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Pooja Viswanathan

Photo of PoojaPost-doctoral Fellow

Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto

Toronto Rehabilitation Institute

 

pooja.viswanathan@utoronto.ca

(416) 946-8573

 


Photo by: Martin Dee, University Photographer, Public Affairs, UBC.


Biography

Pooja's primary research objective is to help improve the quality of life of older adults with dementia through the development and deployment of assistive technologies. Her research involves the application of techniques in computer vision, robotics, machine learning and human-computer interaction in order to engineer working prototypes of intelligent systems that are tested with the target user population.

Pooja holds an undergraduate degree (B. Math) in Computer Science (Bio-informatics option) from the University of Waterloo. She completed her PhD in Computer Science (Assistive Technology) in August 2012 at the University of British Columbia, under the supervision of Dr. Mackworth and Dr. Little. Her thesis was entitled, “Navigation and Obstacle Avoidance Help (NOAH) for Elderly Wheelchair Users with Cognitive Impairment in Long-Term Care.” Her research focused on the development of an intelligent wheelchair that helped prevent collisions and provided wayfinding assistance through adaptive audio prompts. The system was tested with cognitively-impaired older adults in a long-term care facility in Toronto, and was shown to increase safety and improve wayfinding performance. 

Her postdoctoral research at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute will involve further development and testing of the intelligent wheelchair, as well as tackling issues related to deployment of the technology. 


Publications

P. Viswanathan, R. C. Simpson, G. Foley, A. Sutcliffe, J. Bell (2017). "Smart Wheelchairs for Assessment and Mobility" (Book chapter). Robotic Assistive Technologies: Principles and Practice. Eds. P. Encarnação, A. Cook. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group.

Viswanathan, P., Zambalde, E.P., Foley, G., Bell, J.L., Wang, R.H., Adhikari, B., Mackworth, A.K., Mihailidis, A., Miller, W.C., & Mitchell, I.M. (2016). Intelligent Wheelchair Control Strategies for Older Adults with Cognitive Impairment: User Attitudes, Needs, and Preferences. Autonomous Robots. 1-16.

Rushton, P. W., Mortenson, B. W., Viswanathan, P., Wang, R. H., Miller, W. C., & Hurd Clarke, L. (2016). Intelligent power wheelchair use in long-term care: potential users’ experiences and perceptions. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 1-7.

G. Foley, P. Viswanathan, E. P. Zambalde, A. Mihailidis. "Analyzing Drivers’ Affect for the Design of Intelligent Wheelchair Technology for Older Adults with Cognitive Impairment," (Full paper) Pervasive Health 2016 Workshop on Affective Interaction with Virtual Assistants within the Healthcare Context, Cancun, Mexico.

M. Gerdzhev, J. Pineau, I. M. Mitchell, P. Viswanathan, G. Foley, "On the Use of Modular Software and Hardware for Designing Wheelchair Robots", (Full paper) AAAI 2016 Spring Symposium on Enabling Computing Research in Socially Intelligent Human-Robot Interaction: A Community-Driven Modular Research Platform, Palo Alto, California, March 2016.

P. Viswanathan, R. H. Wang, A. Sutcliffe, L. Kenyon, G. Foley, W. C. Miller, and the SWAT participants, "Smart Wheelchairs in Assessment and Training: Findings from a Consensus Workshop", (Oral presentation of extended abstract) 32nd International Seating Symposium, Vancouver, BC, March 2016.

P. Viswanathan, R. H. Wang, A. Sutcliffe, L. Kenyon, G. Foley, E. Smith, W. C. Miller, and the SWAT participants, "State of the Field: Findings from the 2014 Smart Wheelchairs in Assessment and Training (SWAT) Workshop", (Instructional session) 5th European Seating Symposium, Dublin, Ireland, June 2016.

R. McDonald, P. Rushton, E. Giesbrecht, L. Kirby, P. Viswanathan, J. Casey, "Outcome measurement in wheelchair seating, positioning and mobility", (Instructional session) 5th European Seating Symposium, Dublin, Ireland, June 2016.

P. Viswanathan, R. H. Wang. C. Holloway, R. Black, J. Harris, "Assistive Technology Development and Translation into Clinical Practice", Workshop at Promoting Access to Assistive Technology RESNA/NCART 2016 Conference, Arlington, VA, July, 2016.

J. Boger, P. Viswanathan, R. H. Wang, "The Wizard of Oz approach: A method for developing assistive technology prototypes", workshop at Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America, June 2015.

P. Viswanathan, R. H. Wang, A. Mihailidis, W. C. Miller, "Smart Wheelchairs for Training and Assessment (SWAT) of older adults", University of Toronto, October 2014.

P. Viswanathan, J. L. Bell, R. H. Wang, B. Adhikari, A. K. Mackworth, A. Mihailidis, W. C. Miller and I. M. Mitchell, "A wizard-of-oz intelligent wheelchair study with cognitively-impaired older adults: Attitudes toward user control," in IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems. Workshop on Assistive Robotics for Individuals with Disabilities: HRI Issues and Beyond, Chicago, Illinois, USA, September 2014.

P. W. Rushton, W. B. Mortenson, P. Viswanathan, R. H. Wang, L. Hurd Clarke and CanWheel Research Team, "Intelligent power wheelchairs for residents in long-term care facilities: Potential users’ experiences and perceptions," in proceedings of Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America, Indianapolis, June 2014.

I. M. Mitchell, P. Viswanathan, B. Adhikari, E. Rothfels and A. K. Mackworth, "Shared control policies for safe wheelchair navigation of elderly adults with cognitive and mobility impairments: Designing a wizard of oz study," in proceedings of American Control Conference (ACC), 2014, pp. 4087-4094.

G. Foley, E. Zambalde, P. Viswanathan and A. Mihailidis, "A table-docking feature for intelligent powered wheelchairs: Defining user needs," in Toronto Rehabilitation Research Day, Toronto, December 2014.

Lo, J., Pham, P., Viswanathan, P., & Mihailidis, A. (2014, May) Intelligent Wheelchairs: Training & Assessment.
Poster session presented at the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists Annual Conference.

Smith, E.M., Miller, W.C., Mortenson, W.B., Mihailidis, A., Viswanathan, P., Lo, J. & Pham, P. (August 2014) Interface design for shared control tele-operated power wheelchair technology. Poster presented at the 8th International Convention on Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology, Singapore.

Viswanathan, P., Wang, R. H. and Mihailidis, A. (2013). Wizard-of-Oz and Mixed-Methods Studies to Inform Intelligent Wheelchair Design for Older Adults with Dementia. 12th European AAATE Conference, 19-22 Sept, Vilamoura, Portugal.

Viswanathan, P., Wang, R.H. and the CanWheel Research Team. (2013). Evaluation of Intelligent Powered Wheelchairs. Workshop accepted at International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR) Conference, June 24-26, Seattle, WA.

Kim, B., Mihailidis, A., Mitchell, I.M., TalebiFard, P., Viswanathan, P., Wang, R.H. and the CanWheel Research Team. (2013). Collaboratively controlled intelligent robotic wheelchairs: Capabilities and user interfaces. Workshop for RESNA, June 20-24, Bellevue, WA.

Wang, R., Viswanathan, P., Czarnuch, S., Boger, J., Nejat, G. and Mihailidis, A. (2013). Developing advanced assistive technologies for older adults with dementia: Lessons learned. RESNA, June 20-24, Bellevue, WA.

Viswanathan, P., Little, J., Mackworth, A., How, T., Wang, R., and Mihailidis, A. (2013). Intelligent wheelchairs for cognitively-impaired older adults in Long-term care: A review. RESNA, June 20-24, Bellevue, WA.

P. Viswanathan, J. J. Little, A. K. Mackworth, and A. Mihailidis. "An Intelligent Powered Wheelchair for Users with Dementia: Case Studies with NOAH (Navigation and Obstacle Avoidance Help)", in AAAI Fall Symposium on AI for Gerontechnology, Arlington, Virginia, 2012.

P. Viswanathan, J. J. Little, A. K. Mackworth, and A. Mihailidis. "Evaluation of the Navigation and Obstacle Avoidance Help (NOAH) system for Wheelchair Users with Cognitive Impairment" (Abstract), Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC), Vancouver, BC, 2012.

P. Viswanathan, P. Alimi, J. Little, A. Mackworth, A. Mihailidis, "Navigation Assistance for Intelligent Wheelchairs," in Proceedings of International Conference on Technology and Aging (ICTA), Toronto, Canada, 2011. *Received Honorable Mention in Student Scientific Competition*

P. Viswanathan, J. Little, A. Mackworth, A. Mihailidis, "Adaptive Navigation Assistance for Visually-Impaired Wheelchair Users," in IROS Workshop on New and Emerging Technologies in Assistive Robotics, San Francisco, California, 2011.

P. Viswanathan, J. Little, A. Mackworth, A. Mihailidis, "Navigation and Obstacle Avoidance Help (NOAH) for Older Adults with Cognitive Impairment: A Pilot Study," in Proceedings of ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS), Dundee, Scotland, 2011.

P. Viswanathan, T. Southey, J. J. Little, and A. Mackworth, "Place Classification Using Visual Object Categorization and Global Information," in Proceedings of Canadian Conference in Computer and Robot Vision, Halifax, Canada, 2011.

P. Viswanathan, J. Little, A. Mackworth, and A. Mihailidis, "The Future of Powered Mobility: Intelligent Wheelchairs" in Symposium on Wheelchair Mobility in Older Adults: Are We Ready to Roll?, International Society for Gerontology (ISG) 7th World Conference: Technologies for Health, Quality of Life and Aging-in-place, pp. 137-141, Vancouver, Canada, 2010.

P. Viswanathan, T. Southey, J. J. Little, and A. Mackworth, "Automated place classification using object detection," in Proceedings of Canadian Conference in Computer and Robot Vision, pp. 324-330, Ottawa, Canada, 2010.

P. Viswanathan, J. Little, A. Mackworth, A. Mihailidis, "Adaptive Prompting for Intelligent Wheelchairs", in NIPS Workshop on Machine Learning for Assistive Technologies, Whistler, Canada, 2010.

P. Viswanathan, D. Meger, T. Southey, S. Helmer, S. McCann, M. Muja, M. Dockrey, M. Joya, D. G. Lowe, J. J. Little, and A. K. Mackworth, "Combining Automated Visual Search and Place Categorization" (Invited Talk), CVPR Workshop on Visual Place Categorization, Miami, 2009.

P. Viswanathan, D. Meger, T. Southey, J. J. Little, and A. K. Mackworth, "Automated Spatial-Semantic Modeling with Applications to Place Labeling and Informed Search", in Proceedings of Canadian Robot Vision, Kelowna, Canada, 2009.

P. Viswanathan, A. Mackworth, J. J. Little, J. Hoey, and A. Mihailidis. "NOAH for wheelchair users with cognitive impairment: Navigation and Obstacle Avoidance Help" (Short Paper), in Proceedings of AAAI Fall Symposium on AI in Eldercare: New Solutions to Old Problems, pages 150 - 152, Washington D.C., 2008.

P. Viswanathan, J. Boger, J. Hoey, A. Mihailidis, "A Comparison of Stereovision and Infrared as Sensors for an Anti-Collision Powered Wheelchair for Older Adults with Cognitive Impairments", Technology and Aging - Selected Papers from the 2007 International Conference on Technology and Aging, A. Mihailidis, J. Boger, H. Kautz, L. Normie, eds., Vol. 21, pp 165-172, Assistive Technology Research Series, IOS Press, 2008.

P. Viswanathan, J. Boger, J. Hoey, P. Elinas, A. Mihailidis, "The Future of Wheelchairs: Intelligent Collision Avoidance and Navigation Assistance", Geriatrics and Aging, 10(4):253-6, 2007.

P. Viswanathan, J. Boger, J. Hoey, P. Elinas, J. Little, A. Mackworth and A. Mihailidis, "An Intelligent Powered Wheelchair for Older Adults with Cognitive Impairments" (Poster and Extended Abstract), in Proc. of the Vancouver Society for Cognitive Science 2007 Conference: Robotics for Society, Vancouver, 2007.

P. Viswanathan, J. Boger, J. Hoey and A. Mihailidis, "A Comparison of Stereovision and Infrared as Sensors for an Anti-Collision Powered Wheelchair for Older Adults with Cognitive Impairments," in Proc. of the 2nd International Conference on Technology and Aging (ICTA), Toronto, 2007 (full-length paper in IOS Press book "Technology & Aging").