Wearing technology

first_imgThe final lecture in the series, “Loud Clothing and Noise-Enhanced Sensorimotor Function,” will be given by James J. Collins, William F. Warren Distinguished Professor, professor of biomedical engineering, and professor of medicine at Boston University. The lecture will take place on April 22 at 5 p.m. in Fay House. When Rosalind Picard visited an amusement park recently for her son’s birthday, she wore four high-tech bands, one on each wrist and ankle.The specialized cuffs, developed by Picard, professor of media arts and sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and MIT Media Lab researchers, tracked a critical component of a place where dizzying rides intentionally submit visitors to disturbing g-forces: excitement levels.The bands gauge a person’s emotional response to stimuli by tapping skin conductance, an indicator of the state of the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the body’s flight-or-fight response by ramping up responses such as heart rate and blood pressure.When downloaded and analyzed, Picard’s peaks in excitement registered in the form of a red line that spiked dramatically at times during the day. Predictably, her system went into overdrive on the biggest, fastest rollercoasters and on one ride she preferred “not to talk about.” But surprisingly, the greatest spike of all had nothing to do with the amusement park.“It was getting out the door in the morning with the kids,” she said.During a talk Tuesday at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Picard, known for her work with “computing that relates to, arises from, or deliberately influences emotion,” described how the wrist sensors could help to shed light in coming years on studies of sleep, epilepsy, and even depression.“The wristbands of the future can, I think, provide some very significant medical insight,” said Picard.Her presentation was part of the institute’s ongoing series of lectures focused on smart clothes, and was sponsored by Radcliffe’s Academic Ventures program.“If you find that you can show with your own personal sensor that something is regularly associated with calming or regularly associated with certain kinds of anxiety …  then this can be a very powerful tool in your life to give you better insight into your life — and not just insight, but the ability to share that insight with other people.”Picard’s work and research was spurred by her interest in working with autism patients, many of whom are unable to use words to tell people how they are feeling.She described tracking a young autistic girl’s reaction to stimuli through the use of a wristband fitted with special sensors, and even charting a baby’s emotional reaction after a feeding through a fuzzy band attached to the infant’s ankle.“All of a sudden, here in the middle of feeding, the signal goes up, up, up, up, way up,” said Picard, pointing to a dramatic spike on a graph that indicated the baby’s increasing excitement level. “And then at the peak, the baby starts crying. Isn’t that interesting? If you could have seen it go up during the feeding before, you might have been able to think ‘Maybe it’s time to burp the baby.’”Picard said one of the many surprises she encountered during her work involved the wrist sensor’s ability to monitor the severity of epileptic seizures. When tracking a young boy with autism, she realized one of his enormous spikes in skin conductance occurred just prior to a seizure.While she and her researchers had spent the bulk of their time studying emotional nuances, they were “suddenly finding these medical events that are just overwhelming.”Picard said another surprise involved an MIT student who agreed to wear a wristband for a week. Reviewing the results, Picard observed “lots of activation” when he was studying, working on labs, or doing homework. But some of the student’s biggest peaks came when he was asleep.She suggested that the activity, which was tracked during slow-wave sleep, not the REM sleep cycle most closely associated with dreaming, “may be related to the process of memory formation.”Rosalind W. Picard: Your Future Smart Wristband lecture video <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qM1uRXNOWU” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://img.youtube.com/vi/8qM1uRXNOWU/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a>last_img read more

Faculty, staff speak on the ‘Cost of Silence’ on college campuses

first_imgMembers of the Notre Dame faculty and administration discussed their experiences with diversity and how the Notre Dame community might encourage it on campus during the Cost of Silence Faculty and Staff panel Thursday night.Timothy Matovina, the chair of the theology department and former co-director of the Institute of Latino Studies, said people should not make assumptions about others, especially Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students and Latino students.“Don’t presume because someone is here from a certain background that they’re a diversity admit or that they have a lower SAT score than everyone else,” he said. “ … In my experience, they achieved at the very highest levels at the schools they’re in, which is our policy.”Matovina also said students should consider the implications of politics on some students’ personal lives, especially in light of last year’s national election.“The political is very personal,” he said. “ … [Students who came to talk to him] had no idea what the repercussions would be, and there’s still a tremendous fear. It wasn’t just a matter of political disagreement.”Brian Collier, the director of the American Indian Catholic Schools Network, said disrespecting Native Americans and their culture is not something of the past, as evidenced by two students dressing as Native Americans for their Halloween costumes during a football game this season. The students’ costumes included the headdress that is a religious symbol in some cultures, Collier said.“It’s not that people want trouble,” he said. “People don’t want their religious symbols appropriated.”Collier also said students should say something whenever they see someone misusing a culture’s symbols.For the LGBT community, Sara Agostinelli, the assistant director for LGBTQ Initiatives at the Gender Relations Center, said things are “just okay” for LGBT students on campus.“Something I hear a lot is that here at Notre Dame students feel very tolerated,” she said. “There’s not these daily acts of hate or things we might see at other institutions across the country, but there’s not a sense of welcoming, embrace and celebration.”To remedy this problem, Agostinelli recommended that students recognize the importance of allies and to reach out to students to check in on how they are doing, especially when hateful acts happen on other campuses.For an admissions perspective, Don Bishop, the associate vice president of undergraduate enrollment, said Notre Dame has made great strides in becoming more diverse due to new recruiting tactics. These tactics, Bishop said, include expanding the spring visitation program, going to new schools and working with community-based organizations.“Rather than waiting for kids to instantly know enough about Notre Dame and apply, we’re trying to go out and seek them and get a conversation with them,” he said.As a result of these efforts, Bishop said Notre Dame is on par with diversity with the average of the top 30 most selective private institutions in the U.S. He said the only categories in which Notre Dame falls behind is with Asian Americans and international students.Mary Galvin, the William K. Warren Foundation dean of the College of Science, spoke about her personal experiences. Though she is an accomplished scientist who has a Ph.D. from MIT, she said she oftentimes felt stupid since a third-grade teacher had told her parents she “wasn’t college material.”Due to her background, Galvin said she understands that many students who come to Notre Dame from schools that may not have offered AP science classes may begin to feel they are falling behind in their science and engineering courses. She said students must share their experiences with others to help them not feel bad about themselves.“If you went through the struggle of not thinking you were smart but then got out of it, be willing to talk about it,” she said.Jay Caponigro, the director of community engagement in the Office of Public Affairs, said to help solve social issues today, students must build relationships with others. To develop these partnerships, Caponigro said you must listen to people and ask them about their stories, especially by asking the question, “Why?” Caponigro also said allies must teach others to do things for themselves as well.“An ally isn’t someone who just does stuff for other people,” he said.Tags: allyship, Cost of Silence, DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, LGBT, racelast_img read more