CSE 190/291: Human-Centered Computing for Health

HC4H Course Overview

HC4H an interdisciplinary course that brings together students from Engineering, Design, and Medicine, and exposes them to designing technology for health and healthcare.

The course is focused on studying how technology is currently used in healthcare and identify opportunities for novel technology to be developed for specific health and healthcare settings.

In the in-class part of the course, students will be engaging in lectures and dedicated discussion around human-centered computing methods to engineer novel solution for current healthcare problem.

Lecture and discussions will be catalyzed by in-person visits with experts in a variety of healthcare domains, and in-depth online discussions about the specific health or healthcare environemnt. Typically, we are able to engage emergency rooms physicians, surgeons, intensive care unit specialists, primary care clinicians, medical education experts, health measurement experts, bioethicists, and more.

The final part of the class will focus on a design group project that will capitalize on the visits and discussions with the the healthcare experts, and will aim to proposing specific technological solutions and present them to the healthcare stakeholders. Students will be exposed to specific Human-Centered Design methods in class, and will be expected to deliver a web-page describing their final solution,

Successful students in this class often follow up on their design projects with actual development of an HC4H project and its deployment within the healthcare setting in the following quarters


The advent of new mobile and ubiquitous computing technology (tablets, smartphones, tracking devices, depth cameras, wearable devices, augmented reality devices, etc) has created new opportunities to design novel solutions that bring innovation to health and healthcare. The health and healthcare domains, however, are extremely challenging to research and develop technology for. Numerous regulations exist for the protection of patients as well as health data which can impact how easily new technologies might be used. These rules, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), come from federal administrations, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as institutional bodies, such as human subject protection programs and Institutional Review Board (IRB).

Nevertheless, it is possible to thoughtfully design technologies that improve healthcare experiences and address real health problems. Human-Centered Computing has the potential for clear and important impact - enhancing the workflows of healthcare professionals and improving the health of all people.

In this class students will be exposed to the health domain at large through presentations, in-person visits and discussions with experts in emergency rooms, trauma rooms, operating rooms, radiology clinics, sleep clinics, outpatient medical offices, the Simulation Training Center (STC), the Professional Development Center (PDC), the Center for the Future of Surgery (CFS), the Exercise and Physical Activity Resource Center (EPARC), and more.

The HC4H class will first learn about health regulations and human protections, covering both the legal mandates and ethical implications of working in and around health. We then embark on healthcare virtual visits to experience first hand the front lines of modern health and healthcare. The class will conclude with the creation of design proposals that offer a specific solution to address a specific problem relevant to HC4H. Students are invited to apply cutting-edge interactive technologies that are currently being used (or could be used in the near future) to support their proposals. Example technologies include but are not limited to Azure Kinect, Google Glass, Livescribe Digital Pens, Fitbit, Withings, Apple Watch, Microsoft HoloLens, etc.

In groups, students will create and deliver a visual prototype where functionality of the proposed solution is demonstrated through mockups, videos, a website, and a final presentation. Based on both feasibility and refinement of proposal, students may be offered the opportunity to continue their work in a collaborative research project after the course concludes. Independent research credit can be provided in subsequent quarters as CSE 198 / CSE 199 (for undergraduate students) or CSE 293 / CSE 298 / CSE 299 (for graduate students).

Class Format

HC4H is a blended and interdisciplinary class that incorporates undergraduate and graduate students (both MS and PhD). The class is offered in the undergraduate curriculum as CSE 190 (4 units) and in the graduate curriculum as CSE 291 (4 units).

Given the diversity of potential students, HC4H has no strict prerequisites, but experience in Human-Centered Design is highly encouraged. If you are an undergraduate students, please take CSE 170/COGS 120 before this class. Alternatively, if you have other UX/Design experience, please specify that in your request.

Independently of the above mentioned requirements, we encourage students with a deep interest in research around technology, health, and healthcare to enroll. All students are expected to be experienced in their domain (upper-division standing undergraduates and all graduate students are eligible). Students should have some prior experience with health, healthcare, technology, and/or design, but expertise is not required.


HC4H strives to be a course welcoming to all. Students requesting accommodations due to a disability must provide a current Authorization for Accommodation (AFA) letter (paper or electronic) issued by the Office for Students with Disabilities. Students are required to discuss accommodation arrangements with instructors and OSD liaisons in the department in advance of any exams or assignments. All other concerns can be brought to the teaching team.

Health and Wellness

Throughout your time at UC San Diego, you may experience a range of issues that can negatively impact your learning. These may include physical illness, housing or food insecurity, strained relationships, loss of motivation, depression, anxiety, high levels of stress, alcohol and drug problems, feeling down, interpersonal or sexual violence, or grief.

These concerns or stressful events may lead to diminished academic performance and affect your ability to participate in day-to-day activities. If there are issues related to coursework that are a source of particular stress or challenge, please speak with Prof. Weibel, so that we are able to support you. UC San Diego provides a number of resources to all enrolled students, including:

We care about you at UC San Diego, and there is always help available.


Detailed information and course resources are available on the course page on Canvas for registered students