School of Computing
**This project is a part of the Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR), which provides undergraduate students with an intensive 10-week research experience under the mentorship of a University of Utah faculty member. SPUR 2022 begins on May 25 and ends on August 4. If you are interested in this project, please review all program information on the SPUR site. If you wish to apply to this project, you must apply using the SPUR 2022 application.**
Integrating smart home technology into hospital patient rooms should make hospitals more efficient, improve patient recovery and rehabilitation, and enhance the experience of being in the space for patients, their visitors, and employees. Yet, research on smart homes cannot achieve this vision: it does not investigate how the technology can support patient recovery, nor does it address the complexity of multiple stakeholders in a space that is both a workplace and a living space. Smart hospitals are beginning to be built, and Human-Computer Interaction research does not offer guidance for how their design can support (1) patient autonomy and recovery, or (2) the complex, interacting workflows of hospital employees from physicians to custodial staff. Hospital administrators and designers need guidance on what value this technology can provide in their hospital. The proposed work leverages the disjoint HCI literature on hospitals and smart homes to chart a research agenda for making smart hospitals useful. This timely work will fill the gap in the literature, providing guidance for developing the next generation of smart hospitals.
We are conducting observations, interviews, and log data analysis in a user-centered process to study how the diverse set of stakeholders at the newly-opened, fully-functioning 75-bed Craig H. Nielsen Rehabilitation hospital interact with the technology that is deployed in the smart hospital rooms. The lights, blinds, TV, speakers, thermostat, and door in these rooms can all be controlled through an iPad screen or by voice commands, similar to smart home technology. Many patients in this context have physical impairments that amplify the value of these technologies.
This is a paid research position
The student working on this project will work alongside the current research team to collect and analyze data, synthesize that data into design ideas, and implement prototypes of design ideas to be deployed for further exploration. Our iterative user-centered research process depends heavily on qualitative data collection and analysis. The student will work in tandem with a trained doctoral student to conduct observations and semi-structured interviews with hospital patients, caregivers, and hospital staff. These data will be combined with log data to build a rich understanding of current usage of this technology in the hospital setting, following the qualitative analysis approach of thematic analysis. Depending on the interests and expertise of the particular student, they may focus more on the qualitative side (interviews and observations), or on the quantitative side. The quantitative aspects of this effort will include processing log data, exploring patterns or other notable findings in that data, and aligning it with observed events or interactions from the qualitative effort.
Based on the results of this analysis, the student will participate in design exercises with the research and clinical teams to explore opportunities to better leverage this technology in the context of the rehabilitation hospital. Through this process we will work to identify candidate ideas that will be explored in prototypes of increasing fidelity, and we will evaluate those ideas with multiple stakeholders, including patients, caregivers, clinicians, and hospital staff.
The student will also participate in the preparation of a top-tier research publication that communicates the results of these research efforts.
This project will provide the student with a multidisciplinary research experience in human-centered computing. The student will have the opportunity to develop their skills in:
qualitative and/or quantitative data collection (including semi-structured interview techniques)
mixed-methods data analysis (thematic analysis of interview and observation data, quantitative analysis of log data, and combined evaluation of both sources of data)
design ideation and engaging stakeholders in discussion of design ideas
Together, this provides the student with a valuable first-hand experience in a user-centered research process where the goal of the project has both real-world application and the potential to produce important research knowledge.
By the end of this research experience, the student will be able to:
Initiate and conduct an iterative design process that emphasizes real-world applicability
Connect existing theory in ubiquitous computing/smart home research and rehabilitation hospitals with software user experience designs
Identify and design for different user personas based on research findings
Translate design ideas into varying levels of prototype fidelity
Conduct observation and semi-structured interviews with participants
Apply thematic analysis approach to qualitative data from the semi-structured interviews
Communicate research findings and results in the format of an academic research paper
35-40 hours per week on research and program-related activities, begins May 25, 2022, and ends August 4, 2022
Admission to the program is competitive. Applicants must meet all of the following criteria: 1) be a matriculated, degree-seeking undergraduate student in the Fall 2022 semester (beginning or continuing college career in Fall 2022 and not graduating before December 2022; concurrent enrollment while in high school does not meet this eligibility requirement). Applicants do not need to be a University of Utah student. 2) eligible to work in the United States: If you are a University of Utah Dreamer (with or without DACA), you are eligible to participate. U Dreamers with DACA will be hired and paid through U payroll. U Dreamers without DACA who graduated from a Utah high school will be compensated via a different mechanism. If you are a Dreamer from a different institution: If you have DACA, you are eligible to participate and will be hired and paid though U payroll. If you do not have DACA, you are able to participate and gain research experience, but we do not currently have a mechanism that allows us to compensate you. For more information, please contact Megan Shannahan at email@example.com or 801-581-2478. If you are an international student or scholar, you must either a) be a degree-seeking undergraduate student at the University of Utah, OR b) possess documentation that establishes your eligibility to work in the United States (if you hold US citizenship, it is likely you have these documents). 3) able to commit to approximately 35-40 hours per week of employment at the University of Utah for the entire duration of the program (May 25-August 4, 2022). 4) at least 18 years old by May 23, 2022 (required if you wish to use on-campus housing; preferred if you will not be using on-campus housing).