Steve Warren, PhD

Professor, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering
Kansas State University


Steve Warren received a B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Kansas State University (KSU) in 1989 and 1991, respectively, followed by a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin in 1994. Dr. Warren is a Professor in the KSU Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, and he serves as the Program Coordinator for the KSU Undergraduate Biomedical Engineering Degree Program. Prior to joining KSU in August 1999, Dr. Warren was a Principal Member of the Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM. He directs the KSU Medical Component Design Laboratory, a facility partially funded by the National Science Foundation that provides resources for the research and development of distributed medical monitoring technologies and learning tools that support biomedical contexts. His research focuses on (1) plug-and-play, point-of-care medical monitoring systems that utilize interoperability standards, (2) wearable sensors and signal processing techniques for the determination of human and animal physiological status, and (3) educational tools and techniques that maximize learning and student interest. Dr. Warren is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.


Bed-Based Systems to Track the Nighttime Wellness of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

The relationship between sleep quality and daytime well-being in neurotypical individuals has received significant attention, and a number of commercial wearable and bed-based products exist that can help to quantify sleep in residential environments. This nighttime versus daytime linkage is less well understood for individuals who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD), particularly for children with ASD who are severely disabled, low-functioning, and nonverbal. This session addresses a recent partnership between Kansas State University (KSU), Manhattan, KS, and Heartspring, Wichita, KS, funded by the National Science Foundation, to develop and test bed-based platforms that can gather nighttime physiological data from children with ASD who cannot tolerate existing commercial sleep assessment tools. Each bed system incorporates electromechanical sensing films under the mattress and load cells under the bedposts that provide movement data and ballistocardiograms, where the latter offer heart rate, respiration rate, and other cardiopulmonary parameters of interest. A thermal camera yields additional information regarding the nighttime activity of the child. These twelve channels of film and load cell data are acquired with a LabVIEW-based data acquisition system, which transfers these data over a secure link to a repository on the KSU campus. Initial tests with two children have resulted in six months worth of nighttime data, which are being correlated with daytime behavior data acquired by Heartspring staff. The goals of this early work are to identify correlations between nighttime and daytime wellness and to predict the well-being of each child during a given day based on data acquired during prior nights. These early efforts will be expanded to address a greater number of children and will assess additional parameters of interest that speak to the well-being of children with severe disabilities, for whom early assessments and interventions can have compounding benefit in terms of their functional development and the health of their extended caregiver network.

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