Jennifer Pignolet, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee
The University of Memphis landed a $13.8 million research contract, the largest award in the school’s history.
Memphis will lead a team of six universities studying wearable sensors, the kind found in fitness devices, and their uses for measuring work performance and job productivity.
The team “will develop and test a system of mobile sensors and software, called mPerf, that can be used to objectively assess everyday job performance,” a release from the university said.
University of Memphis is the headquarters for The Center of Excellence for Mobile Sensor Data-to-Knowledge, or MD2K.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence awarded the federal dollars.
Directing the project will be University of Memphis Professor Santosh Kumar, who holds the Moss Chair of Excellence in Computer Science.
“This is an entirely new direction for our research,” Kumar said.
The technology aims to measure the productivity of a person in a “knowledge-rich” job, whether they are active or sitting at a desk all day. The censors could measure stress levels, the amount of time spent in one place, the quality of interpersonal interactions and the body chemistry that comes with the satisfaction of completing a task.
“Our philosophy has always been to empower the individual,” he said.
The work began at the end of June and will continue for 41 months under the contract, which is different from a grant because it is a negotiated amount of money for specific objectives.