The broader impact/commercial potential of this I-Corps project is the development of a biofeedback training tool to increase student academic performance. As pressures to improve academic performance continue to increase, students are increasingly coming to school emotionally unprepared to learn. This is frequently compounded by the lack of a healthy social and emotional environment within the school to support, motivate, and emotionally engage students. As research has illuminated the important connections between emotions, learning, and performance, it has become apparent that effective school-based interventions are needed to foster and integrate students’ emotional, social, and academic development to provide them with tools and skills needed to increase self-awareness and emotional self-management; promote effective communication; practice healthy, responsible behaviors; and build functional, collaborative relationships.

This I-Corps project is based on the development of a peripheral autonomic biofeedback training device as an effective process by which patients self-monitor heart rate, skin conductivity, peripheral skin temperature, and respiration rate while attempting to alter their internal responses. Breathing exercises and mindfulness techniques paired with biofeedback display has proven a powerful tool when teaching self-regulation of stress and anxiety. Not surprisingly, a number of studies have closely examined college student populations and their response to biofeedback training. The technology provides an emotion-aware, mental health and wellness platform that uses multimodal peripheral biofeedback, wireless sensor technology, and a goal-oriented software agent that will automatically refine the user experience based on the users’ real-time feedback from emotion-analyzing and gesture-tracking modules. Augmented by software agents, the interactive virtual objects will possess rich personality and emotional states flexible enough to respond to user’s interactions with intelligence and affective awareness. The results of this project will enable further development and translation of gamified, multimodal biofeedback training.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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University of Washington
United States
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