The feasibility of an automatic prompting system in assisting people with traumatic brain injury in cooking tasks

Jing Wang, Harshal P. Mahajan, Pamela E. Toto, Michael P. McCue, Dan Ding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) often experience difficulties in performing kitchen-related sequencing tasks due to cognitive deficits. The primary aim of this study is to examine the feasibility of a context-aware automatic prompting system in assisting individuals with TBI in multi-step cooking tasks. Method: Sixteen individuals with TBI participated in the study. A randomized cross-over design was used to compare the automatic prompting method with a conventional user-controlled method through a tablet device. Participant performance under each prompting method was assessed using the Performance Assessment of Self-Care Skills in terms of independence, safety, and adequacy. Subjective workload and qualitative feedback were also collected. Results: The automatic method, when compared with the user-controlled method, significantly decreased the amount of external assistance required by participants, received higher ratings in user perceived ease-of-use, and was considered less stressful for participants. However, the user-controlled method showed strengths in offering participants more flexibility in terms of controlling on the timing of prompts. Conclusions: The results provided insight into the potential benefits and user perceptions of a context-aware prompting system. The information could contribute to the future development of advanced prompting technology for people with cognitive impairments in completing sequential tasks.Implications for Rehabilitation For people with traumatic brain injury, the context-aware prompting method showed advantages in improving user performance, receiving better ratings on ease-of-use, and decreasing stress levels, compared to the user-controlled prompting method in completing multi-step cooking tasks. Future prompting systems for people with cognitive impairments may allow users to control the pace of prompting and use sensing information as back-up assistance in critical situations. In this way, the system may help users monitor their actions and offer confirmations, especially at steps with safety concerns, thus enhancing the sense of security and reducing the stress from self-monitoring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)817-825
Number of pages9
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 17 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Assistive technology for cognition
  • context-based prompts
  • multi-step tasks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation
  • Speech and Hearing


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