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Novel smart home interfaces for older adults to self-monitor their health and wellbeing

Topic Description

In the UK, older patients are often unable to be discharged from hospital and return to their home even though they no longer need clinical care as they still need some level of minimal monitoring and assistance to live at home.

The STRETCH project aims to address this problem by integrating the human circles of support (including people such as hospital clinicians, GPs, community healthcare workers, formal community support, informal support such as neighbours, and adult children).

This PhD will focus on the development of novel interfaces in the home that will allow older adults to monitor a range of data sources including sensors in the home, self-reported data and data inputted from their circle of support. The designed interfaces may also act as a communication tool between the older adult and their circle of support.

Potential avenues of exploration include:

  • The development of tangible interfaces
  • The use of wearables and other Internet of Things technologies
  • Visualisation
  • Focussing on the communication aspect
  • Interfaces to help capture aspects of mental health and wellbeing
  • Participants understand the flow of data and the privacy implications

Other interesting suggestions are welcome.

You will benefit from being part of the STRETCH project (https://www.stretchproject.org/). The successful candidate will work in a multi-disciplinary team with colleagues from social psychology, software engineering, the health sector (including local hospitals) and Age UK. The STRETCH project is well placed to support the candidate in the funding of conference travel, equipment purchases, and other research costs as well as having staff dedicated to the development of prototypes.

Skills Required:

Candidates will benefit from having some experience and skill in UX/UI development, programming and having an interest in the domain.

Having experience of undertaking qualitative research and analysis would be ideal.

It would be useful if candidates had experience of undertaking Participatory Design activities, had previously worked with older adults and had experience of working in multidisciplinary teams.

Background Reading:

Data monitoring for health:

Price, Blaine A.; Kelly, Ryan; Mehta, Vikram; McCormick; Ciaran; Ahmed, Hanad; Pearce, Oliver (2018). Feel My Pain: Design and Evaluation of Painpad, a Tangible Device for Supporting Inpatient Self-Logging of Pain. To be presented at CHI 2018. (Access from http://mcs.open.ac.uk/bp5/papers/2018-CHI/)

Katz, Dmitri; Price, Blaine A.; Holland, Simon; Dalton, Nicholas (2018). Data, Data Everywhere, and Still Too Hard to Link: Insights from User Interactions with Diabetes Apps. To be presented at CHI 2018. (Access from http://mcs.open.ac.uk/bp5/papers/2018-CHI/)

Socialising for Older Adults:

Caroline Bell, Cara Fausset, Sarah Farmer, Julie Nguyen, Linda Harley, and W. Bradley Fain. 2013. Examining social media use among older adults. In Proceedings of the 24th ACM Conference on Hypertext and Social Media (HT '13). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 158-163. DOI=http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2481492.2481509

Supporting mental health:

Naomi Yamashita, Hideaki Kuzuoka, Keiji Hirata, Takashi Kudo, Eiji Aramaki, and Kazuki Hattori. 2017. Changing Moods: How Manual Tracking by Family Caregivers Improves Caring and Family Communication. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '17). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 158-169. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3025453.3025843

Novel uses of haptic technology:

Daniel Gooch and Leon Watts. 2012. YourGloves, hothands and hotmits: devices to hold hands at a distance. In Proceedings of the 25th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology (UIST '12). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 157-166. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/2380116.2380138

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