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A Framework For The Implementation Of Human Cognitive Assessments On A Handheld Device

Presentation at Elon Student Undergraduate Research Forum, Spring 2007

Christopher J. Weitzen (Professor Joel K. Hollingsworth), Department of Computing Sciences

This research aims to develop the necessary software framework to allow for the implementation of a series of automated psychological tests used in testing attention, working memory, and/or planning. These tests have the potential to be utilized in the assessment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), traumatic brain injury, and exposure to environmental neurotoxins. The resulting automated tests will provide significant use in real-world cognitive and clinical psychology.

We have attempted to show that it is possible to develop a generalized framework for the implementation of human cognitive assessments on a handheld game device. Our line of inquiry has followed a number of questions: (a) What is an acceptable script-language for extensibility and ease of parsing on an embedded system? (b) Of the many handheld devices, which is best suited for these types of tests? (c) Is it possible to provide a generalized framework that meets psychologists' needs using a handheld game console? and (d) What functionality must be implemented for these types of tests?

This research has resulted in a top to bottom solution for the creation and execution of a sustained attention test, as well as a conditional test. The methodology used to arrive at this point is best expressed as three phases: (1) Programming a library of relevant C functions using libnds, a homebrew library for the our chosen embedded device, the Nintendo DS. (2) Using the script-language Lua to create the psychological tests. Theses scripts make use of the C functions created in Phase 1. (3) Writing a graphical user interface in Java. This interface is capable of parsing our Lua test scripts as well as generating new and different test scripts.