Spring 2020 - IAT 882 G100

Special Topics II (3)

Interactive Health Technology

Class Number: 7911

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 5:00 PM – 7:50 PM
    SRYC 2995, Surrey



Class Meeting Day and Time:  Wednesday's from 5:00pm - 7:50pm
Course Description:

As technology becomes more integrated into daily lives, one area that is getting a lot of attention from industry is ‘experiential technology’, or Xtech: technology that directly influences the human experience. The Xtech industry market is exploding and has been evaluated to reach over $100B per year. This industry includes health, wellness, learning, training, sports and entertainment, creating massive new growth opportunities. In this field, the class will focus on neurotechnology, products that combine digital technology with advances in neuroscience to rehabilitate, change or improve the human brain. While digital therapies seek to help people recover from ailments, other forms of neurotechnology are looking to take human performance to the highest levels. Students are introduced to the theoretical concept of cutting-edge brain sciences implemented in the industry and innovation needs of today.

Some examples:



First, students will be introduced to the fundamentals of neuroscience alongside of some of the theoretical concepts of cutting edge brain sciences that are emerging and are being implemented in industry. Next, students will explore the notion of "innovation," particularly in the technological realms, with an emphasis on human experience, health and wellness. This exploration will involve hands-on experiments and projects with diverse forms of technology, and will focus on considerations that designers of these technologies need to take into account, from the biological/neurological to the affective, experiential and contextual issues. In doing so, students will gain insight into the changing innovation needs of today, and will be better prepared to contribute to contribute to this fast-growing area. 

Learning Activities: 
The class will include lectures, screenings, class discussions, course readings, a discussion board, writing assignments and neurotechnology project assignments.  

Course Topics: Neuroscience, Neuropsychology, Health, Affective Computing, Digital Media, Video Game Design, Wearable Computing and portable devices, Brain Training, Body Illusions, Virtual Reality and Innovation. The class will include lectures, screenings, class discussions, course readings, writing assignments and neurotechnology project assignments. Modest software design assignments, hands-on exercises and short quizzes will be conducted during class times throughout the semester.  

Course Timeline:
Class Mtg 1:

  • Lecture: Introduction to course and overview of Neurotechnology

Class Mtg 2:

  • Lecture: Neuroscience and human bodies
  • Class activity: Final team members + definition & selection of project + Executive Summary of project.

Class Mtg 3:

  • Lecture: Brain theories
  • Class activity:Business Model Canvas  

Class Mtg 4:

  • Lecture: The power of art therapies – the example of music therapies
  • Class activity: + Project 5 min. pitch of ES and Business Canvas

Class Mtg 5:

  • Lecture: Neuroimaging
  • Class activity: Calling three experts and incorporating their feedback

Class Mtg6:

  • Lecture: Mid-term exam
  • Class activity: Project overview after the feedback of experts

Class Mtg 7:

  • Lecture: Brain Computer Interface
  • Class activity: Design Thinking workshop

Class Mtg 8:

  • Lecture: User Design in Health
  • Class activity: Design document & prototyping

Class Mtg 9:

  • Lecture: Student project: development of the project
  • Class activity: Design document & prototyping

Class Mtg 10:

  • Lecture: Virtual Reality technologies
  • Class activity: Prototyping presentation

Class Mtg 11:

  • Lecture: Video game/AI solutions
  • Class activity: Presentation creation

Class Mtg 12:

  • Lecture: Presentation preparation
  • Class activity: Presentation creation

Class Mtg 13:

  • Lecture: Formal Presentation


  • Students are expected to attend all classes, to show up on time, and to participate in the in-class and online discussions and activities.
  • The online environment is an integral part of the course. Check email and the discussion board regularly (every one or two days).
  • All SFU and SIAT policies on academic honesty, plagiarism and related matters apply to this course. See < http://www.sfu.ca/policies/Students/index.html > for details on SFU Policy in this area.  Further information will also be provided in the CANVAS course pages.
  • All course procedures (including topics, assignments, due dates, and evaluations) and policies in this syllabus are subject to change. Any such changes will be noted in class and/or electronically.  Students are responsible for tracking and working within any such changes in procedures.


Upon completion of this course students will be able to:

  • Understanding the concept of neurotechnology and innovation
  • Identify and discuss the concept of experiential technology and the interface with the brain
  • Write critically about the history and evolution of neurotechnology
  • Analyze the design of neurotechnology prototypes and products, identifying the role of critical design variables such as brain processing, sensory processing, neural signals, learning process, user involvement in design, the specificity of each pathology and the needs of the patient, etc.
  • Analyze and critique the neurotechnology experience, relating it to the fundamentals of neuroscience and human behavior
  • Develop and critique a neurotechnology project
  • Identify and discuss critical cultural and social issues in the neurotechnology industry
  • Identify the roles of technology in supporting and extending the design and experience of neurotechnology products
  • Identify and discuss a variety of emergent new paradigm in neurotechnology.


  • Exam 25%
  • Project/Paper 50%
  • Assignments, Quizzes & Hands-on Experiments 25%


Students from diverse departments are encouraged to work together on a project in small groups OR may choose to develop an individual project. Examples of projects: a computational/neurotech prototype, a sensorially-engaging artefact such as an artwork or neurotech game, developing a strategy to capture neurotech gameplay data, conduct an experiment or set of experiments, design a well-articulated study (such as one meant to be "in the wild" – that is, outside of a university lab), or write a paper that relates to the issues examined in class.
Innovation is often driven by "thinking outside of the box" -- that is, by ideas and skills that don't necessarily fit into or emerge from existing disciplines. Similarily, this class includes students from varied disciplines, each of whom brings particular ideas, skills, ways of inventing things and building them. Because of that, and because repeated access to certain kinds of neurotechnologies can be challenging, the scope of the project or paper needs to be carefully considered. For example, a well-articulated prototype, the design of a study, or a series of small but provocative experiments are more viable than a fully developed and tested project.


Senior undergraduate students from any department are welcome -- the course is organized to take that into account.
Each student is expected to contribute skills and knowledge from their department, background or experience, including experience in industry, start-ups, or work in healthcare or biological sciences. Dr. Moreno has extensive multidisciplinary experience in the tech industry and developed this class to focus on innovation with a diversity of students in mind. Thus, you should be prepared for the uncertainty of questioning, inventing, testing and collaborating. Mantras in the tech industry or innovation and entrepreneurship contexts such as “Fail Fast, Fail Often,”  “Fail Better” or “Fail Forward" don't translate into a failing grade in this class, but they do emphasize that you may encounter more unknowns than usual. The way we organize this class and how we grade student projects takes that uncertainty into account.

If you have questions, please contact Dr. Sylvain Moreno, sylvainm@sfu.ca



A number of neuro- and biotechnologies for hands-on experiments, projects and experiences will be provided at SFU Surrey's School of Interactive Arts & Technology.

In addition, we will visit labs and facilities to see more robust health-related technologies at the nearby Surrey Memorial Hospital and Innovation Boulevard-related facilities.


Marie T., Banich, Rebecca, J., Compton (2018). Cognitive Neuroscience. 4th ed. Wadsworth. (textbook)
ISBN: 978-1316507902

Doidge, Norman (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science
ISBN: 978-0-670-03830-5

Alva Noë. (2010). Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness. ISBN: 978-0809016488

(Reference Reading) - R. W. Picard. (1995). Affective Computing.
M.I.T Media Laboratory Perceptual Computing Section Technical Report No. 321. (This is a historical document; recent articles will be available online.)

(Reference Reading) - Rosalind Picard. "Affective Computing: Challenges" in International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 59 (2003) 55–64.

(Reference Reading) - Picard, R.W., Klein, J., 2002. Computers that recognise and respond to user emotion: theoretical and practical implications. Interacting with Computers 14 (2), 141–169.

G. Gabrielle Starr. (2015). Feeling Beauty: The Neuroscience of Aesthetic Experience. Cambridge, MA: the MIT Press. (Introduction & chapters 1 & 2.) ISBN: 978-0262527446

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html