The HomeSense field trial

The research team trialled digital sensors (fixed and mobile) in a small number of UK households, correlating the measures they gave of location, movement, light and noise levels, particulates, temperature, humidity and device use.

Sensor box fitted onto the kitchen wall in volunteer household.

We managed the intensive measurements sensors can afford while examining specifically how this method – when applied in an intimate setting – affects respondents’ burden, their consent and privacy. In converting sensor-generated data into meaningful descriptions of socially relevant activities, we also considered other types of data: questionnaires and interviews, ethnographic notes and a 4-day diary of time-use we asked our participants to keep.

HomeSense field trial

Installations in households start again

Mid-January and we have a few more households lined up for participation.

Collecting sensors before Christmas

Collecting from the last households before Christmas vacation and we now have 13 good ones completed, but we need 20 to meet our target so we now take advantage of Royal Mail to distribute flyers around the Guildford area.

Last installations before Christmas

Mid-September and a few more installations still to do. Each installation runs for about 10-12 weeks.

Field trial begins

End of June and the very first households are up and running, and more scheduled for installation in the coming weeks.

Festival of Wonder

A Free Day Of Fun, Imagination and Discovery 13 May 2017, celebrated the 50 year anniversary of the University of Surrey. The event attracted thousands of people interested in show-and-tell science, from all across the south of England. The research team operated a full-day demonstration of HomeSense field trial technology, titled:…Read More

The EGG taking shapes…

End of April and the EGG now gone through a number of design iterations, the last one with added Bluetooth module.    

Time to recruit for the field trial

With a favourable ethical opinion from the University of Surrey Ethics Committee, recruitment has started with flyers going up around campus, in town, in community centres and online bulletin boards. Not much response so far.

Revising the ethics review application

The ethics review application is back with questions for us to address. Key issues turn on ensuring an adequately informed consent (and assent) from all types of participants including those who participate indirectly (e.g. children, guests and domestic labourers). Apparently, we didn’t produce an adequate risk-assessment either.

Second test house

  A full trial run in a two-person household (couple), knowing that we are still testing for anomalies and unforeseen issues throughout the whole process. For instance, we couldn’t foresee that an EGG ends up on top of an empty box for eggs for support because the wall-mount fails.

Things that go wrong

It’s a long list, the incident list. Routers don’t work, sensors don’t stay put, get knocked down, are badly placed and don’t capture what they are supposed to capture. The consent forms are inadequate, interviews could get a bit awkward, and are we prepared for children, shared households, chaotic lifestyles,…Read More

First test house

Time to take the sensor-suite out of the controlled environment and see how the devices do when they are installed in a house of a generous friend willing to help us out. With a data server and database environment up and running, data transmission tested and encrypted, a design of…Read More

Still adapting and testing

  By June we were still building, adapting and testing the EGG and how to utilise activity sensors, but the next task is to see if we can adapt the electricity monitoring kit, used by our colleagues working on the WholeSEM project.

Adaptation and testing

A good part of May was spent testing a variety of activity wristbands, comparing their measurements on our own arms, and by asking colleagues to wear them over a number of days.     Agreement between measures of the medically-graded Actiwatch (blue) and the ~£20 MiBand (green).

Building and adapting devices

  Building and adapting devices started already in Feb 2016. The first task was to get onboard with the development of the WiFi-enabled ICS Desk Egg, to gradually adapt the design to our field trial and thoroughly test the built-in sensors capturing range, particulates, sound, vibration, temperature & humidity, light &…Read More

See also the HomeSense field trial news category

Researchers working on the field trial:
Dr Kristrún Gunnarsdóttir – CRESS Research Fellow
Dr Jie Jiang – CRESS Research Fellow
Dr Riccardo Pozza – ICS / 5GIC Research Fellow