With a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation's Computer Systems Research program, researchers from Clemson University and Dartmouth College launched the Amulet project to develop computational jewelry to support mobile-health applications.
"The advent of mobile health (mHealth) technology brings great opportunity to improve quality of life, individual and public health and reduce health-care costs," said Kelly Caine, assistant professor in the Human-Centered Computing Division in Clemson University's School of Computing. "Although mHealth devices and applications are proliferating, many challenges remain to provide the necessary usability, manageability, interoperability, availability, security and privacy."
The researchers are engineering tools and laying the scientific foundation for secure, privacy-preserving wearable mHealth. In the process, they are developing a general framework for body-area pervasive computing, centered on health-monitoring and health-management applications.
"Our vision is that computational jewelry, in a form like a bracelet or pendant, will provide the properties essential for successful body-area mHealth networks," said Jacob Sorber, assistant professor in the School of Computing. "These devices coordinate the activity of the body-area network and provide a discreet means for communicating with their wearer."
Such devices will complement the capabilities of a smartphone, bridging the gap between the type of universal computing possible with a mobile phone and enabled by a wearable computing device.
This interdisciplinary team of investigators is designing and developing Amulet, an electronic bracelet and a software framework that enables developers to create user-friendly, safe, secure and efficient mHealth applications that fit seamlessly into everyday life.
The research is determining the degree to which computational jewelry offers advantages in availability, reliability, security, privacy and usability' and developing techniques that provide these properties in spite of the severely constrained power resources of wearable jewelry.
"Unlike popular fitness trackers, this wristband talks to your other health and fitness devices, so they know it's you using them and gives you a quick and easy way to approve the transfer of health information from one device to another or to your health record at your direction, therefore preserving privacy," said Sorber.
Amulet also will track the use of medications and send reminders when it's time for another dose. The wristband will provide critical health data to responders if the wearer experiences a medical emergency.