The University of Massachusetts Amherst

P20 Pilot Project Grant to Develop Wearable Tech to Monitor Cancer-Related Fatigue

Date Funded: 
Aug 1, 2016
Funding Organization: 
UManage Center for Building the Science of Symptom Self-Management, funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research, and the Rays of Hope Center for Breast Cancer Research

College of Nursing assistant professor Rachel Walker is the Principal Investigator for one of the first two pilot projects selected by the UManage Center for Building the Science of Symptom Self-Management. Her project explores the use of a newly developed, wearable eye-tracking technology to monitor cancer-related fatigue and engages faculty and researchers from the College of Nursing, the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, the Department of Computer Engineering, the Center for Personalized Health Monitoring, and the College of Information and Computer Science. Additional funding support for this project has been provided by the Rays of Hope Center for Breast Cancer Research.


Cancer-related fatigue is one of the most common, distressing, and disabling symptoms reported by cancer survivors. This invisible symptom impacts over one-third of all cancer survivors post-treatment. Consequently, there is a need for objective measures for monitoring and self-management. The goal of the study is to explore whether saccadic eye movements can serve as an objective measure for Cancer-related fatigue that might aid in self-monitoring, and to investigate whether such eye movements can be accurately detected using newly developed, low-cost, wearable technologies such as computational eyeglasses.


Computational eyeglasses are an emerging form of wearable personalized health monitoring technology that involves eyeglass frames mounted with wireless eye tracking cameras, and computer hardware that can be programmed to both track and analyze changes in eye movement and provide real-time feedback to a computer or smartphone. The project will use a new wireless optical device called iShadow, which can be fabricated for less than $100, to detect errors in saccadic parameters potentially associated with subjective reports of fatigue in breast cancer survivors.


The long-term goal is to translate this technology to community and clinical settings for clients impacted by fatigue or related neuromuscular disorders, for the purposes of self-management.


Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number P20NR016599. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official view of the National Institutes of Health.