Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Project Highlight: Studying Human Activities and the Environment

The College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Washington used the MyExperience tool to study the relationship between the built environment and human activities. They conducted a study using MyExperience, GPS, and a wearable sensing platform (the Intel MSP) to record the activities and locations of 53 subjects over one week. In particular, they explored:
  • what associations exist between different types of activities and different kinds of urban environments;
  • what characterizes the land use patterns where people spend long periods of time;
  • and do the properties of origins and destinations differ between short and long trips or trips made by different modes of transportation
In all, they gathered approximately 2,900 hours of data and ~2,900 surveys via the Experience Sampling Method (ESM) using MyExperience to provide self-report data about activities. MyExperience would prompt participants for a survey approximately every hour. These surveys asked questions about activity type, duration, purpose, and location.

GPS trace showing the path a person followed over several days annotated with self-report data from MyExperience. Stationary GPS points are shown in red, moving points are shown in green.

For more information on this research, see MobileSense - Sensing Modes of Transportation in Studies of the Built Environment by Jonathan Lester et al.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Project Highlight: Mobile Heart Health

Dr. Margaret Morris and Farzin Guilak at the Digital Health Group at Intel used the MyExperience tool to explore heart health, the physiological indicators of stress, and "active" mobile therapy (e.g., using the mobile phone to intervene during inferred times of patient stress).

From the article, "Mobile therapy—just-in-time coaching that is triggered by physiological indicators of stress—is the objective of Mobile Heart Health, an exploratory research project at Intel. The project aims to help people tune in to early signs of stress and modulate reactivity that could potentially damage their relationships and long-term health."

MyExperience Sensors
Morris used a variety of contextual MyExperience sensors to automatically assess stress level including location sensing, synchronization with calendaring applications, and a wearable ECG monitor (to track heart rate variability). The mobile therapy feedback "appear on the cell phone in response to cardiovascular signals (see Figure 1) or when the system detects contextual shifts associated with stress."

MyExperience User Interface

Morris also developed a variety of touchscreen feedback interfaces that allowed individuals to report their emotional states throughout the day. "The main mood scale was the 'Mood Map,', based on the circumplex model of emotion invites users to quickly indicate mood states according to valence and arousal (see Figure 3). These subjective reporting techniques were desirable as checks on sensors, and in their own right as brief windows for self-awareness.

To read more about this work, download the article directly here or browse the IEEE Pervasive Computing magazine that published it here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Project Highlight: UbiGreen

The UbiGreen Mobile Transportation display was recently presented at CHI2009 in Boston, MA and is built off of the MyExperience tool. The UbiGreen Transportation Display is a prototype mobile phone application that semi-automatically senses and feeds back information about transportation behavior using the background (wallpaper) of the mobile phone (see screenshots below). In this way, the transit information is always available in a fairly casual manner so the user can see it as they use the phone for everyday purposes such as making a phone call or sending a text message. The full research paper is available here and the talk slides are available here.

The MyExperience.xml that powered it all is available for download here. Note that this file is rather large and complex as it illustrates an advanced use of MyExperience, but still could be educational for some (e.g., how the download and set wall paper actions were used).

The UbiGreen Mobile Transportation display used a variety of MyExperience Sensors, including:
  • the GsmMotionSensor to sense user movement and automatically trigger a survey after this movement subsides (e.g., when the user transitions from being mobile to being stationary).
  • UbiGreen also used MyExperience to interface with a wearable sensor (the MspSensor) that could automatically detect when the user was walking, running, or bicycling.
  • the DesktopVisibleSensor to track how often the participant could see the wallpaper
  • the DeviceIdleSensor to determine when the device was not being used by the user so we could run certain computations therby not affecting the interactivity of the device
  • a host of sensors that tracked how the participants were using their phones
UbiGreen used multiple MyExperience Actions as well:
  • the HttpPostAction was used to post sensor and ESM self-report data back to a server
  • the DownloadAction was used to download appropriate wallpaper for the participant's phones
  • the SetWallPaperAction was used to change the wallpaper of the user's phone (e.g., to a different tree or polar bear design)--remember, this was the main way that UbiGreen interfaced with its users, simply by changing the user's wallpaper
  • the SendSmsAction was used to inform the research team when an emergency was occuring with a participant's device or wearable sensor (e.g., we would receive an SMS message if it appeared that our participant was not wearing their sensors that day)
  • the RestartDeviceAction was used to force restart the device if a critical, unrecoverable error occurred
  • the SurveyAction was used to contextually-prompt the user about trip information whenever vehicle travel was inferred but could not automatically be determined (e.g., we could not automatically disambiguate car from bus travel)
  • the NotificationAction was used to alert the user that they had a self-report ESM survey waiting
Please email myexperience-users@lists.sourceforge.net or add a comment to this post if you would like more information.