HBI Lab receives SBIR Phase 1 subaward

CTPC members Vigorous Mind, Inc. and the HBI Lab have received SBIR Phase 1 funding from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) to support their collaborative proposal, Integrated Web-Based Customer Engagement, Physical  Exercise, and Coaching Platform for Older Adults. The goal of the project is to test the feasibility of deploying an economically feasible, machine-assisted, home-based wellness coaching system for older adults (read more about the project below).

Vigorous Mind joined the Consortium on Technology for Proactive Care in 2016. The HBI Lab is looking forward to a long and fruitful collaboration with VM!


The fast-growing older population coupled with the worsening shortage of caregivers and nurses will soon present our nation with severe societal and economic challenges. Older adults often struggle to maintain quality of life and independence in the presence of chronic diseases and isolation. Physical exercise and socialization have been shown to reduce chronic disease, depression, falls and to improve quality of life in older adults. Motivation and feedback are essential to continued engagement in a wellness program, but doing so through the traditional manner of in-person coaching can be prohibitively expensive. Vigorous Mind (VM) has been providing a web-based platform to promote sustained engagement in older adults primarily in senior living facilities. The platform provides dynamic and tailored content including reminiscence activities, favorite music and video, adaptive computer games and communication. With the help of the Consortium on Technology for Proactive Care, we will enhance the current VM system with an additional interactive physical exercise module and a health coach with automated tailored messaging and incentives for continued engagement and adherence. This will optimize the VM system for home-based deployment, thus expanding the reach and impact of VM to potentially delay or even prevent institutionalization among older adults living independently.

2016-2017 Year in Review

The Health Behavior Informatics Lab members have been busy this past year! Below, we’ve summarized some of our recent achievements.

August 2017 – Maciej Kos, 3rd year Personal Health Informatics PhD student, was awarded a Computational & Data Science Fellowship from the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on High Performance Computing (SIGHPC). Maciej’s award was featured in the NU CCIS newsletter. Congratulations, Maciej!

July 2017 – The HBI Lab presented Can Accelerometry Data Improve Estimates of Heart Rate Variability from Wrist PPG Sensors? at the 39th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society held in Jeju Island, South Korea. This presentation shared the results of a pilot study performed in the fall of 2016 that lead to the development a novel model-based approach to data cleaning and analysis to improve coherence between PPG collected on the wrist and gold standard electrocardiogram (ECG) data.

May 2017 – The HBI Lab opened NUHome, a fully functional one bedroom apartment intended to support the study of human behavior in the home environment through the use of sensors and mobile technologies. Specifically, the lab’s primary uses are for usability testing, quality assurance, and training for health professionals. NU Home is a resource for the greater interdisciplinary research community within and beyond Northeastern University.

March 2017 – The HBI Lab was awarded a contract with Antioxidant Home Monitoring, LLC to evaluation their proprietary at-home oxidative stress test.

The HBI Lab launch NUCoach, a modular health coaching and research platform built by the Health Behavior Informatics Lab at Northeastern University. Supported by DeepHealth Lab technologies, NUCoach is a powerful yet flexible tool that allows health behavior researchers to gather immense amounts of participant data in real world contexts in near real time. Through sensor integrations and experience sampling, we can not only learn more about our participants’ behaviors but be better prepared to intervene in the right context at the right time. NUCoach is exclusively available for use by members of the Consortium on Technology for Proactive Care.

September 2016 – Brandon Ransom, 1st year Personal Health Informatics PhD student, was awarded a four-year fellowship in the first cohort of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Research Scholars. According to RWJF, this program, “is a leadership development opportunity for first- and second-year full-time doctoral students from underrepresented populations and/or disadvantaged backgrounds—students whose ethnicity, socioeconomic status, ability, and other factors allow them to bring unique and diverse perspectives to their research. They want to apply their research to advance health and equity, and their innovation helps build a Culture of Health, one that enables everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives.” Learn more about the program here. Congratulations, Brandon!

Thanks for catching up on our recent achievements!

HBI’s new collaboration with Antioxidant Home Monitoring, LLC

The HBI lab has begun a new collaboration with Antioxidant Home Monitoring, LLC (AHM) that could give consumers real insight into their health using a stress biomarker. Lead by Francis Turbiak-Magnotti, AHM has developed a home test kit for measuring free radicals in the urine.  We plan to conduct a study to show the feasibility and potential for consumers to make this measurement in their home environment, allowing them to have immediate feedback on their progress toward improving health. Results of the collaboration are expected in early 2018.

Jimison and Pavel present at EMBC 2016

Drs. Jimison and Pavel both presented at the 38th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC’16) on Wednesday, August 17th in Orlando, Florida. This year’s meeting was entitled: “Empowering Individual Healthcare Decisions through Technology.” Drs. Jimison and Pavel gave two presentations. See below for more details.

Behavioral Informatics: Dynamical Models for Measuring an Assessing Behaviors for Precision Interventions

Real-Time Measures of Context to Improve Fall-Detection Models