The goal of this project is to create novel computer-based devices that will enhance the quality of life for people with cognitive disabilities. These devices are memory and problem-solving aids that will help an individual perform the tasks of day-to-day life more independently.

In this project, we investigate the use of assistive technologies for cognition (ATC) as tools for caregivers in supporting individuals with cognitive disabilities in living, working, and fully participate in community activities. We also evaluate the use of ATC in increasing independence and decreasing reliance of individuals with cognitive disabilities on the family/friend/caregiver network and paid support staff.

Initially, we are focusing on the development of devices for providing assistance in route finding and community mobility to individuals with cognitive disabilities. The first assisted cognition device we are developing is called Opportunity Knocks. Opportunity Knocks will detect when a user is likely to be lost or wandering and guide the user back to home or another place of safety, when necessary. Opportunity Knocks meshes several technologies (cell phone, GPS receiver and wireless modem). In its final form, it will learn a user's typical daily routines (including locations of activities), monitor for variations in the individual's typical day-to-day activities, and then decide whether a prompt is necessary if the routine is unexpectedly changed. Opportunity Knocks exists as a preliminary proof of concept prototype.

The outcome of our work will be the continued development of prototype devices that provide sophisticated assistance in functional areas requiring cognitive skills as well as the training protocols needed to prepare users to effectively use them.

This project is located at the University of Washington and is a collaboration of