Digital Health Technologies

Using digital health in healthcare, research, and education. Information on work/research being done here at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Since the creation of the digital health device collection, the HSL has partnered with various schools to assist in research projects using the collection.  These are just some of the projects we have been a part of here at UNC.

Usability Studies

Partners: School of Information and Library Science INLS 718 User Interface Design class
Group: Fei Yu, PhD; class registrants


Muse Headband Re-Thinking Meditation in a Digital Age A Muse Headband™ Assessment and Proposal

Over the course of a semester, a team of five students in the School of Information and Library Science taking INLS 718: User Interface Design sought to evaluate and assess Muse™, a health device which tracks a user’s brainwaves and provides insights into a their meditation session using audio feedback, EEG readings, and other analysis. The purpose of the evaluation was to inform the team for a redesign of the mobile application interface. The team focused on user research, hierarchical task analysis, use case scenarios, and universal design principles for an analysis of the current Muse™ system, which all helped inform the redesign


EarlySense Early Sense Live Design Assessment

The scope of our project was to first understand users and their tasks when using the current application. Following this, we developed some design plans for key pain-points within the existing system, and implemented a prototype using Adobe XD to demonstrate the proposed changes to the existing application. The prototype was further analyzed through a usability inspection involving other students in the SILS department at UNC, and further modifications were proposed for the prototype and actual system based on the feedback we received. The following points summarize the limitations and scope of this project.

Computer Interaction

Brain VR – EEG-controlled Virtual Reality Flying Game

Partner: UNC-Chapel Hill Computer Science Students (Fall 2017 – COMP 523 – Software Engineering Lab)
Group: Jonathan Monroe, Mark Molinaro, Grady Hale, Ronald Ding

Muse HeadbandBrain VR combines electroencephalogram (EEG) data with virtual reality, allowing users to use their mind to control a video game in virtual reality. Users train the system by thinking “up” or “down” and then fly across a virtual landscape using only their thoughts. Other demos include a visualization of a user’s brainwaves emanating from a virtual brain and the ability of a user to control a campfire with their brain activity. The group created a configurable open source code library called Sharp BCI that anyone can use to recreate the project or work with EEG data.



Edgar’s Adventure – EEG-controlled Game for Kids

Partner: UNC-Chapel Hill Computer Science Students (Spring 2017 – COMP 525 – Serious Games)
Group: Michael Huang, Vincent Li, Lily Cui, Madhu Vadlamani

Muse HeadbandEdgar’s Adventure is a game for kids that can be controlled with an EEG headset. It uses the code created by the Brain VR group to power a serious game that is intended to be played by kids in the hospital, engaging them by giving them the power to control the game with their mind.




Alexa Project

Partner: UNC-Chapel Hill Computer Science Students (Spring 2017 – COMP 523 – Software Engineering Labs)
Group: Andrew Davis, David Snedecor, Shuocheng Huang, Brian Dalton

Amazon EchoComputer Science students developed applications for UNC Health Care using the Amazon Echo voice controlled personal assistant. They are worked on apps to help physicians with phlebotomy (a decision tree to know which color tubes to use for blood draws) as well as a pediatrics patient quiz application for new parents.

Blood Draw App –
Alexa Parent Reference –

Validation Study

Measuring steps with the activity tracker: a validation and reliability study on Fitbit Alta HR devices

Partners: RTI International and Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health
Group: Robert Furberg, PhD; Derek Hales, PhD; Gayatri Rathod; Fei Yu, PhD; Karthik Adapa, Saba Akbar, Brian Moynihan, Lynn Eades

Presentation on results from the Fitbit Study

Fitbit AltaThe proposed study was to evaluate the validity of Fitbit Alta HR, a commercially available activity tracker using three approaches: orbital shaker testing, human testing during structured activities, and four days of free-living activity. Before being used for intervention purposes, the validity of the commercially available activity trackers needed to be established so that researchers using them can be confident in their utility as behavioral tracking devices. In addition, evaluating the Fitbit Alta HR helps consumers make educated decisions regarding device selection.