2024 ~ Present | Cognitive Empowerment Program (for the calendar year of 2024) Sustainability Next (BBISS)


The mission of the Workplace Ecology Lab (WELab) is to create sustainable and healthy human-centered environments. Our team conducts research on the interdependent relationship between human outcomes and the built environment in various settings, such as workplaces, university campuses, and homes. To achieve this, we employ a diverse array of mixed methods, encompassing data analytics, sensors, wearables, and image generation AI. This multidisciplinary approach allows us to comprehensively understand and improve the spaces where people live, work, and learn.

Issues Involved or Addressed

Our research on Cognitive-Aging-in-Place evaluates the efficacy of home interior designs in supporting the functional independence and cognitive health of aging individuals with cognitive decline. We focus on designing and modifying homes to meet their changing needs, using a mix of real-world and virtual experiments, wearables, eye tracking, and AI design analysis to enhance safety, ease of navigation, and cognitive stimulation for older adults. Another focus is the Thermal Comfort Prediction Model, aimed at optimizing indoor climates for occupants’ varying thermal preferences. It involves developing a predictive model using personal and environmental data, integrating individuals’ thermal sensations and comfort, skin and core body temperatures, thermal imaging, and ambient thermal conditions. This research can help develop HVAC systems that are energy efficient and responsive to individual needs, which is critical for older adults facing reduced thermal regulation with extreme weather conditions. Lastly, we are deeply invested in Indoor Environmental Quality and Human Outcomes, examining how indoor environments affect human health and performance. Our research in this area examines the thermal, visual, and acoustic conditions, as well as indoor air quality, to understand their impact on human well-being and performance and ultimately identify and promote design and operational strategies that improve IEQ.

Methods and Technologies

  • Real-world and VR/MR Environments
  • Wearables
  • Eye Tracking
  • Image Generation AI
  • Survey or real-time feedback mechanism
  • Thermal imaging
  • Environmental sensors (temperature, humidity, noise, light, indoor air quality, etc.)

Academic Majors of Interest

  • ComputingComputer Science
  • ComputingHuman-Computer Interaction
  • DesignArchitecture
  • DesignBuilding Construction
  • EngineeringAerospace Engineering
  • SciencesNeuroscience
  • SciencesPsychology
  • SciencesStatistics

Preferred Interests and Preparation

Completing a CITI IRB training for human subject research; Taking a research methods class

Meeting Schedule & Location

Meeting Day 

Team Advisors

Eunhwa Yang
  • College of Design

Partner(s) and Sponsor(s)

Cognitive Empowerment Program (for the calendar year of 2024) Sustainability Next (BBISS)

Related Sites