Emmanuel Agu receives $2.8 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency


Computer Science

This proposal focuses on the development of a smartphone app to detect early signs of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and infectious diseases in veterans and warfighters—on active duty and back at home. The app will make use of smartphone biomarkers, which are behavior patterns that may manifest in post-concussion patients. The biomarkers can give doctors information about the severity of the trauma and cognitive outcome, and can facilitate early interventions.

Grant Title: “DH-Warfighter: Improving Warfighter Health by Early Detection of Digital Biomarkers”

Emmanuel Agu

Principal Investigator: Emmanuel Agu, Associate Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Health Delivery Institute

Funding Amount: $2.8 Million Over Four Years

Award Date: March 5, 2018

Sponsor: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

The goal of the research is to create a smartphone application that can continuously monitor and assess a warfighter’s cognitive health based on smartphone biomarkers, which are physiological and behavioral measures collected through the subject’s smartphone. The smartphone sensing system will act as an early warning system for detecting warfighter’s ailments, especially regarding traumatic brain injury (TBI) and infectious diseases. The goal of the system is not to diagnose but to flag potential problems and their causes. Subjects flagged by the app can then be assessed by a doctor to confirm or refute the condition. The system will not replace warfighter’s normal medical assessments, but will augment them, providing warfighters with problem detection outside of scheduled clinical appointments. Four PhD students are working on the project now and master’s students and MQP teams are expected to be involved in the future.