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Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2011;2011:3816-9. doi: 10.1109/IEMBS.2011.6090774.

Unobtrusive in-home assessment by means of everyday computer mouse usage.

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Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Medical Informatics at Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR 97239, USA.


An important component of future proactive healthcare is the detection of changes in the individual's physical or cognitive performance, especially for aging and for those with neurodegenerative diseases. For a variety of reasons, the current techniques for neuropsychological assessment are not suitable for continuous monitoring and assessment. This paper proposes a technique for continuous monitoring of behaviors that could potentially be used to complement the traditional assessment techniques. In particular we monitor the movements of a computer pointing device (mouse) to assess cognitive and sensory-motor functionality of human users unobtrusively. The focus of this paper is on an approach that can be used to identify moves so that they can later be used as the basis for constructing sensory-motor measures. Due to the nature of the data the distinction between moves and pauses between moves is not immediately apparent. The segmentation of the data into moves is done by constructing an estimated distribution of the mouse cursor velocity for the entire computer session and locating a particular minimum which indicates a likely point of division between active moves and inter-move intervals. We analyzed computer usage data for 113 elderly participants over a period of two years, and the technique applied to that data was able to divide data from a session of computer usage into a series of mouse moves in 98% of observed computer sessions with a physically sensible value for the cutoff dividing moves from stops.

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