Prof. Edison Thomaz of Texas ECE has received a Google Faculty Research Award for his proposed research work on "Identifying Acoustic Biomarkers of Mental Health and Well-Being in Voice-Based Interactions with Conversational Assistants in the Home". Google Faculty Research Awards is an annual open call for "proposals on computer science and related topics such as machine learning, machine perception, natural language processing, and quantum computing." This year, Google considered 1,033 proposals covering 46 countries and over 360 universities and funded 152 projects from those proposals. Prof. Thomaz's research was funded in the area of Machine Perception.
Prof. Thomaz's research will study existing home devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Mini, which interact with people through voice commands. As these devices become more integrated into people's lives, there is an opportunity to examine these interactions to infer states of health, disease and well-being using machine learning algorithms and auditory scene analysis.
Edison Thomaz is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. He holds a Ph.D. in Human-Centered Computing from the School of Interactive Computing of the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a S.M. in Media Arts and Sciences from the MIT Media Lab. Prior to his academic appointments, Dr. Thomaz held industry positions at leading technology companies such as Microsoft and France Telecom. Dr. Thomaz is currently an active member of the NIH-funded Center of Excellence for Mobile Sensor Data-to-Knowledge (http://md2k.org) and a leading researcher in the emerging field of personal health informatics. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as MIT Tech Review, The Houston Chronicle, and The Wall Street Journal.