mEMA Product Features

Below is a list of all mEMA features. If you don't see a feature you are interested in, please contact us.  In most cases, we can add it quickly.


Supported Browsers

mEMA is a web-based application, supporting the following browsers:

  • Microsoft Explorer, version 9 and above
  • Microsoft Edge, versions 94 and above
  • Firefox Mac, version 3.5 and above
  • Firefox Windows, version 12.0 and above
  • Chrome Mac, version 31 and above
  • Chrome Windows, version 15 and above
  • Safari, version 7 and above

Currently, we maintain compatibility with at least the last three releases of browsers.

Supported Languages

mEMA’s content editor allows the Primary Investigators to provide questions or instructions to participants in any language of their choice; the participant-facing component of mEMA currently supports all languages that read from left to right. Our content editor also supports traditional Chinese and Korean. Currently, navigation prompts can be provided in English, Dutch, and German.

Survey Design

Surveys are created using a cloud-based service, the Survey Editor, that allows:

  • Creation of both computer and user-generated assessments
  • Scheduling of assessments
  • Creating multiple response types
  • Time-stamps for all EMA activities
  • Programming skip logic / conditional branching
  • Structuring of assessments into three levels

For EMA studies, the Survey Editor allows for unlimited questions, surveys, and prompts to be entered with no programming required. Studies may include the use of images, dependencies (for branch and skip logic), triggered messaging, triggered follow-up surveys, and randomization.

The app alerts participants to when they should complete a survey and facilitates the data collection process. You may also choose to let the participant choose to begin a survey (a user-generated assessment).

Study Participant Numbering

Researchers use the mEMA website to create and assign the participant mobile codes.  During the creation of study participants, mEMA will create and assign a unique random number to assign to each participant.  We store this participant number as Mobile_code in our database.

Mobile_code must be unique to distinguish each study participant. The PI records the code in her/his local university or corporate system and associates the code with the participant. When the study begins, the research provides each participant with his/her code.

Importantly, ilumivu maintains no personal information (e.g., name, email address, phone number) to identify study participants. All information for one participant is associated by its Mobile_code which allows for HIPAA compliance.

When the study begins, the researcher provides each participant with his/her code. Each participant installs the ilumivu app on her/his phone or tablet, enters the code provided, and then clicks a synchronization button. Using this code, the app downloads surveys and survey schedules (momentary, scheduled, repeating and on-demand) for the designated participant. Once surveys and schedules have been downloaded, the app operates offline, making no connections to the ilumivu server.

Study Participant Numbering

mEMA supports creation of groups with support from the ilumivu Help Desk. Groups are created with certain permissions aligned with the Customer’s license type, which may or may not include Garmin data collection, Sleep Data, EAR recording, Mindfulness Audio playback and tracking, HRV data analysis, and Cognitive Behavior Tests (CBT) such as Go-NoGO, STROOP, and Trail Making.

Assessment Scheduling

We offer four types of scheduling:

  • Momentary is the standard type of scheduling for most EMA studies.
  • Repeating allows you to schedule an assessment on a recurring basis (Mondays at 3pm, for example).
  • Scheduled is for a specific date and time (January 25 at 2:15pm).
  • On Demand allows a participant to take the assessment whenever they want.

When you select "Momentary" as the survey type, you may set the times of day within which the alerts will occur (“time blocking”). By default, the Start and End times are set to 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM Monday - Friday. You can choose to leave these as they are or change the times or days as you wish. No alerts will be sent outside the times set in this window. At least one day must be completed. The times are determined by the time on the mobile device on which the App is operating so you do not need to adjust the times to accommodate those in other time zones.

Survey availability windows can be set per individual participant. Window start and end times provide buffers around the schedule to allow for added flexibility. You can randomize within time blocking.

Supported Question Types

  • Text box answers (native keyboard)
  • Radio button answers (single selection)
  • Checkbox answers (scrolling pickers)
  • Likert-type scale answers
  • Provide instructions to participants
  • Images as questions
  • Add video/sound files
  • Visual sliders
  • Constrained numerical range (scrolling picker)
  • Constrained decimal range (scrolling picker)
  • Constrained date range (scrolling picker)
  • Piping: populate response options from previous questions
  • Branching
  • Complex skip logic

Mobile Cognitive Behavioral Tests

  • The color-word-interference test (“Stroop Task”)
  • Go/No Go Task
  • n-Back Task
  • 3 Dot Memory
  • Block Tapping Task
  • TMT Trail-Making Test
  • Approach Avoidance Task (AAT)
  • Reward Learning Paradigm 

Data mEMA Can Collect

  • Response time report
  • Geofencing: trigger surveys at specific locations
  • Capture periodically sampled location (GPS/WiFi)
  • Accelerometer data
  • Ambient light sensing
  • Step count (cumulative)
  • Calories burned (cumulative)
  • Intensity minutes (cumulative)
  • Heart rate (instantaneous)
  • Inter-Beat-Interval (instantaneous)
  • Stress (instantaneous, Garmin’s algorithm)
  • Pulse Ox (instantaneous)
  • Body Battery (instantaneous)
  • Respiration (instantaneous)
  • Battery % (instantaneous)

Notifications and Reminders

mEMA can send notifications, including reminders for medication and appointments.

We provide periodic reminders as an alternative to snooze.  In the above example, we have set three reminders, one minute apart from each other.  We can also allow a participant to:

  • See all past surveys
  • Backstep through a survey to a previous answer
  • Complete a survey on-demand
  • Delete instances of a survey
  • Auto-upload on completion, without requiring action from the participant


All survey instances are given a time and date stamp which can be expanded to time of assessment, assessment start, and can include individual item response. For Cognitive Behavioral Tests (Stroop, Go/No Go) response time will be measured in milliseconds.


All survey instances are given a time and date stamp which can be expanded to time of assessment, assessment start, and can include individual item response. For Cognitive Behavioral Tests (Stroop, Go/No Go) response time will be measured in milliseconds.

JITAI Study Features

Using mEMA in JITAI studies provides the following advantages:

  • Start creating your survey immediately, without waiting for software development.
  • Start testing your intervention immediately.
  • Refine the intervention iteratively until you know it works at no additional cost.
  • Effectively monitor participants in real-time.
  • Get frequent data from patients, their phones, and wearables to see how interventions are progressing.
  • Eliminate the costs of programming; with mEMA, there is no need for custom software development.
  • No “in-house team” is needed to update mobile apps as operating systems change.
  • Patients can use study phones, or better yet, they can use their own phones.

Just-in-Time Adaptive Interventions (JITAI) can be automatically triggered from self-report, baseline, and real time physiological data. All intervention content is tailored to the response of the participant.  Using mEMA, researchers can:

  1. Deliver momentary intervention content within a mobile survey triggered by a user’s response in that moment.
  2. Track how everyone typically responds to a specific question. When it detects a change (as defined by the researcher), mEMA can automatically send your intervention content (e.g., follow-up questions, media files, link to a hotline).
  3. Optionally (with a mEMA Premium license), trigger interventions by measuring physiological data in real time. Interventions can be triggered based on HR, HRV, Stress, PulseOx, Step Count, or a mixture of variables.
  4. Researchers can also define their own algorithms using complex Boolean logic to trigger assessments. Researchers can nest up to 30 elements.

Randomization Schemes

All JITAI surveys can be administered using different randomization schedules to alter the order in which the survey is delivered. We can randomize when a participant takes a survey, which forms they are shown, which sections are shown, and which questions are shown. We can do this across instances to make sure that nothing repeats.

Tailored Text Messages

We can send tailored text messages to a participant. This can be based on the answer to a specific section, or in reaction to the cumulative score on a section. In addition, you can configure mEMA to automatically email someone on the research team whenever a participant selects a specific response to a survey.   This is typically used for high-risk participants; for example, those who indicate a high likelihood of immediate self-harm.

Administration of Third-Party Applications

mEMA can launch third-party applications based on survey results.  For example, we can launch cognitive game app, a meditation app, or a voice processing app to measure stress. We can also retrieve the results of certain third-party apps and incorporate the results into the study. mEMA can correlate the data from a third-party app with data from a physiological response using timestamps.

Participant Monitoring

During a study, researchers can use a participant’s Mobile_Code to send them a message, do real-time monitoring of their watch data, or to trigger EAR to record audio. The screenshot below shows the information available during real-time monitoring of the watch data. This information refreshes every ten seconds.

Background Audio Processing

mEMA offers four types of audio processing:

  • EAR. Records 30 seconds of audio every 210 seconds.
  • EAR Pre/Post Survey. Can be used to evaluate noise levels before triggering an assessment or to correlate data after an assessment.
  • Voice Activity Detection. Test to see if someone in the room is talking or crying.
  • Amplitude Metering. How loud is the environment?

Surrogate Responses and Third-Party Observations

mEMA allows for someone to respond to an assessment on behalf of a respondent.  This is optional functionality, included at an additional price. They might be a caregiver completing an assessment for a cancer patient or a parent completing an assessment for a child. mEMA can also integrate third-party observations into a study and correlate it through Bookmarks.

Detailed Sleep Reporting

Optionally, for an additional cost, we provide detailed sleep reporting (Light, Deep, and REM).

Compliance Dashboard

We will also train and make available a Compliance Dashboard view for the team to monitor survey completion rates for both EMA and JITAI compliance and payment for each participant.  Staff users can review the dashboard in real-time while the participant is using the smartphone in the field.

The data in the compliance dashboard is color-coded based on the level of response

RED 20% or less of the assigned (and created) instances have been completed

GREEN 80% or more have been completed

YELLOW between 20% and 80% have been completed

PURPLE shows started instances that were previously assigned and have since been deleted


Wearables Integration

mEMA supports the Garmin VivoSmart 4 and VivoActive 4. Please contact us for questions about support of other devices.

The Garmin SDK gives:
– Step count (cumulative)
– Calories burned (cumulative)
– Intensity minutes (cumulative)
– Floors climbed (cumulative)
– Heart rate (instantaneous)
– Inter-Beat-Interval 
– Stress (
instantaneous, Garmin’s algorithm)
– Accelerometer (instantaneous)
– Pulse Ox (instantaneous)
– Body Battery (instantaneous)
– Respiration 
– Battery % (i

Additional HRV metrics derived from IBI data

Data Analysis

Data is accessible on the mEMA web platform once a completed survey has been uploaded from a mobile device. There are two options for downloading data: individual participant data through a flat file, or all participant data through our Rapid Report feature.
  • Real-time aggregated data sets
  • SPSS/SaaS integration
  • CSV download raw data
  • Custom report- time spent on each question


ilumivu understands the importance of clear, concise, and compliant grant applications.  Our support of grant-writing begins with a fact-finding strategy session with the Principal Investigator to assess the goals of the study, data to be collected, number of participants, device options, timeline and budget.  We tailor these strategy sessions to the level of understanding the researcher has of EMA, ambulatory monitoring, and JITAI.

We provide two documents to all potential new clients: “New to EMA” and “Grant Writer’s Guide”.  These documents provide the PI with the necessary documentation about mEMA for their NIH grant applications. On request, we also provide a Letter of Support, on letterhead, signed by Dr. Katherine (Kat) Houghton, our founder who holds a Ph.D. in Behavioral Psychology.

If additional information is needed, the PI, or other members of the research team, can reach out to our Director of Business Development, who will coordinate additional requests.

Once the team creates surveys on the platform, our QA team will test the surveys on various iOS and Android versions to ensure everything is working properly.  We provide on-line trouble shooting of the survey structure throughout the life of the study.

We offer an extensive self-service library. We use FreshDesk to manage all support tickets.

  • Email support during business hours
  • Two 60-minute training sessions
  • User Manuals
  • End-User Manuals (for your participants)