Category Archives: News

OpenSim simulations yield insights into the design of assistive devices to reduce the metabolic cost of running

Mobilize Center researcher Thomas Uchida and OpenSim researchers published a paper in PLOS One where they generated muscle-driven simulations of movement to augment experimental data and provide insights into the design of assistive devices to reduce energy consumption during running.

Using the open-source OpenSim software platform, they simulated 10 human subjects running at 2 and 5 m/s to examine the predicted changes in muscle recruitment patterns and metabolic power consumption with assistive devices.

Results from the simulations yielded observations that can be used to form hypotheses for future experimental studies.

Read full article

Analysis of 600,000+ crisis hotline text messages identifies successful counseling techniques

Mobilize Center graduate student Tim Althoff and Mobilize Center faculty member Jure Leskovec published a research paper in the Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics Journal where they conducted a large-scale quantitative analysis of over 600,000 text messages from 15,555 counseling conversations. They developed novel computational methods such as a sequence-based unsupervised conversation model and psycholinguistics-inspired word frequency analyses to learn how various linguistic aspects of conversation are correlated with conversational outcomes.

Results from the analysis yielded five strategies that successful counselors utilize. Read the full article

Women in Data Science (WiDS) conference registration now open

This one-day technical conference provides an opportunity to hear about the latest data science-related research in a number of domains, learn how leading-edge companies are leveraging data science for success, and connect with potential mentors, collaborators, and others in the field.

An outstanding group of speakers has been assembled, including:

  • Diane Greene, Senior Vice President at Google
  • Yael Garten, Director of Data Science at LinkedIn
  • Janet George, Fellow and Chief Data Officer at SanDisk
  • Susan Holmes, Professor of Statistics at Stanford University
  • Megan Price, Executive Director at the Human Rights Data Analysis Group

Learn more and register.

Announcing Workshop on Machine Learning for Health @ NIPS 2016

The Workshop on Machine Learning will take place at the Twenty-Ninth Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS 2016) in Barcelona, Spain, on Friday, December 9, 2016. The deadline to submit an extended abstract is October 28, 2016.

The purpose of the workshop is to bring together clinicians, health data experts and machine learning researchers to discuss how statistical learning can enhance both science and the practice of medicine. Mobilize Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellows Jason Fries and Madalina Fiterau are part of the organizing committee.

Learn more about the workshop and abstract submission process.

NIH Rehabilitation Research Conference Highlights Role of Technology and Big Data

The NIH is hosting a conference “Rehabilitation Research at NIH: Moving the Field Forward” on May 25-26, 2016 to discuss the range of rehabilitation research projects funded by the NIH and to gather feedback on the development of the recommendations for the NIH Rehabilitation Research Plan.  Panel discussions include a discussion of telemedicine and smartphone apps in rehab (“Bending the Arc of Technology Toward Rehabilitation and Health) and the use of big data in rehab (“Using Data to Drive Discovery”). Dr. Jennifer Hicks, the Mobilize Center Director of Data Science, will present a talk on how our Center uses data from wearable sensors, research labs, and clinics to understand and improve human mobility.

The full agenda is available here.  The event will also be webcast:

Watch Wednesday’s webcast

Watch Thursday’s webcast

Abby King Discusses the Key for Behavior Change at mHealth Connect

At last week’s mHealth Connect, Abby King highlighted the need to personalize incentives for behavior change. How to select the right approach for motivating an individual, though, should come from an analysis of the individual’s behavior, not from asking the individual about her preference.

Read more about this idea in a piece written by David Shaywitz, the moderator of the panel on which Abby King participated. A recording of the discussion will also be available. To sign up to receive notification of the recording’s availability, click here.   To learn more about mHealth Connect and the issues around wearables that are being tackled, click here.


Announcing Panel Discussion “Consumer Wearables: The Path to Clinical Application”

As the wearables market continues its remarkable growth, there is an increased awareness and interest to utilize this technology for clinical and research purposes. The ability to gather information from patients 24/7 on a long-term basis and to study and influence the behaviors and health of millions of individuals in real-time has the potential to radically transform medicine, health policy, and biomedical research. How close is this vision to becoming a reality? What are the barriers to this vision and what can be done to overcome them?

This panel features four individuals who are paving the way for the use of physical activity wearables and apps for clinical purposes. They will describe how they are leveraging consumer devices and apps for a diverse set of clinically related applications, ranging from orthopaedic diseases to autism to health promotion. In the follow-up discussion, they will describe the challenges they have encountered along the way and share their thoughts on what it will take to fulfill the vision of using consumer wearables for clinical and research applications.

When:  Thursday, March 17, 2016 from 9:45am – 11:00am Pacific Standard Time

Live Stream URL:


Leveraging Information Technologies and Citizen Science for Population-Wide Health Promotion
Abby King
Professor of Health Research and Policy (Epidemiology)and of Medicine (Stanford Prevention Research Center)
Stanford University 

Physical Performance Monitoring: Making Fitness Trackers Clinically Relevant
Matthew Smuck
Chief of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R)
Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
Stanford University

Sensing Movement and Activity through First Person Vision
Jim Rehg
Professor in the School of Interactive Computing
Georgia Institute of Technology

The Mobile Device as a Sensor for Worldwide Physical Activity and Health
Jure Leskovec
Assistant Professor of Computer Science
Stanford University

Panel Discussion:  Moderated by David Shaywitz, Chief Medical Officer, DNAnexus

Follow the event on Twitter:  #mHealthConnect.

This session is part of the mHealth Connect workshop, an event sponsored by the Mobilize Center and the Mobile Sensor Data-to-Knowledge Center, two of the National Institutes of Health’s Big Data to Knowledge Centers of Excellence.

Call for Applications: Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellows

Interested in performing cutting-edge research at the intersection of big data and medicine?  The Mobilize Center at Stanford University has openings for several Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellows. The Mobilize Center brings together leading data science and biomedical researchers to use innovative data science techniques, combined with state-of-the-art biomechanical modeling, to integrate and understand the diverse data sets available on human activity and movement–from wearable sensors and mobile phones to clinical data to data from research labs. To learn more or to apply, visit