Saturday, July 28, 2007

Ubiquitous computing and privacy: a design project

from ACM technews

Informatics Designs Tools to Promote Health Care,
Independent Living

Indiana University (07/19/07)
Researchers at the Indiana University School of Informatics will design tools that address the privacy concerns of the elderly, as information processing becomes more integrated in everyday devices around them. They
will build a "living lab," and volunteers from a Bloomington retirement community will participate in studies and provide feedback on how to improve designs and the design methodology. The digital toolkit could include a sensor that would be mounted to the kitchen counter for volunteers to place a finger before making breakfast, and a sensor embedded in a TV remote control that measures the participant's heart rate each time
it is used. "Our proposal addresses the acute privacy challenges of using ubiquitous computing in a home-based health care environment, where vulnerable populations risk enforced technology intimacy," says associate professor Jean Camp, who specializes in privacy issues and the impact of IT on society. They will concentrate on developing tools that will allow the volunteers and their caregivers to communicate their privacy concerns in the second year of the study, and in the third year the team will design a ubiquitous computing system for two households at the retirement community and study the interaction. The National Science Foundation is funding the project with a $821,000 grant.
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