Using Muse: Alex Hwang’s Motion Sickness-Inspired Solution

Alex_Hwang_PicturesAlex Hwang, PhD, laughs when he recalls the inspiration for his Wearables in Healthcare Pilot Challenge submission: his wife’s motion sickness.

“We went to the movie theater to see the Avatar in 3D but my wife could not finish the movie because of her motion sickness-like symptoms,” he says. “As a movie fanatics, this was a big problem for me, too, because I could not see a 3D movie ever again. So I started digging into what might be the cause of these problems and tried to find the solution – if there is any.”

Hwang, a researcher at the Schepens Eye Research Institute, read stacks of papers and began to notice that motion sickness hasn’t been studied very extensively. So he paired up with Dr. Eli Peli, a Google Glass researcher and Optometrist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, and other ODs (who are conducting clinical research) and PhDs (for electrical and optics engineering, psychology, and vision and computer engineering) to dig into this problem. (PS. Dr. Peli will be bringing some sweet Google Glass demos to the live event on Thursday night – get excited.)

Within the Google Wearables in Healthcare Pilot Challenge, Hwang proposes using Muse, a brain sensing headband, to focus on clearing noise in brain waves. He hopes that this will allow him to objectively measure visually-induced motion sickness (VIMS), as there is currently no validated, objective way to do so.

“According to the Muse API description, it seems pretty clear that the Muse did a good job of concentrating on four channels and clearing noise for those brain waves,” Hwang says. “Since measuring other objective factors can be done comparably easily with the currently available wearable devices, incorporating the Muse to our experimental paradigm will be easily done and provides precious opportunity to verify if we can use the Muse on VIMS measurements.”

Hwang and his team have already won the Muse award. But this Thursday, they’ll travel to Boston to pitch their idea live in front of a panel of judges, hoping to win the grand prize and to collect valuable feedback about incorporating wearables into academic study.

“If the Muse turns out to be sensitive enough to measure the level of VIMS, the method and results will be presented to various journals and at conferences, so that many developers who are working on resolving VIMS problems can test the effectiveness of their solutions,” Hwang says of the importance of his pitch.

He also says that he’s excited for the pitch-off at Google Cambridge because of the opportunity to learn from others who hope to use wearable technology to solve and improve various healthcare problems.

Tickets for the live event at Google Cambridge headquarters are now sold out, but you can add yourself to the wait list here.

You can also register for our first ever MedTALK Boston Networking Night, on May 13th, for similar conversation and collaboration.

Jenni Whalen

Jenni Whalen

    Jenni Whalen is the Executive Assistant of Editorial at Upworthy. She was previously MedTech Boston's Managing Editor and has an MS in Journalism from Boston University, as well as a BA in Psychology from Bucknell University. Whalen has written for Greatist, Boston magazine, AZ Central Healthy Living and the New England Journal of Medicine, among other places. She has also worked as a conference planner, ghost writer, researcher and content developer.

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