMOBIUS Research Platform supports the application needs of a broad range of stakeholders, from non-technical end users (such as older people) to hardware and software engineers.

Applications built using the BioMOBIUS Research Platform can be deployed in a wide variety of settings, from the clinical lab to the home. A typical application comprises wireless sensors that monitor markers such as gait stability, heart rate, and alertness; processing functionality, which
converts the sensor data into meaningful information; and a user interface, which enables the clinician to view the information and adjust application settings (for instance, to increase or reduce the frequency of sensor data collection).

The BioMOBIUS Research Platform was developed by the TRIL (Technology Research for
Independent Living) Centre— a groundbreaking research collaboration, jointly funded by Intel Corporation and the Irish government, to explore technology to help older people to continue living independently in the homes of their choice. Intel and the Industrial Development Agency (IDA) Ireland launched the Centre in 2007, jointly investing $30 million in this three-year research initiative involving researchers from Intel, University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin and National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway.

The first version of the BioMOBIUS Research Platform was released on 22 April, 2008 and is being made freely available to the research community (for research only) by the TRIL Centre. It can be downloaded at

Reusable, Extensible

A key challenge in health care research is the amount of time that must be devoted to technology development. ‘In a typical research project, 50 percent of a researcher’s time may be spent creating the foundational technologies required to get to the point of collecting data,’ says Dr. Aaron Quigley (UCD), the Academic Principal Investigator for the TRIL Technology Platform research strand. ‘Every researcher has to essentially reinvent the wheel. That’s inefficient, and it stalls research progress.’ The BioMOBIUS Research Platform addresses the problem by enabling researchers to leverage previous technology development efforts. The BioMOBIUS Research Platform is reusable and extensible, with an open architecture. The underlying model relies on the use of discrete functional
components or 'blocks' of code that perform certain tasks. Blocks can be reused or reconfigured to create new applications. This allows researchers to spend more time focusing on their research and less on developing technology. The first release of the BioMOBIUS Research Platform includes roughly 40 blocks that users can access to build applications, and anyone can build new blocks that others can reuse, modify and extend.

Simple, User-Friendly
The BioMOBIUS Research Platform addresses another challenge that researchers face: the
complexity of sensor software. ‘Much health care research relies on wireless sensing capability to collect data, but the software that comes with the wireless sensors usually is esoteric and quite difficult to use,’ says Michael McGrath, the Industrial Principal Investigator for the TRIL Technology Platform
research strand. ‘You have to be a specialized programmer to use the software effectively, due to its complexity.’

The software component of the BioMOBIUS Research Platform is complex too, but the complexity is hidden from most users. The software is based on the EyesWeb graphical development environment, created at the University of Genoa, and it makes the process of creating an application intuitive. The user drags and drops icons (blocks) onto a palette. Each icon represents an input (e.g., motion data or heart rate), output (e.g., a display of a graph) or processing function. The user connects the blocks in
the required order of execution to create an application. Even non-technical users can develop simple applications in a matter of minutes.

The technical requirements to use the BioMOBIUS Research Platform are modest. Running the BioMOBIUS Research Platform requires a medium- to high-specification PC or notebook computer (it runs on any x86-32 bit PC running Windows XP, but it works best with a multicore CPU). There is plenty of support at the BioMOBIUS Research Platform website ( for users who need it, including a discussion forum, documentation, guidelines and tutorials.

The BioMOBIUS Research Platform provides support for a variety of hardware, via wired and wireless interfaces. Default blocks are supplied to support a wide range of generic hardware devices (e.g., TCP/IP, Serial, and WDM camera devices). The BioMOBIUS Research Platform also currently supports the SHIMMER (Sensing Health with Intelligence, Modularity, Mobility and Experimental Reusability) family of wireless sensors, developed by Intel’s Digital Health Group, as well as Tactex Controls Inc. sensor products.

While the BioMOBIUS Research Platform is designed for ease of use, some engineering support likely will be required to configure and test new applications. In addition, non-technical users who want to develop new blocks will need the help of a software developer to write appropriate code (C++). BioMOBIUS Research Platform Applications

Today the BioMOBIUS Research Platform is being used primarily by TRIL researchers to help clinicians detect and prevent or ameliorate certain conditions related to ageing, such as falls and cognitive decline, and to help older people to strengthen their social connections. Among other applications developed using the BioMOBIUS Research Platform, TRIL researchers have created a neurological monitor, gait analysis and sleep quality applications, and a falls data capture solution involving the use of USB cameras.

Researchers within and beyond TRIL have shown a strong interest in developing other health care applications as well, including in-home diagnostic tests to identify biomarkers of diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. Beyond health care, the BioMOBIUS Research Platform can be used for a range of applications that require wireless capture and processing of sensor data, such as sports science applications.

An Expanding Ecosystem

In 2008, applications developed in the lab using the BioMOBIUS Research Platform will be tested in a small number of homes. The TRIL researchers will apply the results to further refine the prototypes and inform their research. The test results also can be used by clinicians to make informed recommendations to the healthcare and/or social services agencies who serve the older people participating in the pilots.

The establishment of the TRIL Centre and launch of the BioMOBIUS Research Platform have put ageing and independent living. An ecosystem of activity has
been growing steadily around TRIL, with the Irish business community, Irish universities, and multinationals such as Intel collaborating to provide research and technology leadership in this important domain.

The TRIL researchers hope that the ecosystem will grow and expand beyond Ireland. ‘We’re anxious to have researchers around the world embrace the open BioMOBIUS Research Platform,’ says McGrath. ‘We want to build a global community of practice, with people creating and sharing new blocks and applications that others can use, so we can accelerate research progress.’ As future versions of the BioMOBIUS Research Platform are released, TRIL plans to host a series of national and international workshops to promote the platform.

‘The TRIL Centre is only scratching the surface of what we can do with the BioMOBIUS Research Platform, especially to empower older people,’ says Quigley. ‘Today there are 600 million people over the age of 60, and the UN projects that this figure will grow to almost two billion by 2050. Home-based applications that use the BioMOBIUS Research Platform could potentially help those two billion people to monitor their own health, remain in their own homes, and maintain their independence for as long as possible. That’s a huge opportunity to do good in the world. ‘

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Apr 2008 SFI Funded CSET: CLARITY

Science Foundation Ireland is to fund a €16.4m technology partnership between UCD, DCU and Tyndall in the CLARITY CSET. I'm one of the collaborators in this centre and other academics in my research group such as Simon and Paddy and in my school in UCD are leading researchers in this world class research effort.

This CSET has grown out of the AIC who helped us secure our SFI UREKA grant in 2007 for ODCSSS, which continues to this day. Congrats to Barry and Alan and the rest of the CLARITY PIs.

Interested students should keep an eye open for future calls for both postgraduate and postdoctoral research positions with this new CSET.
News Coverage:

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Apr 2008 TRIL TTP - CASL Research Day

TRIL TTP/ CASL joint research day
Date: April 9th 2008
Time: 9:00-14:10
Location: UCD CASL, Seminar Room (ground floor)

  • 9:00 - 9:30 Welcome and coffee

  • 9:30 - 10:00 Dr. Joseph Kiniry - A Bit of Rigor Goes a Long Way - Making Small Changes to Software Process for Large Gains, School of Computer Science and Informatics UCD, CASL PI

  • 10:00 - 10:30 Dr. Brian Caulfield - Applications for wearable computing in sport and health, School of Physiotherapy UCD, CLARITY Associate PI

  • 10:30 - 11:00 Prof. Mark Keane - CSETs and their properties, Vice President for Innovation UCD

  • 11:00 - 11:15 Coffee break

  • 11:15 - 11:45 Dr. Scott Rickard - Techniques for Source Separation and Localization in Sensor Networks, School of Electrical, Electronic and Mechanical Engineering UCD, CASL Interim Director

  • 11:45 - 12:15 Dr. Colm Harmon - SHARE Ireland – Initial Findings from the Survey of Health and Retirement in Europe, Geary Institute UCD

  • 12:15 - 12:45 Rodd Bond - Recent urban improvement initiative for positive aging, Netwell Centre, Dundalk IT

  • 12:45 - 13:15 Dr. Terry Dishongh - TRIL roadmap, Digital Health Group Senior P.E., PRI Lead Technologist Intel / CTO TRIL Centre

  • 13:15 - 13:40 Lunch

  • 13:40 - 14:10 Dr. Aaron Quigley - Research Opportunities for use of BioMOBIUS in Chronic Cancer Care Research ideas informed from Pervasive Computing research, School of Computer Science and Informatics UCD, TRIL TTP PI, CASL PI

Monday, April 07, 2008

Apr 2008 EU Coordinating Action: CAPSIL

I have recently become the UCD PI for an EU Support Action CAPSIL we coordinate. CAPSIL is an ‘International Support of a Common Awareness and Knowledge Platform for Studying and Enabling Independent Living’. Our first kick off meeting is in London on April 10th with follow up meetings in Japan, Boston, Oregon and Ireland.

The aging of society is the single most important aspect of health care in the 21st century. Many intriguing ICT solutions are being developed within the EU, USA, and Japan for helping older people remain independent longer. However, these solutions tend to be fragmented and heterogeneous. The CAPSIL Coordinating Support Action (CSA) team is a strategic international coalition of University and Industrial partners that already have extensive teams developing hardware/software/knowledge solutions to independent living based on user requirements. All partners of CAPSIL are already members of regional and national centres on aging engaged in the process of helping to establish public policy and international standards. This support action is to launch initiatives, coordinated and disseminated by a series of workshops in the US, EU, and Japan (two per year for two years), with three fundamental goals:

* to develop a detailed CAPSIL Roadmap for EU research to achieve effective and sustainable solutions to independent living based on an in-depth analysis of independent living requirements and the ICT scenarios developed or under development in the EU, as well as the US and Japan (societies where the aging of the population are currently on par or exceeding the challenges that will be found within the EU).

* to support aging research by proposing procedures to incorporate all of these diverse solutions into WiKi entries (CAPSIL WiKi). These CAPSILs will enable researchers and the ICT industry to get the information they need to quickly and easily test solutions for prolonging independent living within the many and various heterogeneous communities. Only with this knowledge will the relevance and efficacy of technological solutions be maintained and be empowered with the capability to be adapted for various cultures.

* to use the CAPSIL Roadmap and the CAPSIL Workshops to help policy makers in the US and Japan coordinate research agendas and funding efforts across the three continents.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Apr 2008 Belfast Agreement, 10th Anniversary Event

I've been invited to attend an event early this month in Belfast Agreement to mark the 10th anniversary of the Belfast Agreement. In addition to the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Senator Mitchell, others who will participate include General John de Chastelain, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, John Hume, Mark Durkan, M.P., MLA, Gerry Adams, M.P., MLA, Sir Reg Empey, MLA, David Andrews, Liz O’Donnell, Paul Murphy, M.P., Monica McWilliams, Lord Alderdice, Dawn Purvis, MLA, and David Adams.

Hosted by the US Ireland Alliance, it's an event I'm looking forward to as they will have 100 alumni of the George J. Mitchell Scholarship program and other young leaders from across Ireland.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Apr 2008 Pervasive 2008 Tutorial

Context-Rich but Keyboard-Free Pervasive Computing - Pervasive Computing User Interfaces - Aaron J Quigley - Pervasive 2008 Tutorials

Clearly there are classes of computing application which will rely on the classical screen, keyboard and mouse interfaces for sometime to come. However, we are seeing the emergence of pervasive computing applications and scenarios which go beyond the traditional application design or even mobile computing application design. Designing User Interfaces for the disappearing computer is difficult. By its very nature Pervasive Computing is trying to make the computer less of a focal point, making it, dare we say invisible! The challenge therefore becomes to provide simple, seamless, natural and context-aware interfaces to complex, subtle and oft invisible pervasive computing applications. Instead of overwhelming the user with a plethora of options, research as shown the need to develop personalized user interfaces that leverage past and group actions in user interface interaction. This tutorial will provide an overview of the approaches taken in the development of user interfaces for pervasive computing applications to date.