ActivityAware: Wearable System for Real-Time Physical Activity Monitoring among the Elderly

George Boateng, M.S., reports on new Amulet research in his Master’s thesis, available as a Dartmouth Computer Science Technical Report.

Abstract. Physical activity helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension and obesity. The ability to monitor a person’s daily activity level can inform self-management of physical activity and related interventions. For older adults with obesity, the importance of regular, physical activity is critical to reduce the risk of long-term disability. In this work, we present ActivityAware, an application on the Amulet wrist-worn device that monitors the daily activity levels (low, moderate and vigorous) of older adults in real-time. The app continuously collects acceleration data on the Amulet, classifies the current activity level, updates the day’s accumulated time spent at that activity level, displays the results on the screen and logs summary data for later analysis.

The app implements an activity-level detection model we developed using a Linear Support Vector Machine (SVM). We trained our model using data from a user study, where subjects performed common physical activities (sit, stand, lay down, walk and run). We obtained accuracies up to 99.2% and 98.5% with 10-fold cross validation and leave-one-subject-out (LOSO) cross-validation respectively. We ran a week-long field study to evaluate the utility, usability and battery life of the ActivityAware system where 5 older adults wore the Amulet as it monitored their activity level. The utility evaluation showed that the app was somewhat useful in achieving the daily physical activity goal. The usability feedback showed that the ActivityAware system has the potential to be used by people for monitoring their activity levels. Our energy-efficiency evaluation revealed a battery life of at least 1 week before needing to recharge. The results are promising, indicating that the app may be used for activity-level monitoring by individuals or researchers for epidemiological studies, and eventually for the development of interventions that could improve the health of older adults.

Advisors: David Kotz, Ryan Halter, John Batsis

Emily Greene wins NCWIT Collegiate Award Honorable Mention

Congratulations to Emily Greene, an undergraduate in the Amulet group, who received Honorable Mention for the NCWIT Collegiate Award from the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). Emily is spending this week at the NCWIT Summit on Women and IT in Tucson, Arizona.

Here is her video submission, which describes a cryptographically-supported mechanism for selective sharing of streams of mHealth data, such as those that would be produced by Amulet applications.

Amulet released at SenSys’16

Today at the ACM Conference on Embedded Networked Sensor Systems (SenSys 2016) the Amulet team presented a paper about the design and evaluation of the Amulet platform – and unveiled a video overview of the platform and its capabilities. Check out the specs below the photo.

Indeed, we are pleased to share the Amulet hardware and software, open-source on GitHub, under a generous license that allows free use by the research community. We encourage you to download the details, fabricate your own Amulet wearable, and let us know what you think!

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New grant to apply Amulet to study obesity in elderly people

Dr. John Batsis, DHMCThe Amulet team is collaborating with geriatrician Dr. John Batsis of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center to explore the use of the Amulet in developing intervension methods to help obese elderly people maintain function while they remain living at home.  This “grant … from the National Institute on Aging will allow Dr. John A. Batsis to focus on strategies for improving health care delivery and wellness in older adults with obesity by using video conferencing, personal monitoring devices and frequent coaching by healthcare providers.” [press release]

Check out the video interview with Dr. Batsis on WCAX television.

This research is supported by the National Institute On Aging of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number K23AG051681.

Amulet team retreat

Group photo

The Amulet research group fall 2016 (L to R): David Kotz, Ron Peterson, Emily Walters, Joe Skinner, Vivian Motti, Kelly Caine, Jacob Sorber, George Boateng, Josiah Hester, Gunnar Pope, Steven Hearndon, Varun Mishra, Byron Lowens, Kevin Storer, Sarah Lord, Taylor Hardin, Ryan Halter; missing Emily Greene and Emma Oberstein.

Amulet Redesigned

It’s been quite awhile since our last hardware update, so we thought it best to update you all on our newest Amulet Hardware! Below are pictures and specs for our most recent hardware revision, which features a Sharp LS013B7DH03 display, three capacitive touch sensors, and a custom 3D printed case that is made up of two different types of materials–a soft flexible plastic to cover the buttons, and a hard durable plastic to encase and protect the inner electronics.

 

 

Full List of Features

  • Processing:
    • Texas Instruments MSP430FR5989, 2 KB SRAM and 128 KB of FRAM
  • Sensing:
    • Analog Devices ADMP510 microphone
    • Everlight ALS-PT19 light sensor
    • Texas Instruments TMP20 temperature sensor
    • STMicroelectronics L3GD20H gyroscope
    • Analog Devices ADXL362 accelerometer
    • Lapis Semi ML8511 UVA/B sensor
  • Communication:
    • Nordic nRF51822 used as a modem for communicating with peripheral BLE devices (such as a heart-rate monitor)
  • User Interface:
    • Sharp LS013B7DH03 display with 128×128 resolution
    • Two buttons
    • Three capacitive touch sensors with low power MPR121 touch controller
    • Haptic buzzer, and two LEDs.
  • Storage:
    • The small secondary storage board holds a microSD card reader.
  • Misc:
    • The board also includes a battery charger (MCP73831)
    • 110mAh battery
  • Supported Applications:
    • EMA – Displays a question after a timer or manual trigger, gets the user’s input, and logs it to the SD card
    • Battery Meter – Lists the current charge left in the batter in terms of percentage
    • Blinky – Demonstrates how to blink an LED
    • Clock – A clock for the system
    • Fall Detection – Detects when the wearer falls down
    • Heart Rate Log – Records and displays the user’s heart rate
    • Pedometer – Counts the user’s steps
    • Sun Exposure – Measures a user’s sun/light exposure over time
    • Temperature – Measures temperature over time

Wearable Amulet design

A few weeks ago we assembled our first complete Amulet, ready for wearing!   Here are a few shots so you can get a look at the case – which is mounted on a off-the-shelf wristband we hacked to encase the battery.

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On one side, a button and a scrollwheel.

 

 

On the other side, two buttons.

On top, a low-energy display (like e-ink).

 

More pictures (inside the case!) below the break.

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Amulet presented at mHealth Summit

logo for the mHealth SummitPerhaps the largest annual event related to mHealth is the mHealth Summit, held near Washington DC.  Today, the summit kicked off with a Privacy & Security Symposium, including a presentation by David Kotz on Developing a Secure mHealth Platform for Wearables, in which he described the Amulet project.  The talk presented the Amulet approach to providing a wearable hub for body-area mHealth applications, and our latest hardware and software prototypes.  The talk generated a lot of interesting questions from the audience of about 60-70 people.

More news once we publish our new paper describing Amulet – hopefully within the next six months.