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GCN : August 2014
This summer, teams from industry, academia and government showcased projects at the SmartAmerica Expo demonstrating ways cyber-physical systems (CPS), also called the Internet of Things, might improve services in the healthcare, emergency services, security and manufacturing sectors. One of the demos, Project Bound- ary, aims to encourage the adoption of healthy behaviors in the workplace. The project, part of the HHS's "Idea Lab" initiative to foster technology innovation, consists of an indoor net- work of proximity beacons that send context-appropriate messages to us- ers via their cellphones to encourage healthy behaviors. Project Boundary was developed by Naganand Murty, the Health and Hu- man Services Department's Idea Lab "innovator in residence," and Nayan Jain, a White House Presidential In- novation Fellow. The initial pilot will take place at the HHS Humphrey Building, making it one of the rst "gami ed" workplaces in America. The project will focus on "how we might we better engage users within the bounds of where they are and what they do over the course of a reg- ular day at work, and get them to do just a little bit more towards bene ting their health," according to a descrip- tion on the Idea Lab website. The system uses low energy Bluetooth sensing beacons to deliver contextually relevant messages to a user's cellphone. For example, a beacon placed near an elevator might suggest a nearby user take the stairs instead. A second beacon in the stair- well would then give the user points for taking the stairs. "We hope to demonstrate how an everyday physical space might be transformed to become something more relevant to addressing the well- ness needs of users, by engaging them where they are, as they go about their daily work," the Project Bound- ary's mission statement said. The beacons are small one-way transmitters that can last one to two years on a battery charge. The use the Spark Compass platform integrated with Gimbal context aware technology and Apple's iBeacon technology. Once a phone picks up a beacon signal, it checks the beacon ID against an internal database of beacon IDs mapped to physical locations and estimates how close the phone user is to that particular beacon. When the beacon infrastructure is in place, the system could use intelligent comput- ing to tailor its interaction with the user. "Eventually, we hope to layer in some means to enable users to com- pete --- against themselves, or against a peer group --- since social in u- ence and support has been shown to have a signi cant impact on enabling behavior change," project managers said. • HHS Idea Lab pilot to "gamify" healthy behavior at work BY KATHLEEN HICKEY HHS's Idea Lab is working on other uses of digital data and software to improve health care outcomes and practices, including: Counterfeit Detection Device. The Food and Drug Administration's Anti Counterfeit Device is a system to screen for fake pharmaceutical dosage forms and packaging at U.S. points of entry. The inexpen- sive, rugged, portable, battery oper- ated device uses infrared technol- ogy to spot counterfeit packages including products that have been tampered, re-labeled or re-glued. Health Resilience Technology. HHS and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are explor- ing solutions to enable patients to continue to use medical devices powered by electricity, such as oxy- gen concentrators, ventilators and intravenous infusion pumps at home during prolonged power outages. GIS Malpractice Dashboard. The Health Resources Services Admin- istration is building a geographic information system application and dashboard to display data on medical malpractice and adverse actions taken against health care practitioners. The data visualiza- tion tools will present summarized data in new and interactive ways to make this resource more accessible to a wider audience. 3 innovations from the HHS Idea Lab GCN AUGUST 2014 • GCN.COM 7