Jason  Tong

Jason Tong

Scholar Title

MIT EECS — Lincoln Labs Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar

Research Title

THink: Investigating Cognition with the Symbol-Digit Test




Randall Davis


The early detection of neurodegenerative diseases is critical to delaying their progression. THink aims to detect such diseases by examining performance on written tests. The Symbol-Digit Test is the latest of three cognitive tests developed by Prof. Randall Davis and focuses on subjects’ ability to translate symbols to digits given a symbol-digit mapping, directly copy digits, and recall the mapping. The tests are completed with the Anoto pen, a digitizing ballpoint pen that collects the pen’s coordinates and the pressure exerted at a temporal resolution on the order of milliseconds. In collaboration with Dr. Dana Penney of Lahey Clinic, we hope to produce a model from this wealth of data that can classify between healthy and unhealthy subjects, and even offer a preliminary diagnosis.


I am a 6-3 senior who loves dreaming of ways to augment human cognition by complementing our intelligence with machine learning. In THink, we do precisely this to further our understanding of human cognition. I have worked with the ClockSketch and MazeSketch tests, two other tests designed to enable early detection of neurodegenerative diseases, and I’m excited to approach this problem now with the Symbol-Digit test.

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