This past summer, PURM gave me the opportunity to work with the members of the PRECISE lab in the department of computer and information science. The goal of the project I was assigned was to create a platform that accesses real-time data (e.g. heart rate) from wearable activity monitors and transmit the data to OpenICE-lite, an architecture that enables the integration of medical devices. OpenICE-lite utilizes MQTT middleware, a messaging protocol that allows clients to send and receive to and from a server. Therefore, my project enables other users within OpenICE-lite to monitor and analyze data from wearable activity monitors worn by patients in every-day settings.
The wearable activity monitor I was tasked with was the Apple Watch. Because I have never programmed for Apple products before, this experience allowed me to learn Swift, the programming language for Apple. Accessing real-time data from the watch app also introduced me to many of Apple’s built-in frameworks, including HealthKit (to retrieve heart rate data) and CoreMotion (to retrieve accelerometer and gyroscope data). As the app requires tracking the user’s data, it taught me a lot about requesting user authorization and privacy measures in devices, which is a crucial aspect of many programs used in the real-world. Additionally, incorporating MQTT into the watch application allowed me to learn through trial and error as it is not a common task with direct steps to follow. This allowed me to experience what it is like to be a programmer in the real-world, where there are no set guidelines on how to complete a project.
Participating in this research project also helped me develop professional work values. By working amongst other faculty members in PRECISE lab, I was able to practice professional communication through presentations and discussions. Having my own project to work on also allowed me to practice my self-management and direct my own work. Overall, this experience was challenging but it helped me build necessary skills that I can apply in the future as a programmer.