1. what did you find

1.1. interesting about the article?

One of my grandfathers has Alzheimer's, so I thought the general idea of providing public transportation to people with cognitive disabilities interesting. Although he is too far along to even make use of the system presented, about a year ago he probably would have been able to handle it. Integrating such people into greater society is a challenge, and often it is shown to be beneficial to those with such disabilities.

1.2. not interesting about the article?

I felt the whole article was pretty interesting.

2. what do you consider the main message of the article?

The main message of the article was presenting a system for users with cognitive disabilities to effectively make use of a public transportation system. It explored issues in dealing with such users, how they can be expected to behave in such situations, and what kind of solutions we can provide to them in order to make them more of an individual.

3. what did you find interesting about the systems?

3.1. Personal Travel Assistant

It is a good idea to provide such a device to people with cognitive disabilities. Such a device could even be physically attached to its users, so it is never accidentally forgotten or left somewhere. With modern processing power, the device could even speak to the user using a familiar voice. Most important, perhaps, is the safety net support it would offer if something went wrong, as mentioned in the article.

3.2. Memory Aiding Prompting System (MAPS)

The most interesting part of MAPS is that it seems to be catering to the care-giver. It appears to present a GUI interface to designing a script for the PTA user. By enabling the care giver to prepare such a script, the system puts a familiar force in more direct contact with the user.

3.3. Lifeline

Lifeline seems to be the backbone of the system. What struck me most interesting about it, if I understand the article correctly, is that it would have to be personalized to the user. In order to meet the goal of moving through a building presented in the paper, the Lifeline system would have to know the layout of the building and destination of the user. This would require a substantial amount of effort for each individual user, and is probably the least realistic aspect of the overall system.

4. do you know of other papers, ideas, and systems which are closely related to the article and the systems?

I was only familiar with some of the things in the Future Work section, related to sensor networking. I am a member of Professor Han's MANTIS research group.

5. what do the article and the associated systems say about

5.1. design

The article spent significant time discussing the design challenges related to designing a system to cater to those with cognitive disabilities. How can a system meant for those with cognitive disabilities even rely on them to remember to take the device which is guiding them with them when leaving their bus?

5.2. learning

Learning is one of the primary challenges when dealing with people with cognitive disabilities. Learning something like a bus route may take such a person several weeks to learn, after the initial investment of one+ years in learning just the idea behind taking a bus. To work around such disabilities, mobile users are presented with a device which helps them make decisions by presenting relevant information about their surroundings. This system is overcoming the learning disabilities of its users by providing them with some of the cognitive work.

5.3. collaboration

The ideas presented in the article promote collaboration primarily between the care givers and the users with cognitive disabilities. Through the Lifeline system, care givers are more directly tied to those they are giving care to, and they can be updated in real time as to the location and status of the care receiever.

5.4. innovative media to support these activities?

One innovative media is the use of GPS data to show a context sensitive output via the personal travel assistant. Using a real-life lattitude and longitude, those numbers, which would otherwise be meaningless to a person with cognitive disabilities, are captured and presented in a form which they can understand (pictures of the site in question, or simple phrases describing required actions).

6. are themes discussed in the article which you would like to know more about?

The lifeline system in particular: what are the capabilities of the backends? First of all, what is the input data to the system? If it is meant to guide the user through the internals of a building, surely GPS readings are not sufficient. If the mobile client leaves a coverage area, what kind of alarms are generated? Is a care giver notified via telephone?

7. do you have any ideas how this research could / should be extended (based on your own knowledge and experience)?

With the proliferation of wireless 802.11 networks in major metropolitan areas, it would be interesting to see this work extended to provide some kind of locational data based on the physical location of a nearby 802.11 access point. In and around many large buildings, GPS data may be insufficient to provide discrete directions to a person with cognitive disabilities. The added RF noise of the city will descrease the GPS accuracy, but if the surrounding area is well-covered with 802.11 access points, it may be posible to determine the location of the user. Most likely this kind of data would fit best into the Lifeline system, as it is most closely tied to the location of the user.