Demystifying the technology important for obtaining trust of HomeSense participants

Nigel Gilbert at NCRM Festival 2016

Six months into the HomeSense project, Professor Nigel Gilbert outlined the “interesting ethics issues” then needing to be answered before the required data collection could responsibly get underway in participants’ homes.

As described in his presentation, ‘The Ethics of Sensors’, for the 2016 NCRM Research Methods Festival at University of Bath, the ambition of HomeSense is to enable social researchers to use digital sensors alongside self-reported methods or observations. The project is also assessing the extent to which householders might accept sensors in their homes for research, and the final output will be a set of guidelines for use in such studies.

More refined or automated applications of digital sensors in social research could, it’s hoped, lead to more effective enabling of assisted living and tele-care services, or more efficient use of energy. But before there could be any rush to implement sensors in homes, some obvious, and less obvious, questions of ethics needed to be addressed. Continue reading “Demystifying the technology important for obtaining trust of HomeSense participants”

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NCRM Research Methods Festival 2018 to feature progress on Sensors in social research

The newly announced provisional programme of the eighth biennial Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Research Methods Festival 2018, to be held at Bath University July, will, for the first time, include sessions themed around the National Centre for Research Methods’ (NCRM) Methodological Innovation Strand.

Kicking off the first morning of the three day event (as one of eight scheduled parallel themed discussions) will be presentations and demonstrations of the HomeSense project — to be convened by University of Surrey’s Dr Kristrún Gunnarsdóttir and Professor Nigel Gilbert.

The Sensors in social research session on Tuesday 3 July, at 10:00 to 12:30 will report progress and findings of the HomeSense sensor-based study of social life and potentially sensitive settings.

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Recognising Activities at Home using sensors: a HomeSense fieldwork case study

HomeSense is a National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) supported Methodological Research Project that is focused on providing better understanding of the implications of using modern digital sensors in social research.  But before the implications can be fully understood methodological issues such as finding meaning in sensor data has to be refined, which was the focus of a paper presented by Dr Jie Jiang at The International Conference on Future Networks and Distributed Systems (ICFNDS’17) in Cambridge in July this year.

The paper discussed, as a case study, data analysis of one testbed home in the early stages of the fieldwork, and dealt with finding meaning in sensor generated data and proposed methods for comparing data generated by sensors with self-reported time-use data generated by participants.

Since one of the implications of using sensors for social research is that, in due course, activities could be recognised automatically, it also proposed a method for modelling a range of activities recorded by sensors.

While the same approach was being applied in an extended version of the study with data from more households added to the mix, publication of the paper in the Proceedings of ICFNDS’17 provided an opportunity for some of its authors – Jie Jiang, Riccardo Pozza, Kristrún Gunnarsdóttir – to sit down and discuss the approach being taken  by the HomeSense project.

That extension of the study to three households was also discussed by the team and is available here for download. Using Sensors to Study Home Activities (authors’ copy, freely available for fair use) is the latest HomeSense paper and has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Sensors and Actuator Networks.

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Dr Jie Jiang to share lessons learned from research strategy of the HomeSense project at UK/Japan Workshop on Acceptability and Value of IoT

 

CRESS Research Fellow in Computational Social Science Dr Jie Jiang
CRESS Research Fellow in Computational Social Science Dr Jie Jiang

On 7 & 8 September, CRESS Research Fellow in Computational Social Science Dr Jie Jiang will be attending a Joint UK/Japan Workshop on ‘Acceptability and Value of IoT in the Home’ at the British Embassy Tokyo, at which she’ll present a paper titled ‘Using IoT to study life at home’, sharing the lessons learned from designing, implementing and practising a sensor-based research strategy for the Homesense project.

Supported by funding from FCO, EPSRC and the PETRAS Internet of Things Research Hub, the workshop includes presentations intended to illuminate the challenges and provide insights into the acceptability and value of IoT in the context of ‘the home’.

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Jie Jiang presents ‘Recognising Activities at Home: Digital and Human Sensors’ paper at ICFNDS’17 

Jie Jiang

On Wednesday 19 July, CRESS Research Fellow in Computational Social Science, Dr Jie Jiang presented a paper on behalf of CRESS at the International Conference on Future Networks and Distributed Systems (ICFNDS’17), at Cambridge University – on comparing sensor-generated and human-generated data obtained during a fieldwork trial for the Homesense project.

The paper Recognising Activities at Home: Digital and Human Sensors proposes methods to evaluate agreement between the activities detected in sensor data with activities manually reported by the participant, using methods based on the ‘Levenshtein distance’.

Homesense is a pilot study developing methods for use of digital sensors in social research. The project is a collaboration between the Centre for Research in Social Simulation (CRESS) and the 5G Innovation Centre.

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INSIGHTS: bringing together sensor technology and social research workshop – Many thanks to everyone for their contributions and making the workshop a success

Homesense Workshop 20 and 21 June 2016

The INSIGHTS: bringing together sensor technology and social research workshop on 20 and 21 June 2016 brought together a small group of researchers, practitioners and visionaries to discuss the latest developments in the use of sensors for smarter homes, health and lifestyle, how to assess these inventions and how to adapt the use of sensors for social research and adjacent disciplines.

See information about workshop delegates, full proceedings to follow.

 

Continue reading “INSIGHTS: bringing together sensor technology and social research workshop – Many thanks to everyone for their contributions and making the workshop a success”

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