News and Insights


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Emotion Recognition from Natural Phone Conversations in Individuals with and without Recent Suicidal Ideation

A promising approach to symptom monitoring is suicidal speech prediction, as speech can be passively collected and may indicate changes in risk. Since suicidal ideation is associated with emotion dysregulation, John Gideon’s research focuses on the detection of emotion from speech and its relation to suicide.
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Smartphone-based safety planning and self-monitoring for suicidal patients: Rationale and Study protocol of the CASPAR (Continuous Assessment for Suicide Prevention and Research) Study

Chani Nuij, MSc’s study presents the rationale and protocol of the Continuous Assessment for Suicide Prevention and Research (CASPAR) study. The research team’s goals of the study are two-fold: to evaluate the feasibility of mobile safety planning and daily mobile self monitoring in routine care treatment for suicidal patients, and to conduct fundamental research on suicidal processes. Clinical guidelines recommend
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Ambulatory Digital Phenotyping of Blunted Affect and Alogia using Objective Facial and Vocal Analysis: Proof of Concept

Synopsis Negative symptoms of Schizophrenia – including blunted affect and alogia – are poorly understood yet amongst the most debilitating to patients. They are traditionally assessed with questionnaire measures or clinician ratings both of which are subject to bias and limited to whenever the patient comes into a clinic. There is a need for measures that are objective and more
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Digital Phenotyping in Suicidal Ideation

Dr. Evan Kleinman, Ph.D | Harvard Medical School |

A group from Harvard Medical School used the mEMA System for “digital phenotyping” – real-time characterization and quantification in human thought in situ. They found five previously unknown distinct phenotypes of suicidal thought. there was a significant relationship between some of these phenotypes and a recent suicide attempt. This work has opened up a new avenue in the understanding of suicide and its prevention.
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Ecological Momentary Intervention for Marijuana Use in Youth

Lydia Shrier, MD, MPH | Boston Children’s Hospital | The team used motivational counseling with adolescents using marijuana. They found it effective but wondered if they could make it more effective by adding an ecological momentary intervention component. They used the mEMA System to provide personalized messages to participants throughout the day that were tailored to the specific momentary context (e.g. hanging out with friends).
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Merging Digital Technology with Mental Health

Join host Adrian Sinclair and Kat Houghton as they discuss her work, how our connection with nature plays a role in mental wellness, what are the challenges surrounding mental health, how we can change the stigma and break the gender bias on mental health, and how their company is doing in providing digital information and services in the aspect of mental health.
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Ep: 37 FUUK Cancer. | Ryan Elson: No Humble Opinions

Cancer is a leading cause of death in Australia – almost 50,000 deaths from cancer were estimated for 2019…… and it is scary.How scary? Ryno and Kat Houghton discuss their own personal stories relating to the effects of this awful disease.
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S1 E4 – Kat Houghton | The Abstract Doctors

Join world-class doctors, Dr. Ron Gharbo and Dr. David Cifu for episode 4 of season 1 as they welcome PHD in Psychology, Co-Founder & Research Director at Ilumivu, Kat Houghton. David Cifu, MD is an internationally academic leader and innovator who specializes in initiating, developing, fostering and leading small and large-scale collaborations across the research, clinical, education and philanthropic arenas
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Episode 24: Applying Technology to Psychology with Kat Houghton | Startup Happy Hour

It’s not everyday you meet someone who holds a PhD and is a startup founder, but it’s not everyday you meet someone like Kat Houghton. After working with children and parents of children with autism for close to a decade while earning her PhD, Kat saw an opportunity to apply technology to psychology and founded ilumivu. ilumivu offers mobile, web
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172 | Using Technology to Help More People | Awarepreneurs

Awarepreneurs is a popular conscious business and social entrepreneurs podcast.
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ilumivu SaaS Platform Chosen by PsyTech, Inc. to power the Tovana Psychedelic Assisted Therapy Application

October 27, 2020 – Asheville, NC. – ilumivu announced today that PsyTech, Inc. – an industry leader in advancing psychedelic medicine – has signed an exclusive agreement to create its Psychedelic Assisted Therapy (PAT) clinical application for worldwide deployment powered by ilumivu’s software platform. Venture-backed PsyTech is the leading therapeutic psychedelics community builder and venture developer in education, training, and
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Digital Method in Behavioral Health

What is an ecological momentary assessment? How are ecological momentary interventions powerful and helpful in a clinical research setting? Learn more about how digital technology, smart phone applications, electronic surveys, and wearable devices can help in both the clinical research and the clinical treatment arena. In this fascinating interview with Dr. Katherine Houghton, she answers your most pressing questions about applying digital technology to capture real-world/real-time data, and to help patients at the most critical times.
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Using Technology to Improve Mental Health with Kat Houghton, Co-Founder of ilumivu | Thoughtful Software Podcast

In this episode, we are speaking with psychologist and tech founder, Kat Houghton. Kat founded ilumivu to help mental health clinicians and researchers support real-time behavioral interventions. She is a pioneer in using digital tech to disrupt the way mental health is accessed and delivered. Listen in as Andrew, Fahad, and Kat discuss health and tech, data collection, and the good we
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E84 – Digital Methods in Behavioral Research with Dr. Kat Houghton | NEI Podcast

What is an ecological momentary assessment? How are ecological momentary interventions powerful and helpful in a clinical research setting? Learn more about how digital technology, smart phone applications, electronic surveys, and wearable devices can help in both the clinical research and the clinical treatment arena. In this fascinating interview with Dr. Katherine Houghton, she answers your most pressing questions about
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Real-Time Physiological Triggered Intervention

One of the key features of the system’s intelligence is that it can sense your physiological state and detect increases in stress or changes in mood before you may become consciously aware of them. This means it can help you re-direct earlier so you can use the tools and strategies your therapist has helped you learn when they are most effective, before you head into emotional dysregulation. In this video, our co-founder, Kat Houghton, shows you how to set up the mEMA System to use physiological data in your study.
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Merging Digital Technology & Mental Health | The Adrian Sinclair Show with Kat Houghton | apodcast Originals

The Adrian Sinclair Show focuses on real conversations with interesting people, exploration of interesting projects, topics, and ideas worth talking about. New episodes stream every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday 7AM MT.
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Wearable Systems to Counter Anxiety and Depression

In this conversation with Bruce Langford of the Mindfulness Mode podcast ilumivu co-founder Kat Houghton talks about wearable technology can increase our awareness of our behavior, bringing it more under conscious control. She describes some of the just-in-time adaptive intervention ilumivu has been involved in.  Recorded June 24th 2020
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Webinar Series: Digital Methods in Behavioral Research #3

Ecological Sampling of Affect, Social Context and Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors For adolescents hospitalized for suicidal thoughts and behaviors, the transition from inpatient to the home environment is a high risk time for repeated attempts, re-hospitalization, and even death by suicide. However, most research aimed at understanding the factors that contribute to this risk is implemented retrospectively, resulting in a
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Webinar Series: Digital Methods in Behavioral Research #2

The Relationship of Mental Co-morbidities with Glycemic Control in People with Diabetes Mellitus Negative interrelationships between diabetes and depression/affective comorbidity with potentially impaired self-management and glucose control, as well as increased risks of long-term complications in affected people, have been in the focus of psychological diabetes research for several decades. Although elevated risks of vascular complications were established in those
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Data Identifiers in mEMA

This short video explains how we identify participants and their data in the mEMA System without using any Personally Identifying Information (PII).
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Data File Format in mEMA

The end product of your EMA data collection is the data sheet – it’s got to be useful!  The mEMA System makes it easy for you to set up the data file as you need it through the Survey Editor. In this video our Co-Founder, Kat Houghton PhD, show you the data file and how it relates to what you
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Innovations in Technology and Mechanisms of Change in Behavioral Interventions: A Summary

A comprehensive review of how technology is evolving the way we can modify behaviors and improve behaviorally-relevant treatments was recently published by Nicole Nugent and colleagues in the journal Behavior Modification.  Here, we summarize key points from this article, which articulates both the importance of ongoing, repeated behavioral assessments as a way to understand the impact of a given intervention, as
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Negative urgency impulsivity predicts receptive syringe sharing following reported anxious mood

Dr. Mary Mackesy-Amiti’s investigates the commonality between borderline personality disorder (BPD) with people who inject drugs (PWID), and its association with receptive syringe sharing. Dr. Mackesy-Amiti’s study utilized ecological momentary assessment (EMA) to examine associations between emotion dysregulation, a characteristic of BPD, as well as patterns of negative affect and receptive syringe sharing among PWID. Participants used the mEMA phone
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New Insights into Schizophrenia from the Affective Neuroscience Laboratory at University of Georgia and the mEMA System.

Gregory Strauss, Ph.D | University of Georgia | Reliable and valid scales for assessment of the negative symptoms of Schizophrenia are available. However, they have certain issues that affect their validity, such as recall biases, halo effects, and issues of social desirability as they are usually completed with the clinician. Dr. Strauss’s group wanted to know if digital phenotyping methods could be complementary to the existing scales.
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Negative affect and emotion dysregulation among young people who inject drugs: An ecological momentary assessment

Dr. Mary E. Mackesy-Amiti’s study utilized ecological momentary assessment (EMA) to measure negative affect in people who inject drugs (PWID), and her study examined associations with borderline personality disorder (BPD) symptoms and hardships with emotion regulation, in the context of injection drug use.  Participants used mEMA phone application to report on mood, substance use, and injection behavior for two weeks.
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The dynamics of social support among suicide attempters: A smartphone-based daily diary study

Daniel D.L. Coppersmith’s study advocates for the role of of social support in predicting at risk suicide behavior and pliancy; examining the daily fluctuations of recognized social support. Over the course of 28 days, Daniel’s study used mEMA to examine the daily fluctuations of 53 adults who had attempted suicide within the past year, and capriciousness of social support was
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Cognitive Testing and Mobile Technology

Psychologists and scientists have long recognized that human cognition is what separates us from other forms of life (Au, Piers, & Devine, S, 2017). Understanding how to evaluate our cognitive abilities across a broad array of contexts, including assessing the integrity of our cognition in the face of injury or disease are thus top priorities for researchers and clinicians alike.
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Feasibility Study of Problem-Solving Training for Care Partners of Adults With Traumatic Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury, Burn Injury, or Stroke During the Inpatient Hospital Stay

Dr. Shannon B. Juengst’s study using Ecological Momentary Assessment was designed to determine the feasibility of delivering an evidence based self management intervention, problem-solving training (PST), to care partners of individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury (SPI), burn injury, or stroke during the inpatient hospital stay. PST is a metacognitive self-management intervention that teaches individuals a global strategy
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An examination of diurnal variations in neuropathic pain and affect, on exercise and non-exercise days, in adults with spinal cord injury

Dr. Kathleen Martin Ginis’ study utilizes ecological momentary assessment to measure the intra-individual diurnal variations in neuropathic pain and affect on exercise and non-exercise days in a community setting. The study aims to provide a deeper understanding of how neuropathic pain and affect change from pre to post-exercise, and over time. Using the mEMA System, participants with spinal cord injuries
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Feasibility of ecological momentary assessment to study mood and risk behavior among young people who inject drugs

Dr. Mary E. Mackesy-Amiti’s study tests the acceptability and feasibility of ecological momentary assessment (EMA) of mood and injection risk behavior among young people who inject drugs (PWID), using mobile phones.  Participants used the mEMA System to respond to momentary surveys on mood, substance use, and injection risk behavior for 15 days. Participants were assigned to receive surveys four, five,
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Characterization and Agreement Between Application of Mobile Ecological Momentary Assessment (mEMA) and Accelerometry in the Identification of Prevalence of Sedentary Behavior in Young Adults

Catiana Leila Possamai Romanzini’s study describes sedentary behavior (SB) in the physical, social, and environmental contexts and verify the agreement between mobile Ecological Momentary Assessment (mEMA) and accelerometry in the in the identification of SB in young adults.  Over the course of seven days 123 young adults used concomitant mEMA and Actigraph wGT3xBT accelerometer. Data of 2,262 mEMA prompts and
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MovingU: A prospective cohort study to understand behavioral and environmental contexts influencing physical activity during transition into emerging adulthood.

In his study, Dr. Matthew Kwan examines the acute transition of physical activity (PA) of out of high school aged adolescents into early adulthood. The MovingU study works to gain a comprehensive understanding of the behavioural patterns and the socio-ecological factors related to the changes in PA during transition out of high school. The MovingU study was comprised of two phases
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Are suicidal thoughts reinforcing? A preliminary real-time monitoring study on the potential affect regulation function of suicidal thinking.

Dr. Evan Kleinman’s study examines whether the occurrence of suicidal thinking was followed by decreased negative affect and increased positive affect in 43 adult participants who attempted suicide at least once in the past year. The mEMA System was used to run 28 days of smartphone-based real-time monitoring, where participants were signaled four times per day to report on current affect
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Digital Phenotyping

What is Digital Phenotyping? Digital phenotyping provides an objective way to gather data through digital devices such as Smartphones, which can improve research and clinical practice by avoiding the pitfalls of limited data or self-reporting as the basis of diagnosis (Insel, 2018). This new approach to data collection, which was first defined less than five years ago, employs sensors that track activity
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Ambulatory Assessment of Heart Rate with Garmin Devices

Heart Rate The mEMA System is deeply integrated with Garmin wearable devices. We use the Garmin Companion SDK to pull real-time data directly from the wearable into the mEMA app. From there it can be sent up to the ilumivu server in combination with the mobile EMA data and used to trigger events on the phone.  This article provides a
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Set Up Your Mobile EMA Study

Kat Houghton briefly explains how to use the mEMA platform to set up key elements of your mobile Ecological Momentary Assessment or Intervention study.
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Set Garmin Goals in mEMA

Kat Houghton explains how to set goals for your participants based on their Garmin data then feedback their individual progress to them through the mEMA app. You can set this all up yourself through the mEMA platform – no programming required.
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Just-In-Time Interventions in mEMA

A quick description of how the mEMA platform combines three distinct data streams (self-report, passive phone sensors and physiological data) to feed into your decision tree to deliver the right message to the right person at the right moment.
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Introduction to the mEMA System

mEMA is a mobile app for Ecological Momentary Assessment and Experience Sampling research. It captures self-report, location, motion, phone use and physiological data from integrated wearable sensors. It is the only mobile EMA system that supports physiologically triggered mobile surveys.
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Introduction to ilumivu

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Customer Support for mEMA

Even though mEMA is a self-service platform, you are not alone! Our staff is here to support you and ensure your study is a success. This quick video leads you through how we can support you in creating your own EMA or EMI study.
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Let’s Talk

If you have an upcoming EMA or EMI study, then I’d love to talk to you about the requirements of your study and see if the mEMA System will be a good fit for you. Our pricing is term-based; you purchase a subscription to the system for 6 months, 1 year or more. Subscriptions start at $2,650 for the 6-month Basic
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How We Work

The mEMA System The alternative to creating your own app is to use an end-to-end EMA and EMI platform that handles all your data streams in a cohesive manner bringing everything into one database with a consistent naming and timestamping protocol. Ideally, a system that can be accessed by anyone with a Smartphone and quickly customized to capture exactly the
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Why Use mEMA?

The Value in Your Research is NOT in the Technology The value in your research is not in the technology – it’s in the research design and what you do with the data. You’ve spent years, perhaps decades, becoming an expert in your field. That field of research is relying on you to keep probing the important questions and making
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Who is the mEMA System for?

If you are an academic researcher in the field of psychology, behavioral medicine, social science or public health looking to run an ecological momentary assessment or intervention study then you need to find a way to collect those data within the timeframe and budget dictated by your grant. In that past that might have meant hiring a developer or hobbling
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How to Run a Successful EMA/EMI Study

If you are a researcher involved in digital health or using ecological momentary assessment or intervention methodologies, then I want to show you how to successfully run your grant-funded study on time and on budget without hiring a developer. We’ve helped hundreds of researchers over the past ten years to do just that. Some Examples of our Work Suicide Ideation Phenotyping This study was
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Just-in-Time Adaptive Interventions Encourage Healthy Behavior

Just-in-time adaptive interventions (JITAIs) [1] are strategies that are designed to provide support at the most opportune time and are attuned to the needs of an individual. These approaches are adaptive in nature so that they can deal with dynamic real-world internal and external environments.  JITAIs are often used to promote healthy changes in behavior [2], such as reducing smoking and
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New Technology Boosts the Use of Heart Rate Variability Biomarker in Medicine

HRV Predicts Psychological and Biological Functioning Heart rate variability (HRV) [1] – or the variation in number of heartbeats over a specific period of time – has been increasingly recognized as a predictor of psychological and biological dysfunction. Research has shown that lower HRV is associated with a host of health challenges. For instance, people with diseases ranging from diabetes [2] to
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The Use of HRV in Ecological Momentary Assessment Research

Next generation EMA Ecological Momentary Assessment is the method of capturing data from people as they go about their daily lives. Traditionally data collection has been mostly restricted to participant self-report, even with the shift towards the use of Smartphones. Since 2013 Ilumivu has been pioneering the capture of other data streams in EMA research including those captured passively from the phone (e.g.
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Researcher’s Guide to Wearables: Activity

Ambulatory Activity Tracking and EMA Physical activity can be tracked both by accelerometers already in the Smartphone or with a wearable activity / fitness tracker. One study suggests that phone apps measuring “steps” are more accurate than wearables. The mEMA System allows you to collect both wearable data and raw 3-axis accelerometer data from the phone. For many studies the data captured
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Researcher’s Guide to Wearables

Apps for Ecological Momentary Assessment are rapidly changing the manner in which psychology and behavioral health research is conducted. Close behind this wave of development is the use of wearable technologies in the same fields. This is a guide for researchers wishing to augment self-report EMA data with objective data collected from wearable devices and engage in some form of ambulatory assessment. Researchers are currently using wearable
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Putting the ECOLOGICAL into EMA

Ecological Momentary Assessment has been in used since the 1940s but only recently has the technology allowed for a deep understanding of the survey respondent’s local environment. Previously the “ecological” advantage of EMA was that researchers knew that the respondent was not in the lab but in one of their everyday locations (e.g. work, home, commuting etc.) and thus were sampling experience
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Psychology in the Wild: A Researcher’s Guide to EMA

Many psychologists have not used Ecological Momentary Assessment but are interested in doing so, this guide is for you. WHAT IS EMA? Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) grew out of the earlier Experience Sampling Method (ESM) pioneered by Csikszentmihalyi in his study of Flow. EMS traditionally focused on assessing internal thoughts and feelings while EMA broadens the reach to health, events or
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Researcher’s Guide to Wearables: Heart Rate and HRV

At ilumivu we receive a lot of requests about ambulatory assessment of heart rate and heart rate variability (HRV) and how to best integrate these metrics with mobile Ecological Momentary Assessment (mEMA). Some of our clients are interested in capturing heart rate (HR) for the study of physical movement and fitness, others are interested in capturing heart rate variability (HRV) either as a marker or cardiovascular
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Mobile and Internet Technologies for Program Evaluation

In a 2016 paper in the journal Evaluation and Program Planning, Frank Materia et al. provide a high-level overview of some of the advantages and considerations for performing program evaluation with mobile and internet technologies. Below is a bullet point summary of the issue they raise for those who don’t have access to, or the time to read, the full paper. Materia et
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Apps for Substance Abuse Research

Substance abuse research and treatment is a growing area of application for ecological momentary assessment (EMA) apps such as mEMA by ilumivu. The nature of the behavior makes substance abuse a prime candidate for being studied in the context of daily life rather than in the lab or through retrospective self-report. EMA (or Experience Sampling Method) offers an avenue for capturing time-varying subjective experiences close to
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Global Reach

mEMA has been designed to handle large international studies. The ilumivu team are currently supporting an Experience Sampling study across four countries each which their own language and time zone – Australia, China, Italy, and Germany. We have previously supported projects in Polish, Spanish and Korean. The challenge is two fold. Firstly, we had to make sure that the Survey Editor would allow the
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Big Data

Organizations embarking on Big Data initiatives often need to make system wide changes to support collection, storage and meaningful analysis. The ilumivu system is in use by The Data Warehousing Institute to provide an online assessment tools for companies wishing to assess their readiness for handling big data. The online survey collects their answers and automatically generates reports to show each
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Wearables for Autism

Alongside the rapidly growing consumer market for wearable sensors is an expanding research trend of combining EMA / Experience Sampling with passive data collection from wearables. Over the last few years we have supported numerous projects using third party sensors alongside our mEMA apps. The project closest to our hearts is one supporting children and adolescents with severe autism. The mEMA
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Autism Resources International Awareness Series | Autism Resources International

Today on Autism Resources International’s Awareness Series hosts Aaron Deland and Monika Zands will share all about one of our featured sponsors Kat Houghton from Relate to Autism. She has donated ten 6 month memberships to www.relatetoautism.com for our silent auction. Tune in to see how this can really impact a families ability to reach their child.Autism Resources International Awareness Series Autism