Sirat Samyoun, a computer science Ph.D. candidate who earned his master’s in computer science from UVA this May, was recipient of the Link Lab Outstanding Graduate Research Student Award. The award recognizes Sirat’s work to advance smart devices for healthcare.

His research is creating new technology for the next-generation of smart watches that will be capable of providing cognitive, in-home assistance to patients with certain medical conditions, like stroke or arthritis.

Samyoun’s advisor is John A. Stankovic, BP America Professor of Computer Science. Stankovic is also the director of UVA Engineering's LINK LAB. In the Link Lab, faculty and graduate students collaborate on projects to create cyber-physical systems for smart and connected health, which is one of the lab’s four research areas.

“Sirat has been a valuable contributor to my research group and his ideas to improve in-home, cognitive assistant technology will go a long way to advance healthcare,” Stankovic said. “His work to make smart watches more energy efficient with more robust machine learning capabilities is first rate.”

In collaboration with the UVA Center for Telemedicine and UVA Stroke Center, Samyoun built a cognitive assistant on a smart watch to be used by stroke patients returning home from the hospital. The voice-assisted watch – patients could make inquiries and the watch provided feedback -- aided patients in taking the right medications at the right time, correctly performing rehabilitative exercises, and in undertaking self-hygiene tasks, like hand washing.

“Smart watches have great potential for daily life health monitoring, but come with very limited sensing and processing capabilities,” Samyoun said. “My vision is to intelligently use voice interaction on a smart watch and utilize machine learning techniques to make watches as good as a medical-grade device.”

Samyoun’s research also focuses on accurately detecting stress, anxiety and different mental health issues by utilizing the physiological data collected by the smart watches.

Samyoun and Stankovic

Sirat Samyoun and John A. Stankovic, B.P. America Professor of Computer Science and director of the Link Lab. Samyoun earned his master’s of computer science from the University of Virginia this May.