New Amulet Dissertation: ‘Information Provenance for Mobile Health Data’

We are proud to announce an Amulet team members’ successful dissertation. Dr. Taylor Hardin’s dissertation focuses on an end-to-end solution for providing information provenance for mHealth data, which begins by securing mHealth data at its source: the mHealth device.

The dissertation describes a memory-isolation method that combines compiler-inserted code and Memory Protection Unit (MPU) hardware to protect application code and data on ultra-low-power micro-controllers. The security of mHealth data outside of the source (e.g., data that has been uploaded to smartphone or remote-server) is then addressed with Amanuensis, a health-data system, which uses Blockchain and Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) technologies to provide confidential, yet verifiable, data storage and computation for mHealth data. The use of blockchain and TEEs introduce identity privacy and data freshness issues, which are explored. A privacy-preserving solution for blockchain transactions, and a freshness solution for data access-control lists retrieved from the blockchain are presented.

To learn more, check out Dr. Taylor Hardin’s dissertation below. 

Hardin, Taylor A., “Information Provenance for Mobile Health Data” (2022). Dartmouth College Ph.D Dissertations. 79.

Usability evaluation for the Amulet wearable device in rural older adults with obesity

The following paper dates to last year, but is an important publication from the Amulet group:

  • John A. Batsis, Alexandra Zagaria, David F. Kotz, Stephen J. Bartels, George G. Boateng, Patrick O. Proctor, Ryan J. Halter, and Elizabeth A. Carpenter-Song. Usability evaluation for the Amulet wearable device in rural older adults with obesity. Gerontechnology, 17(3):151-159, 2018. DOI 10.4017/gt.2018.

Abstract: Mobile health (mHealth) interventions hold the promise of augmenting existing health promotion interventions. Older adults present unique challenges in advancing new models of health promotion using technology including sensory limitations and less experience with mHealth, underscoring the need for specialized usability testing. We use an open-source mHealth device as a case example for its integration in a newly designed health services intervention. We performed a convergent, parallel mixed-methods study including semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and questionnaires, using purposive sampling of 29 older adults, 4 community leaders, and 7 clinicians in a rural setting. We transcribed the data, developed codes informed by thematic analysis using inductive and deductive methods, and assessed the quantitative data using descriptive statistics. Our results suggest the importance of end-users in user-centered design of mHealth devices and that aesthetics are critically important. The prototype could potentially be feasibly integrated within health behavior interventions. Centralized dashboards were desired by all participants and ecological momentary assessment could be an important part of monitoring. Concerns of mHealth, including the prototype device, include the device’s accuracy, its intrusiveness in daily life and privacy. Formative evaluations are critically important prior to deploying large-scale interventions.

Amulet: Design, Development and Evaluation of a Wearable Device for mHealth Applications

Today we presented an “Experience” paper at ACM MobiCom, summarizing the technology, the studies, and the challenges and lessons learned over seven years of research.


George Boateng, Vivian Genaro Motti, Varun Mishra, John A. Batsis, Josiah Hester, and David Kotz. Experience: Design, Development and Evaluation of a Wearable Device for mHealth Applications. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking (MobiCom), October 2019. DOI 10.1145/3300061.3345432.

Abstract: Wrist-worn devices hold great potential as a platform for mobile health (mHealth) applications because they comprise a familiar, convenient form factor and can embed sensors in proximity to the human body. Despite this potential, however, they are severely limited in battery life, storage, bandwidth, computing power, and screen size. In this paper, we describe the experience of the research and development team designing, implementing and evaluating Amulet? an open-hardware, open-software wrist-worn computing device? and its experience using Amulet to deploy mHealth apps in the field. In the past five years the team conducted 11 studies in the lab and in the field, involving 204 participants and collecting over 77,780 hours of sensor data. We describe the technical issues the team encountered and the lessons they learned, and conclude with a set of recommendations. We anticipate the experience described herein will be useful for the development of other research-oriented computing platforms. It should also be useful for researchers interested in developing and deploying mHealth applications, whether with the Amulet system or with other wearable platforms.

Amulet released at SenSys’16

Today at the ACM Conference on Embedded Networked Sensor Systems (SenSys 2016) the Amulet team presented a paper about the design and evaluation of the Amulet platform – watch a video of the talk. We also unveiled a video overview of the platform and its capabilities. Check out the specs below the photo.

Indeed, we are pleased to share the Amulet hardware and software, open-source on GitHub, under a generous license that allows free use by the research community. We encourage you to download the details, fabricate your own Amulet wearable, and let us know what you think!

Amulets on table - slant.JPG Continue reading

Amulet paper to appear at WMMADD

I’m pleased to share a new paper that we’ll be presenting next month at the Workshop on Mobile Medical Applications – Design and Development (WMMADD)  at SenSys in Memphis.

Abstract: Interest in using mobile technologies for health-related applications (mHealth) has increased. However, none of the available mobile platforms provide the essential properties that are needed by these applications. An mHealth platform must be (i) secure; (ii) provide high availability; and (iii) allow for the deployment of multiple third-party mHealth applications that share access to an individual’s devices and data. Smartphones may not be able to provide property (ii) because there are activities and situations in which an individual may not be able to carry them (e.g., while in a contact sport). A low-power wearable device can provide higher availability, remaining attached to the user during most activities. Furthermore, some mHealth applications require integrating multiple on-body or near-body devices, some owned by a single individual, but others shared with multiple individuals. In this paper, we propose a secure system architecture for a low-power bracelet that can run multiple applications and manage access to shared resources in a body-area mHealth network. The wearer can install a personalized mix of third-party applications to support the monitoring of multiple medical conditions or wellness goals, with strong security safeguards. Our preliminary implementation and evaluation supports the hypothesis that our approach allows for the implementation of a resource monitor on far less power than would be consumed by a mobile device running Linux or Android. Our preliminary experiments demonstrate that our secure architecture would enable applications to run for several weeks on a small wearable device without recharging.

  • Andrés Molina-Markham, Ronald Peterson, Joseph Skinner, Tianlong Yun, Bhargav Golla, Kevin Freeman, Travis Peters, Jacob Sorber, Ryan Halter, David Kotz. Amulet: A secure architecture for mHealth applications for low-power wearable devices. In Proceedings of the Workshop on Mobile Medical Applications – Design and Development (WMMADD), November 2014. [PDF]