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Thesis Defense - Carmien

DLC 170

Moving the Fulcrum: Socio-Technical Environments Supporting Distributed Cognition for Persons with Cognitive Disabilities
Computer Science PhD Candidate

In the United States there are 10.45 million persons with cognitive disabilities, and of these a significant fraction of these are potentially able to live more independently save for a deficiency of mnemonic and executive capability. In many cases, these persons are supported by concerned caregivers who want them to live in a less dependent fashion, and both caregiver and person with cognitive disabilities could benefit from a socio-technical environment designed to support their legitimate and reasonable aspirations.

My research platform, MAPS (Memory Aiding Prompting System), provides a simple effective prompting system for task support for individuals with cognitive disabilities with an interface for designing prompting scripts by caregivers. MAPS provides a socio-technical environment that acknowledges the needs and abilities of members of both of these communities. By using and extending HCI frameworks and theories, such as distributed cognition, metadesign, and symmetry of ignorance, in a principled design environment, this research demonstrated, analyzed, and documented how to create systems that avoid the all too common fate of assistive technology, abandonment.

MAPS is comprised of two components, the MAPS-editor, a PC based system to allow a caregiver to edit, store and reuse scripts of multimedia prompts for task support, and the MAPS-prompter, a PDA based mobile prompting environment used by persons with cognitive disabilities. The process of adopting MAPS was observed and analyzed using ethnographic methods to study dyads of persons with cognitive disabilities and caregivers doing real tasks at home, shopping, and employment. Based on this, new ways of use of traditional HCI perspectives are delineated. A set of heuristics was produced to aid in the designing and use of prompting systems and the broader domain of assistive technology.

Committee: Gerhard Fischer, Professor (Chair)
Clayton Lewis, Professor
Leysia Palen, Assistant Professor
James Sullivan, Senior Research Associate
James Martin, Associate Professor
Cathy Bodine, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center

See also:
Department of Computer Science
College of Engineering and Applied Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
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