Body Computers

University of Houston researchers are training computers to understand the human body. The goal is to develop a computer system that'll help us understand our capabilities. Houston Public Radio's Capella Tucker reports

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Researchers want to learn how the brain processes complex information.

George Zouridakis says they are using hundreds of computers to analyze bio medical data. He says they have the capability to collect huge amounts of data from the human body. Part of the challenge is extracting the relevant information. Zouridakis says they want to better understand the mind set of a human under various conditions. It could have real world applications.

For example, to have technology be able to tell when a truck driver is simply to tired to continue driving.

"Or you can envision a scenario where a pilot is exhausted and cannot make any more decisions, conscience decisions, intelligent decisions. So we envision systems that can analyze all this information and alert them they need a break or things like that."

Researchers are starting with standard measurements such as heart rate and body temperature. But Zouridakis they are trying to understand the cognitive state of humans. Researchers will look at the over all health of the person and use non-intrusive sensors to get more information.

"Currently there are technologies and techniques where you can extract information by processing infrared images of the person. And then we want to extend this to other areas to extract information about the brain state, the alertness of the person, the cognitive state."

Zouridakis says this is the next step of the objective. He says they are pushing the capabilities of computational bio-medicine.

"We can assess ranges, of normal ranges, or normal values and then based on this information we can move on to the patient population and also screen patients."

Five labs in the department of computer science are involved. The National Science Foundation recently awarded a $900,000 grant to continue the work. Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.

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