Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

Rahman, Kalanadhabhatta Receive Technology Development Award From UMass President’s Office

Tauhidur Rahman, Manasa Kalanadhabhatta
Tauhidur Rahman, Manasa Kalanadhabhatta

A team including Assistant Professor Tauhidur Rahman and doctoral candidate Manasa Kalanadhabhatta of the Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences (CICS), with Adam Grabell of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and Adrelys Mateo Santana, technical assistant at the Self-Regulation, Emotions, & Early Development (SEED) Laboratory, have received a project grant from the Office of Technology Commercialization and Ventures at the UMass President’s Office.

Their awarded project, EarlyScreen, is a lab-based game and algorithm that detects the presence of psychological disorders in preschool children with a high degree of accuracy compared to commonly used diagnostic tools. Psychological disorders emerging in the first few years of life often persist across later developmental stages and into adulthood, resulting in significant impairment and societal costs. The emerging signs of psychological disorders are difficult to differentiate from normative misbehavior in early childhood, creating a “when to worry” problem for caregivers and providers. EarlyScreen’s algorithm automatically extracts features such as facial expressions, gaze, and head movement from video footage.

EarlyScreen is one of ten projects in the UMass system chosen to receive up to $25,000 from the Technology Development Fund, which helps to commercialize scientific breakthroughs throughout the five-campus University of Massachusetts system.

“As a public research university, UMass has a duty to drive innovation that strengthens the socio-economic fabric of our communities, nation, and world,” said UMass President Marty Meehan, who recently announced the awards. “With these grants, we’re investing in world-class faculty who are carrying out our mission through their cutting-edge discoveries, attracting the highest quality collaborators, and bringing the results of research to the marketplace.”

The Technology Development Fund awards provide supplemental funding to help close the gap between UMass research discoveries and proven technology that address the most pressing issues facing the region, the nation, and the world, often laying the groundwork for major breakthroughs.

Rahman’s research, which has received press coverage from outlets including the Wall Street Journal, NewScientist, and MIT Technology Review, aims to rethink the core physical mechanisms of existing health technologies and to impact the way we diagnose diseases, and track and manage our health. He joined the CICS faculty in 2017, after receiving his doctorate in information science from Cornell University in 2017, where he earned an outstanding teaching award in 2015. He received a Google Ph.D. Fellowship in 2016 in mobile computing, a best paper award from ACM Digital Health 2016, and a best paper honorable mention award from ACM Ubicomp 2015.

Kalanadhabhatta is a doctoral candidate at CICS, advised by Rahman and Professor Deepak Ganesan in the MOSAIC Lab. Her research interests lie broadly in the areas of sensing and machine learning for cognitive wellbeing. She is currently working as a research intern with the CTRL team at Meta Reality Labs in New York, NY.