A team that included multiple students from Brown University’s Department of Computer Science (Brown CS) has just won the Best Aging in Place Hack award at MIT’s Grand Hack 2016. Inspired by a mentor whose mother suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, Sven Eberhardt (Brown University postdoc), Youssef Barhomi (Brown University research engineer), Pankaj Gupta (Brown University research assistant), Nediyana Daskalova (Brown CS PhD candidate), Adrienne Tran (Brown University alum and founder of Neurocurious), and Alejandro Scaffa (Brown University PhD candidate) formed team “alzEYEmers” to create a unique solution based on computer vision, AI, and neuroscience.
Their project leverages software that can recognize common household objects as well as hazards, then supplies an Alzheimer’s patient with a camera worn around the neck. During any unattended hours, the camera serves as a watchdog: if it spies a hazard (for example, a fire), it can redirect the patient with recorded prompts, alert a family member, or even call 911.
“This was a very different hackathon from others I’ve been to,” says Nediyana, “The idea was to talk to many people from diverse backgrounds in order to think about the problem from various points of view before solving it. We spoke to six different people about their experiences with Alzheimer’s before we even began hacking. We really found it interesting to spend so much time thinking about a problem before jumping to a technological solution.”