The project, called Buddy Computer Coordinated Healthcare System (or, Buddy for short), supports quality of life and aging-in-place initiatives. Buddy takes advantage of information and communication technology in linking caregivers to a virtual support network of family and friends. PocketPCs are used by caregivers to obtain information about healthcare, be reminded of daily events and activities, and to record family information in a journal. Family, friends and healthcare personnel stay connected through the Web by a "buddy blog" that provides controlled access to information gathered by the PocketPC.
Related to this award, Becker and Dr. Frank Webbe, Florida Tech professor of psychology, received $200,000 from the Alzheimer's Association (in partnership with Intel Corporation and Agilent Technologies) to use ICT for caregivers to stay socially active through virtual connections with support networks of other caregivers, family and friends. The PocketPC would be used for text messaging, e-mail and for playing virtual games with other caregivers and family members. Family, friends and other caregivers have an opportunity to stay virtually connected through a Web interface. In both projects, ICT could bridge the time and space barriers, which often separate loved ones. The pair, with the help of student researchers, will combine their expertise in psychology and information systems/computer science in the project's development.