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Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:Carnegie-Mellon University
  • Daniel P Siewiorek
  • (412) 268-2570
Award Date:05/17/2006
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 14,471,945
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 19,062,515
  • FY 2010=$2,757,547
  • FY 2011=$2,629,274
  • FY 2013=$3,999,118
  • FY 2009=$3,009,052
  • FY 2006=$2,475,000
  • FY 2012=$4,069,024
  • FY 2007=$123,500
Start Date:06/01/2006
End Date:05/31/2015
Transaction Type: Cooperative Agreements
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.041
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Quality of Life Technology Engineering Research Center
Federal Award ID Number:0540865
DUNS ID:052184116
Parent DUNS ID:052184116
Program:ERC-Eng Research Centers
Program Officer:
  • Deborah Jackson
  • (703) 292-7499

Awardee Location

Street:5000 Forbes Avenue
Awardee Cong. District:18

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Carnegie-Mellon University
Street:5000 Forbes Avenue
Cong. District:18

Abstract at Time of Award

Lead Institution: Carnegie Mellon University; Principal Investigator: Takeo Kanade Core Partner Institution: University of Pittsburgh; Co-Principal Investigator: Rory A. Cooper Affiliated Outreach Institutions: Florida/Georgia LSAMP, Howard Univ., Lincoln Univ. The Quality of Life Technologies Engineering Research Center (QoLT ERC) will transform lives in a large and growing segment of the population - people with reduced functional capabilities due to aging or disability. Future compassionate intelligent QoLT systems, either individual devices or technology-embedded environments, will monitor and communicate with a person, understand daily needs and tasks, and provide reliable and happily-accepted assistance by compensating and substituting for diminished capabilities. Intellectual Merit: The QoLT ERC will create the scientific and engineering knowledge base that enables systematic development of human-centered intelligent systems that co-exist and co-work with people, particularly people with impairments. These QoLT systems may be an individual device that a person carries or wears, a mobility system that a person rides or that accompanies the person, an environment that is instrumented, or a combination of these. The QoLT ERC research will build upon recent advances in intelligent system technologies, including machine perception, robotics, learning, communication, and miniaturization, many of which have been created and applied to date mainly to industry, military, and entertainment. The QoLT ERC will transform these advances and develop new technologies for perceiving, reasoning with, and affecting people improving their lives. Many previous attempts to use sophisticated technology to enhance function for people with disabilities failed. One reason for those failures was a limited understanding of the human with disability and a lack of tight integration of technical and clinical expertise with users' needs. The QoLT ERC will overcome these barriers through partnership of Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh in four thrust areas: Monitoring & Modeling, Mobility & Manipulation, Human-System Interface, and Person & Society, and by working closely with user groups throughout design, development, test, and deployment phases. The team has technical strengths in intelligent systems, rehabilitation engineering, and related clinical areas, and ample access to real-world testbeds. Broader Impacts: The technologies that the QoLT ERC develops will enable people with disabilities to independently perform activities of daily living. By restoring and preserving independence they can pursue individual goals and more fully participate in society. To have more people gainfully employed and to reduce the need for or delay the onset of institutionalization will have the ultimate impact on national economy. The QoLT ERC will expand the pools of talented students in two fronts: the pool of engineering students, with substantial clinical and socio-economic training and experiences that will motive them to create technologies for quality of life; and the pool of clinically-oriented students with engineering training and experiences that will help them understand how best to integrate technology into their practices. It will also teach students how to collaborate effectively one of the most recognized and yet difficult-to-overcome challenges in the development and implementation of systems for people's use. The fact that our ERC team includes a significant number of women faculty and faculty with disabilities will have a major impact on diversity. They serve as role models, and encourage extensive participation of women and people with disabilities in the ERC as faculty, students, advisors, and clients. The membership of the QoLT ERC industry consortium includes a wide spectrum of companies pertaining to all aspects of daily life: medical devices, assistive technology, information technology, consumer electronics, healthcare, and insurance. The QoLT ERC will catalyze a large and technologically sophisticated industry sector that ultimately will help all of us to function more capably, perceptively, and intelligently.

Publications Produced as a Result of this Research

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French B., Siewiorek D., Smailagic A., Kamarck T. "Lessons Learned Designing Multi-Modal Ecological Momentary Assessment Tools" Journal of Technology and Disability, Special Issue on Quality of Life Technology,, v., 2010, p..

Cooper, R.A., Grindle, G.G., Vazquez, J.J., Xu, J., Wang, H., Candiotti, J., Salatin, B., Houston, E., Kelleher, A.R., Cooper, R.M., Teodorski, E., and Beach, S. "Personal Mobility and Manipulation Appliance - Design, Development and Initial Testing." Proceedings of the IEEE, Special Issue on Quality of Life Technology, v.100, 2012, p.2505-2511.

Pasquina P.F., Pasquina L.F., Anderson-Barnes V.C., Guiggio J.S., Cooper R.A "Using architecture & technology to promote improved quality of life for military service members with traumatic brain injury" PM&R Clinics of North Americ, v., 2010, p..

Berenson, D; Srinivasa, S; Kuffner, J "Task Space Regions: A framework for pose-constrained manipulation planning" INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ROBOTICS RESEARCH, v.30, 2011, p.1435. doi:10.1177/027836491039638  View record at Web of Science

Dicianno, B.E., Mahajan, H., Guirand, A.S., Cooper, R.A. "Joystick Use for Virtual Electric Power Wheelchair Driving in Individuals with Spastic Cerebral Palsy." American Journal of PM&R, v.91, 2012, p.823-830.

Ke Y., Sukthankar R., Hebert M. "Volumetric Features for Video Event Detection" International Journal of Computer Vision, v., 2010, p..

Liu H.Y., Cooper R., Cooper R., Smailagic A., Siewiorek D., Ding D., Chuang F.C. "Seating Virtual Coach â?? A Smart Reminder for Power Seat Function Usage" Journal for Technology and Disability Special Issue on Quality of Life Technology, v., 2010, p..

Roosmalen L.v., Paquin G.J., Steinfeld A.M. "Quality of Life Technology: The State of Personal Transportation" Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, v., 2010, p..

Brose S., Weber D., Salatin B., Grindle G.G., Wang H., Vazquez J.J., Cooper R.A "The Role of Assistive Robotics in the Lives of Persons with a Disability" American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, v., 2010, p..

Srinivasa S., Ferguson D., Helfrich C., Berenson D., Collet A., Diankov R., Gallagher G., Hollinger G., Kuffner J., Vande Weghe M. "HERB: A Home Exploring Robot Butler" Journal of Autonomous Robots, v., 2010, p..

Cooper, R.A. "Wheelchair Research Progress, Perspectives, and Transformation." Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, v.49, 2012, p.1-5.

Collet, A; Martinez, M; Srinivasa, SS "The MOPED framework: Object recognition and pose estimation for manipulation" INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ROBOTICS RESEARCH, v.30, 2011, p.1284. doi:10.1177/027836491140176  View record at Web of Science

Cooper R.A., Cooper R.M "Quality of Life Technology for People with Spinal Cord Injuries" PM&R Clinics of North America, v., 2010, p..

Brown S.R., Goldberg M., and Brown K. "Research Update: The Power of Encouragement." PN, v.66, 2012, p.36-37.

Kanade, T., and Hebert, M. "First-Person Vision." Proceedings of the IEEE, Special Issue on Quality of Life Technology, v.100, 2012, p.2442-2453.

Cooper R.A., Koontz A.M., Ding D., Kelleher A.R., Rice I., Cooper R.M. "Manual Wheeled Mobility: Current and Future Developments from the Human Engineering Research Laboratories" Disability and Rehabilitation, v., 2010, p..

Schulz, R, Beach, SR, Matthews, JT, Courtney, K, Devito Dabbs, A, Person Mecca, L, Sankey, S "Willingness to Pay for Quality of Life Technologies to Enhance Independent Functioning Among Baby Boomers and the Elderly" Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, v.54, 2013, p..

Laferrier J.Z., McFarland L., Boninger M.L., Cooper R.A., Reiber G. "Wheeled Mobility: Factors Influencing Mobility and Assistive Technology in Veterans with Major Traumatic Limb Loss from Vietnam War and OIF/OEF Conflicts" Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, v., 2010, p..

Dicianno B.E., Cooper R.A., Coltallaro J. "Joystick Control for Powered Mobility: Current State of Technology and Future Directions" PM&R Clinics of North America, v., 2010, p..

Garcia-Mendez, Y., Pearlman, J., Cooper, R.A. and Boninger, M.L. "The Dynamic Stiffness and Transmissibility of Commercially-Available Wheelchair Cushions Using a Laboratory Test Method." Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, v.49, 2012, p.7-22.

Ding D., Liu H.Y., Cooper R., Cooper R. A., Smailagic A., & Siewiorek D. "Virtual Coach Technology for Supporting Self-Care" Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, v., 2010, p..

Steinfeld A., Aziz R., Von Dehsen L., Park S. Y., Maisel J., & Steinfeld E. "The value and acceptance of citizen science to promote transit accessibility" Journal of Technology and Disability, v., 2010, p..

Simpson R.C., Koester H.H., LoPresti E.F. "Research in Computer Access Assessment and Intervention" PM&R Clinics of North America, v., 2010, p..

Cooper R.A., Srinivasa S., Atkeson C., and Xu J. "Quality of Life Technology Robots for People with Disabilities and Older Adults" CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, v., 2010, p..

Lee D.C., Gupta A., Hebert M., Kanade T "Estimating Spatial Layout of Rooms using Volumetric Reasoning about Objects and Surfaces" Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems, v., 2010, p..

Boots B. and Gordon G.J "Predictive state temporal difference learning" Advances in Neural Information Processing System, v., 2010, p..

Wang W., Collinger J.L., Perez M.A., Tyler-Kabara E.C., Cohen L.G., Birbaumer N., Brose S.W., Schwartz A.B., Boninger M.L., Weber D.J "Neural Interface Technology for Rehabilitation: Exploiting and Promoting Neuroplasticity" PM&R Clinics of North America, v., 2010, p..

Karmarkar A., Collins D.M., Kelleher A., Ding D., Oyster M., Cooper R.A. "Manual Wheelchair- Related Mobility Characteristics of Older Adults in Nursing Homes, Disability and Rehabilitation" Assistive Technology, v., 2010, p..

Kirby R., Forlizzi J., Simmons R. "Affective Social Robots" Robotic and Autonomous Systems, v., 2010, p..

Jeni, L., Lorincz, A., Nagy, T., et. al. "3D Shape estimation in video sequences provides high precision evaluation of facial expressions." Image and Vision Processing, v.30, 2012, p.785-795.

Ding, D; Cooper, RA; Pasquina, PF; Fici-Pasquina, L "Sensor technology for smart homes" MATURITAS, v.69, 2011, p.131. doi:10.1016/j.maturitas.2011.03.01  View record at Web of Science

Beyene N.M., Steinfeld A., Pearlman J., and Cooper R.A. "Exploration of Health Perceptions and Assistive Technology Use by Driving Status as Related to Transportation Independence in New Delhi, India." Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, v.4, 2012, p.314-22. doi:10.3109/17483107.2011.635328 

Dogar, M. and Srinivasa, S. "A Planning Framework for Non-prehensile Manipulation under Clutter and Uncertainty." Autonomous Robots, v.33, 2012, p.217-236.

Cooper, R.A., Molinero, A.M., Souza, A., Collins, D.M., Karmarkar, A., Teodorski, E., Sporner, M. "Effects of Cross Slopes and Varying Surface Characteristics on the Mobility of Wheelchair Users." Assistive Technology, v.24, 2012, p.102-109.

Publications Produced as Conference Proceedings

Kang, HW;Hebert, M;Kanade, T "Discovering Object Instances from Scenes of Daily Living" IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), v. , 2011, p.762 View record at Web of Science

Berenson, D;Srinivasa, SS "Probabilistically Complete Planning with End-Effector Pose Constraints" IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), v. , 2010, p.2724 View record at Web of Science

Faulring, A;Myers, B;Mohnkern, K;Schmerl, B;Steinfeld, A;Zimmerman, J;Smailagic, A;Hansen, J;Siewiorek, D "Agent-Assisted Task Management that Reduces Email Overload" Proceedings of the 14th ACM International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces, v. , 2010, p.61 View record at Web of Science

Yoo, D;Zimmerman, J;Steinfeld, A;Tomasic, A "Understanding the Space for Co-design in Riders' Interactions With a Transit Service" 28th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, v. , 2010, p.1797 View record at Web of Science

Collet, A;Srinivasa, SS "Efficient Multi-View Object Recognition and Full Pose Estimation" IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), v. , 2010, p.2050 View record at Web of Science

Martinez, M;Collet, A;Srinivasa, SS "MOPED: A Scalable and Low Latency Object Recognition and Pose Estimation System" IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), v. , 2010, p.2043 View record at Web of Science

Knepper, RA;Srinivasa, SS;Mason, MT "Hierarchical Planning Architectures for Mobile Manipulation Tasks in Indoor Environments" IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), v. , 2010, p.1985 View record at Web of Science

Project Outcomes Report


This Project Outcomes Report for the General Public is displayed verbatim as submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) for this award. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Report are those of the PI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation; NSF has not approved or endorsed its content.

The Quality of Life Technology (QoLT) center is run collaboratively by Carnegie Mellon University and The University of Pittsburgh. Our vision is for the widespread use of intelligent systems that augment body and mind functions to improve quality of life. QoLT systems maintain health and prevent or slow decline, compensate for diminished human capabilities and enhance intact ones. They operate everyday and fit seamlessly into people’s lives.

We successfully merged the talents, expertise and perspectives of multiple disciplines especially bringing in those outside engineering and computer sciences. We implemented models of end-user inclusive design  in the development of our technologies, and developed evaluation methodologies for assessing the needs, acceptability and impact of QoLT through nationally representative surveys.

We developed new ways to gather health data that emphasize usability for and acceptability of care recipients and caregivers and exploit techniques to personalize interfaces and to keep users engaged. We developed approaches to match technology to the user’s individual characteristics and idiosyncrasies and to his/her current environment, circumstances and status by building intelligence into the system. We made extensive use of machine learning to capture the state of the user and to develop a predictive model of how he/she will interact with the system.

We contributed to the field of human-robot interaction through large surveys and ethnographic studies, the findings of which indicate that social interactions with assistive robots may be even more critical to user acceptance than the speed at which the robot performs its function. We developed robotic toys aimed at children with learning and other disabilities. We developed a suite of algorithms that provide breakthrough advances in robotic teleoperation.

We made significant contributions to manipulation planning that include algorithms to rearrange clutter using a variety of non-grasping actions, like pushing and sweeping, to fulfill a manipulation goal, using approaches that are based on the physics of sliding. Our framework for handling constraints such as variability of object shape, spatial arrangement of objects and potential interferences between a manipulator and its surroundings, allow planning of grasping tasks that were previously unachievable and are more robust and generalizable than competing methods.

We spearheaded a new field of soft robots, i.e., robot mechanisms that are intrinsically unable to impart potentially dangerous impact forces. We advanced robot control strategies that enforce safe movement as paramount, and developed neuromuscular models of human legs towards the goal of developing new approaches to controlling prosthetic legs and lower body exoskeletons.

We developed computer vision approaches for understanding the arrangement of everyday scenes. They take advantage of the context provided by everyday living and work environments, learn about new objects, work in a wide variety of observation conditions, cope with objects that have few distinctive visual features, deliberately model occlusions and spatial relationships among objects, and minimize involvement of the user.

Using machine learning and inverse optimal control theory, we pioneered methods to recognize and even predict human actions. We developed tools to synchronize and align sensor data that supports activity recognition, and collected large datasets in a variety of laboratory and field contexts.

We pioneered hardware configurations for ego-centric vision  with end-user usability in mind, integrated several of our object and activity recognition applications to it, and explored a number of novel applications.

We explored technologies that can support independent mobility in personal vehicles: using sensors to objecti...

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