Tech takes on cigarette smoking

Aug. 3, 2018

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University are using wearable sensor technology to develop an automatic alert system to help people quit smoking.

The smart-phone app, initially limited to android-based operating systems, automatically texts 20- to 120-second video messages to smokers when sensors detect specific arm and body motions associated with smoking.

There is no shortage of products or programs—from nicotine gum to hypnosis—to help people stop smoking. More recently, wearable technology has gained popularity in the fight against addiction.

But the mobile alert system Case Western Reserve researchers are testing may be the first that combines:

  • an existing online platform with mindfulness training and a personalized plan for quitting; two armband sensors to detect smoking motions, a technology that demonstrated more than 98% accuracy in differentiating “lighting up” from other similar motions. (That compares to 72% accuracy in systems using a single armband);
  • and a personalized text-messaging service that reminds the user of either their own plan to quit, or sends video messages that stress the health and financial benefits of quitting.

The system was conceived, developed and tested over the course of the last year by a team of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science researchers at the Case School of Engineering and a high school intern in collaboration with a clinical psychologist at the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine.

A paper detailing the system and reporting early findings on a group of 10 users was published in a July edition of Smart Health. The researchers said most previous studies have relied on smokers self-reporting how often they smoked, while the Case Western Reserve system more accurately tracked smoking activity based on the sensors.

EurekAlert! has the full article

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