Technical and user-oriented methods for improving life-quality PAnalytics

The junior research group PAnalytics (derived from Personal Analytics) develops a personalised system for the living environment that allows users to record and evaluate the own health at home or in the living environment with holistic health-related monitoring. The target group are people of the age of 50 and over.

The speciality of the project is its holistic approach, which bundles competences from the disciplines computer science, electrical engineering, cognitive science and health science as well as philosophy.

There is already a large amount of people who lead a conscious, health-oriented life by evaluating their health and well-being elaborately: regular measurement and documentation of vital parameters and activities, for example, belong to the daily routines of chronically ill people and athletes. At the same time more and more people use smartphones and apps to build a network of gadgets like scales, blood pressure monitors or pedometers. Thus, over the last years, the self-monitoring (“Personal Analytics”) has benefitted from this development. “Personal Analytics” signifies the conscious collection of personal life data with the aim to change the own lifestyle.

A holistic approach

Although systems for self-monitoring already exist, a holistic approach which combines, evaluates and presents data from different instruments with other multimodal and, if appropriate, implicitly collected data from daily activities, is still missing. This also includes data from ambient sensors, speech, gesture, living environment, data from social networks, as well as user data provided by the users themselves.

Most systems leave it up to the user to interpret the visualized data. So far there is no system with a collection of expert knowledge that interprets the health related data und provides recommendations for health-promoting activities and behaviours. In the course of the project diverse health-scientific questions are to answer:

Which deviations are actually health-relevant?

In which form do lifestyle and health/illness relate?

And are statements of this kind inferable from the amount of collected data at all?

A special challenge is to present the diverse and different information in a user-friendly manner - especially with regard to the background that more and more people use smartphones or tablets with small screens as human-computer-interface and thus there is less room for visualization available. The question of the best-possible presentation is especially important for recommendations that aim to improve the life quality. After all, the presentation shall convince users to follow the advices. To tackle this questions of persuasive (i.e. convincing) methods and their potential influence on the target group of people of the age of 50 and over are part of the project.

The influence of technology as well as the collection, evaluation and saving of data arise questions about data security and the protection of privacy. In most cases the responsibility of the data lies with the users themselves: If they use online platforms or web-based applications, rights for data can be demanded in a declaration of consent. Because the data in the project is sensitive in a large extent, ethical questions of self-determination have to be clarified.

The junior research group PAnalytics follows methodical-technical and user-related goals with an interdisciplinary connection to scientifically investigate the autonomous health-monitoring in different dimensions.

By means of personalised prevention, respectively early diagnosis, a long life in the own domestic environment can be enabled - even with advancing age, decreasing health and reconvalescence.

Further information about the involved departments:

Department of Computer Science and Applied Cognitive Science - Interactive Systems

Department of Electrical and Information Technology - Electronic Construction Elements and Circuits

Institute of Medical Informatics, Biometrics and Epidemiology - Centre of Urban Epidemiology

Institute of Philosophy - Philosophical Anthropology and Ethics