Microsoft Research’s Lab of Things Platform Gives New Hope For People Living With Paralysis

Last year, Microsoft Research released a new SDK/Framework called Lab of Things that supports their existing HomeOS project. HomeOS provides a centralized, holistic control of devices in the home. It provides to users intuitive controls to manage their devices.

Professor Nilanjan Banerjee of the University of Maryland at Baltimore County, an early adopter of Lab of Things platform has developed a system that could help people with limited mobility lead more independent lives by enabling them to control the environment in their home and workplaces. Their system detects gestures and uses them to activate lights and other appliances in the home. These sensors capture/monitor subtle motions such as finger twitching, lower arm rotation, and head movements among paralysis patients, with the ultimate goal of providing these individuals the ability to control appliances in caregiving and home settings.

The sensor design for this project was developed by Professor Ryan Robucci and his team. With the Lab of Things, Professor Robucci was able to develop and test the sensor components quickly without having to develop the accompanying software. Also part of this project was Dr. Sandy McCombe-Waller from the University of Maryland, School of Medicine, who specializes in rehabilitation of people with various forms of injuries and disabilities. She helped with understanding the various types of mobility issues involved, and with the Lab of Things was able to test various designs of the sensor quickly.

Lab of Things (LoT) is a flexible platform for experimental research that uses connected devices in homes.

  • LoT enables easy interconnection of devices and implementation of application scenarios, using HomeOS.
  • LoT enables easy deployment and monitoring of field studies and analysis of data from experiments.
  • LoT enables easy sharing of data, code, and participants, further lowering the barrier to evaluating ideas in a diverse set of homes.

Read more about it here.