Paper accepted in MobileHCI 2017

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Our paper, entitled “Designing a ubiquitous sensor-based platform to facilitate learning for young children in Thailand” has been accepted in MobileHCI conference 2017.

Abstract

Education plays an important role in helping developing nations reduce poverty and improving quality of life. Ubiquitous and mobile technologies could greatly enhance education in such regions by providing augmented access to learning. This paper presents a three-year iterative study where a ubiquitous sensor based learning platform was designed, developed and tested to support science learning among primary school students in underprivileged Northern Thailand. The platform is built upon the school’s existing mobile devices and was expanded to include sensor-based technology. Throughout the iterative design process, observations, interviews and group discussions were carried out with stakeholders. This lead to key reflections and design concepts such as the value of injecting anthropomorphic qualities into the learning device and providing personally and culturally relevant learning experiences through technology. Overall, the results outlined in this paper help contribute to knowledge regarding the design, development and implementation of ubiquitous sensor-based technology to support learning.

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Happy New Year 2017

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Welcome 2017, it is going to be great! To start with, I would like to share a video of a student project on game design (Unity3D). It is work of four students (two designers and two programmers). For a project of 15 credit module (12 weeks), it is pretty impressive! The same students are currently working on their final year project with me, and I can’t wait to see their final output!

I will also be having some research trips in the new year. In two weeks, I will be off to Parma, Italy for a research sandpit meeting, organised by Future Spatial Audio funded by EPSRC. There I will be talking about some of my work in virtual reality and health.

In Feb, I will be going to Northampton to discuss research collaboration with a psychiatric hospital, in the area of sensing technologies and virtual reality. Hopefully there will be more information to share in the new few months.

Wearable Tech in Brussels

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I will be attending an information day event in Brussels next week on wearable technologies. I am hoping to pitch a research idea on “Internet of Skin.” This is based on a project I have been working on over the past year, developing rehabilitation technology for people with swallowing disorder. The idea is to use epidermal sensors (EMG) to track swallowing, and use sensor data to drive a rehabilitation game.

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“Internet of Skin” for Personal Informatics

The Internet of things is set to transform healthcare, providing wearable technologies that help people to monitor and reflect on various aspects of their lives. We aim to develop and investigate a next generation of wearable devices and innovative software applications for health and well-being using ultra-thin, stretchable epidermal electronics – that is, electronics thin enough and flexible enough that they can be mounted on the skin and can sense physiological signals non-invasively. We call this “Internet of Skin.”

Existing devices use traditional rigid electronics and, even if well designed, are relatively bulky. Whilst this is acceptable for many applications, others require more subtle sensing devices. For example, dysphagia is a medical term describing a range of swallowing difficulties. Current dysphagia rehabilitation requires patients to wear a large, rigid electronic box on their throat that allows a therapist to collect data on swallowing habits. Given the bulky nature of these devices, they can only be worn for short periods of time in a hospital setting. We have developed a skin-based EMG sensor for tracking swallowing, and a biofeedback game driven by the sensor for dysphagia rehabilitation.

Therefore, we propose novel research and development work in the use of “Internet of Skin” in everyday situations (not controlled lab settings), for health and well-being applications.

This is a collaborative project with Yeo Research Group, VCU .

Paper accepted in Journal of Medical Internet Research ResProtoc

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Our paper titled “Defining the content of an online sexual health intervention: the MenSS website” has been accepted for publication in Journal of Medical Internet Research ResProtoc. This is a collaborative project with e-Health unity UCL looking into mobile-based intervention for sexual health behaviour change.

Earlier this year, our protocol paper for the pilot randomised controlled trial was accepted by the British Medical Journal. The trial is now underway, and hopefully we will have some results to share soon!

Research trip to Delft and Amsterdam

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I will be spending one week in the Netherlands in Feb 2015 visiting Delft University of Technology and University of Amsterdam. I am excited by the opportunity to talk to researchers and collaborators in the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering at Delft, and I will be giving a research seminar on “Engineering for Humanity” there.

Abstract. The seminar focuses on the topic “Engineering for humanity”, in which social and/or environmental sustainability is the core thrust of engineering research. As the challenges facing humanity are getting more complex, engineering is becoming increasingly multidisciplinary, involving experts from diverse fields such as health, biosciences, psychology, sociology, and (digital) arts. The “Intelligent Interactions” group at Kent aims to tackle exactly these types of engineering problems. In this seminar, a range of multidisciplinary research projects will be discussed, including sexual health technology intervention, swallowing monitoring, controlling the wheelchair with your tongue, imaging Newt’s belly for conservation, social networking with plants, and more. The central theme of these projects lies in solving problems faced by real people (as well as animals and plants) with robust engineering, often by blending the physical and virtual worlds.

Developing low-cost sensor device for children in Northern Thailand

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Pruet Pjorn (who prefers to be called “Spidy”) is my 2nd year PhD student in the School of Engineering and Digital Arts. He has an interesting idea, and I am pretty excited about it. In his native country Thailand, agriculture is a significant economic contributor. Hence, agricultural and environmental science education is very important. Yet, according to PISA 2012 which ranked the education of 65 countries, Thailand was ranked 48 in reading and science. Naturally, Spidy is not happy, and he wants to challenge the way science is taught. In the same year 2012, the Thai Ministry of Education distributed 800,000 tablet computers to school children. Spidy saw this as an opportunity, and he decided to work on a project to design and develop a low cost sensor device, which connects with those tablet computers.

His ultimate vision is to allow children to conduct simple science experiments using sensor devices to collect environmental data. The tablet will then visualise this data in engaging format for them.

The video shows a really early prototype:

 
 

He uses Raspberry Pi to capture and store readings from the light sensor, and displays this data on the web in animated format on a tablet. He is also currently experimenting with the new 3D printer to create nice and cute cases to house the sensors. Hopefully there will be more updates from Spidy in 2015!