Interdisciplinary Research Training Opportunities in Assistive Technology at CMU and the University of Pittsburgh

The National Science Foundation IGERT Program is sponsoring graduate interdisciplinary research training opportunities in Assistive Technology at Carnegie Mellon University and at the University of Pittsburgh The focus of this program to support graduate student training and research that provides both a deep understanding of human needs and what technology can do to provide for those needs. This program brings together a number of research institutes in CMU's School of Computer Science (Robotics, Human-Computer Interaction, Language Technology, and the Center for Automated Learning and Discovery) and departments within Pitt (Rehabilitation Science and Technology, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Nursing, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Bioengineering, and Communication Science and Disorders).

Questions about this IGERT program should be sent to Chris Atkeson, cga at cmu dot edu. More information on the NSF IGERT program is available from and the NSF IGERT web page

What Does This Program Do?

Students apply to one of the above PhD programs. This program provides financial support and opportunities for clinical experiences for technical students and experiences in developing assistive technology for clinical students.

What Are The Requirements Of The Program?

After appropriate course work and training, each participating student will 1a) engage in a full time clinical internship program for at least one semester or summer or 1b) produce a conference quality paper describing a clinical study that student performed, and 2) produce a conference quality paper describing the design, implementation, assessment, and/or refinement of an assistive technology. Additional cross-over clinical and technical experiences will be encouraged.

Participating Faculty

Chris Atkeson (CMU:RI,HCII,CALD): Assistive environments, machine learning, humanoid robotics.
Mike Boninger (Pitt:PMR): Assistive technology usage and innovation.
David Brienza (Pitt:RST): & Wheelchair technology, soft tissue biomechanics, tele-rehab.
Don Chiarulli (Pitt:CS): Electrical engineering, robotics, voice based interfaces.
Rory Cooper (Pitt:RST): Rehabilitation engineering, assessment, tech transfer, biomech.
Jacqueline Dunbar-Jacob (Pitt:Nursing): Patient compliance, behavioral science aspects.
Shirley Fitzgerald (Pitt:RST): Clinical efficacy.
Jodi Forlizzi (CMU:HCII): Design & Design of assistive devices and environments.
Mary Jo Geyer (Pitt:RST): Soft tissue mechanical properties, integrity, and injuries.
Margo Holm (Pitt:OT): Assessment methodologies, functional outcomes.
Scott Hudson (CMU:HCII): User interface software, new interface devices.
Pamela Jennings (CMU:HCII): Art & Preventive assistive technology.
Takeo Kanade (CMU:RI): Computer vision.
Sarah Kiesler (CMU:HCII): Social and behavioral aspects of computing.
Roberta Klatzky (CMU:Psychology): Tactile sensing.
Bob Kraut (CMU:HCII): Social and behavioral aspects of computing.
Jennifer Mankoff (CMU:HCII): Assistive Technology, Ubiquitous Computing, Peripheral Displays
Yoky Matsuoka (CMU:RI,ME): Haptics, human motor control, and robotics.
Judith Matthews (Pitt:Nursing): Nursing, applications of robotics in patient care.
Mike McCue (Pitt:RST): Brain injuries, learning disabilities.
Brad Myers (CMU:HCII): Handheld interfaces.
Illah Nourbakhsh (CMU:RI): Mobile robots, social robots, human-robot interaction.
Mark Redfern (Pitt:BIOE): Human postural control, ergonomics.
Cam Rivere (CMU:RI,Pitt:RST): Tremor, tremor compensation.
Joan Rogers (Pitt:OT): Interventions, functional assessment.
Mark Schmeler (Pitt:RST): Assistive technology service delivery.
Kate Seelman (Pitt:RST): Science, technology and public policy.
Dan Siewiorek (CMU:HCII,EE): Mobile and wearable computing, rapid prototyping.
Rich Simpson (Pitt:RST): Rehabilitation robotics, computer access, augmentation.
Sanjiv Singh (CMU:RI): Field and mobile robotics, localization, mapping.
Aaron Steinfeld (CMU:RI): Rehabilitation, transportation systems.
Scott Stevens (CMU:HCII): Behavior capture, storage, and access systems.
Chuck Thorpe (CMU:RI): Intelligent transportation systems.
Amy Wagner (Pitt:PMR): Physical medicine, rehabilitation, traumatic brain injury.
Alex Waibel (CMU:HCII,LTI): Speech processing, multimodal interfaces.
Jie Yang (CMU:HCII): Multimodal interaction, computer vision.
Ross Zafonte (Pitt:PMR) Physical medicine, rehabilitation, brain injury.

RI: CMU Robotics Institute
HCII: CMU HCI Institute
CALD: CMU Center for Automated Learning and Discovery
RST: Pitt Rehabilitation Science and Technology Department
PMR: Pitt Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department
CS: Pitt Computer Science Department
N: Pitt Nursing
OT: Pitt Occupational Therapy Department
ME: CMU Mechanical Engineering
BIOE: Pitt Bioengineering
EE: CMU Electrical Engineering
LTI: CMU Language Technologies Institute

Example Projects: Monitoring and Modeling

In-Home Monitoring System for the Elderly
User Modeling for Individuals with Disabilities
Compass: Software for Assessment of Computer Skills

Example Projects: Mobility and Manipulation

Smart Power Assistance Module for Manual Wheelchairs
Smart Wheelchair Component System
Feedback Distortion for Rehabilitation
Hand Exoskeleton
Error Compensation in Human-machine Interfaces

Example Projects: Assistive Interaction

Solo: A Cognitive Orthosis with Interactive Task and Activity Planning
Project on People and Robots
Situationally Appropriate Interaction
Transit Bus Collision Warning Systems

Relevant Courses

Assistive Robotic Technology in Nursing and Health Care
Machine Perception and Modeling of Human Behavior
Assistive Technology
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences course descriptions
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences course schedule
Pitt BIOENG 1720: Biomechanics 2-Biodynamics of Movement
Pitt BIOENG 2061: Ergonomics & Occupational Biomechanics

Local Resources and Internship Opportunities

Center for Assistive Technology
The Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL)
Hiram G. Andrews Center
Center for Injury Research & Control (CIRCL)
UPMC Rehabilitation Hospital
Center for Balance and Vestibular Disorders
Centers for Rehab Services
Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children
Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf
The Children's Institute
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
Neuromuscular Research Laboratory