The goal of this project is to create human-centered robotics technology to provide personalized neurorehabilitation to support older adults with mild cognitive impairment. The project investigates innovative approaches to this research area, and will make the following contributions to smart and connected health: create new approaches to support longitudinal, personalized robot learning in real-world environments; pioneer novel methods for delivering and sustaining cognitive neurorehabilitation, currently one of the only known treatments to prolong independence and slow the onset of disability caused by MCI; and contribute new methods to the fields of human-robot interaction (HRI), aging science, and behavioral science to support the co-creation of new technologies and new intervention delivery methods with older adults with cognitive impairments, their caregivers, and their providers. Harnessing technology to provide cognitive support and rehabilitation for older adults could potentially assist millions of people to maintain or improve their functioning and quality of life, and maintain their ability to live independently. Ultimately, these improvements could alleviate significant human suffering and lower healthcare costs for millions of people.

This project will inform multiple key research questions including: uncovering new methods for longitudinal preference learning, particularly with regard to how time-varying contextual bandits under concept drift can be employed across multimodal datasets; identifying principles for engaging in community-focused, stakeholder-centered research with people with MCI, with a particular focus on designing for resilience and autonomy; discovering how hybrid approaches to cognitive training delivered via a robot can inform cognitive functioning; and exploring how to design interventions for sustainability, both for people with MCI and other populations. The project team will also engage the public in intergenerational research between older adults and college students, empower older adults with cognitive impairments and their family members by giving them a voice in technology creation, recruit research students from groups underrepresented in computing and behavioral science, and broadly disseminate the research via publications, representations, and publicly available software frameworks with models, algorithms, and evaluation metrics.

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 California San Diego
La Jolla
United States
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