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Tagged / technology

Can technology help to address the shocking health statistics of our homeless population?

Bournemouth University is investigating potential technological solutions to assist those sleeping rough to access healthcare services and self-manage complex healthcare needs

Homelessness in the UK is on the increase (Open Government 2018). Health outcomes for those that are homeless are far poorer than of the general population with an mean age of death of 45 years (men) and 43 years (women) compared to 76 ( men) and 81 years (women) for those living in homes (Office for National Statistics 2019). The South West region had the third highest number of rough sleepers in 2018 (Homeless link 2017) and this project will take place in Bournemouth and the surrounding area.

Using technology to access healthcare is nothing new; accessing virtual consultations with your GP or using one of the wide range of apps to access information and advice on is increasingly common, particularly during the current pandemic. However, this does require access to appropriate technology and internet along with the knowledge of how to use it.

Although there is a growing use of technologies amongst homeless people (McInnes et al 2015) to connect with their peers, there is no current research exploring the role of technology in assisting people who sleep rough in locating and accessing appropriate local services.

In partnership with colleagues from the Providence surgery, Dorset Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, the Big Issue and Streetwise; Staff at Bournemouth University are conducting a research project with the aim of developing a freely available app enabling navigation and access to resources to self-manage complex health and social care needs.

The Research Team

Dr Vanessa Heaslip
Vanessa is an Associate Professor in the Department of Nursing Science at Bournemouth University and is the Principle Investigator for this project. Her research interests are in the field of vulnerability and vulnerable groups in society whose voices are not traditionally heard in the academic and professional discourse.

Dr Sue Green
A Registered Nurse with experience in acute and continuing care environments, Sue has been at the forefront of the development of clinical academic careers for nurses. Sue’s research programme focuses on aspects of clinical nutrition. She has a long standing interest in the process of nutritional screening and its effect on care.

Dr Huseyin Dogan
A Principal Lecturer in Computing at Bournemouth University (BU). Dr Dogan’s research focuses on Human Factors, Assistive Technology, Digital Health and Systems Engineering. He is the Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Human Computer Interaction (HCI) research group.

Dr Bibha Simkhada
Bibha works at Huddersfield University in the School of Health and Human Sciences. Her research interest includes Technology in Healthcare, Ageing research mainly in Dementia, Health and Wellbeing of BAME population and women’s health. She has methodological expertise on narrative and systematic review and qualitative research.

Stephen Richer
Stephen is a part time PhD student and working part time as the project research assistant. His background is in Mental Health Nursing and he has worked in numerous roles within the NHS and for various mental health charities.

Rachel Bailey
Rachel is a Research Administrator at Bournemouth University. She also works as a Youth Advisor for a local charity and previously worked in FE delivering Careers Advice.

As the research project progresses, this blog will be updated on our methods, progress and results.

We are keen to hear from any local organisations working with the homeless that could assist with research. Please contact Stephen Richer sricher@bournemouth.ac.uk

 

 

 

BU Academic Targeted Research Scheme: Only a few heartbeats away: Biofeedback in your pocket

My name is Lars Marstaller and I joined BU as Senior Lecturer for “Technology for Behaviour Change” on the Academic Targeted Research Scheme in July 2020. The aim of my project is to develop a smartphone biofeedback app.

What is biofeedback?

Biofeedback refers to technology that makes biological signals perceptually available that are otherwise hard or even impossible to perceive. Examples of such biological signals are heartbeats or brain waves. By making these biological signals available, the technology creates a feedback loop to the nervous system. The simplest model of such a feedback loop is the thermostat. The thermostat receives feedback by measuring the temperature in a room and then adjusts the heating up or down. This loop is then repeated until a pre-specified goal state is achieved and the room is nice and cozy. A similar loop is created through biofeedback. The important difference, however, is that biofeedback makes the user aware of the feedback signal. This way, the user can consciously try to modulate the signal towards an intentional goal state.

In my research project, I focus on feedback from heartbeats. The smartphone biofeedback app will allow users to listen to their heartbeats on their own or as part of a mindfulness exercise. In addition, the app will allow users to engage in biofeedback training. In this training, users learn to regulate their breathing to maximise their heart rate variability, i.e., to repeatedly speed up and slow down their heartbeats. By manipulating their heart rate variability, users thereby activate cardiovascular homeostatic reflexes in the autonomic nervous system associated with rest and recovery.

 

Why a smartphone biofeedback app?

Empirical evidence increasingly suggests that biofeedback has positive effects on a number of psychological conditions, such as anxiety, stress and depression. However, in order to use biofeedback, one needs to spend money on a device. Even though biofeedback devices are becoming increasingly affordable and biofeedback technology is getting integrated into more and more devices, such as smartwatches, the cost of a biofeedback device is likely to affect the adoption of the technology by less affluent parts of the population and in developing countries.

Yet, large parts of the population already possess a computing device with multiple sensors and cameras, i.e. a smartphone. In the UK, around 80 percent of the general population own a smartphone. This means that if my project succeeds, a large part of the population will for the first time have access to sophisticated biofeedback technology by downloading an app from an app store onto their phone.

Artificial intelligence for biofeedback

In order to leverage the technological capabilities of smartphones for biofeedback, I am using state-of-the-art machine learning technology. The problem is how to detect heartbeats in noisy sensor data. My solution is to use convolutional neural networks, a technology that is used in many applications to recognize faces, license number plates, or species of mushroom. This approach requires large amounts of data for training of the neural network.

In the first phase, I am working on creating a dataset for machine learning. The next steps include neural network design and training as well as experimental validation, where my heartbeat detection technology will be compared against the gold standard of electrocardiography. Finally, I will focus on developing the biofeedback app and measuring its efficacy to reduce stress.

If you’re interested in my work and would like to know more or collaborate on large-scale heart rate data projects, please get in touch.

new paper published  Volchek, K., Liu, A., Song, H., & Buhalis, D. (2018) Forecasting tourist arrivals at attractions: Search engine empowered methodologies. 

new paper published  Volchek, K., Liu, A., Song, H., & Buhalis, D. (2018) Forecasting tourist arrivals at attractions: Search engine empowered methodologies. Tourism Economics. https://doi.org/10.1177/1354816618811558

Abstract

Tourist decision to visit attractions is a complex process influenced by multiple factors of individual context. This study investigates how the accuracy of tourism demand forecasting can be improved at the micro level. The number of visits to five London museums is forecast and the predictive powers of Naïve I, seasonal Naïve, seasonal autoregressive moving average, seasonal autoregressive moving average with explanatory variables, SARMAX-mixed frequency data sampling and artificial neural network models are compared. The empirical findings extend understanding of different types of data and forecasting algorithms to the level of specific attractions. Introducing the Google Trends index on pure time-series models enhances the forecasts of the volume of arrivals to attractions. However, none of the applied models outperforms the others in all situations. Different models’ forecasting accuracy varies for short- and long-term demand predictions. The application of higher frequency search query data allows for the generation of weekly predictions, which are essential for attraction- and destination-level planning.

Keywords: artificial intelligence, attractions, forecasting, Google Trends, search engine, tourist demand

The next six months within education, science, tech, digital and the environment

Dods (political monitoring consultants) have produced a series of short policy lookahead guides contemplating what is coming up politically in the following spheres over the next few months:
Science Tech and Digital
The Education Sector
Environment and Rural Affairs
The viewing permissions on these guides have been set to BU staff and students, please don’t download and share more widely.

Digital addiction: how technology keeps us hooked

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There are a number of reasons why you can’t get away from your screen. shutterstock

By Dr Raian Ali, Bournemouth University; Dr Emily Arden-Close, Bournemouth University, and Dr John McAlaney, Bournemouth University

The World Health Organisation is to include “gaming disorder”, the inability to stop gaming, into the International Classification of Diseases. By doing so, the WHO is recognising the serious and growing problem of digital addiction. The problem has also been acknowledged by Google, which recently announced that it will begin focusing on “Digital Well-being”.

Although there is a growing recognition of the problem, users are still not aware of exactly how digital technology is designed to facilitate addiction. We’re part of a research team that focuses on digital addiction and here are some of the techniques and mechanisms that digital media use to keep you hooked.

Compulsive checking

Digital technologies, such as social networks, online shopping, and games, use a set of persuasive and motivational techniques to keep users returning. These include “scarcity” (a snap or status is only temporarily available, encouraging you to get online quickly); “social proof” (20,000 users retweeted an article so you should go online and read it); “personalisation” (your news feed is designed to filter and display news based on your interest); and “reciprocity” (invite more friends to get extra points, and once your friends are part of the network it becomes much more difficult for you or them to leave).

Some digital platforms use features normally associated with slot machines. Antoine Taveneaux/Wikimedia, CC BY

Technology is designed to utilise the basic human need to feel a sense of belonging and connection with others. So, a fear of missing out, commonly known as FoMO, is at the heart of many features of social media design.

Groups and forums in social media promote active participation. Notifications and “presence features” keep people notified of each others’ availability and activities in real-time so that some start to become compulsive checkers. This includes “two ticks” on instant messaging tools, such as Whatsapp. Users can see whether their message has been delivered and read. This creates pressure on each person to respond quickly to the other.

The concepts of reward and infotainment, material which is both entertaining and informative, are also crucial for “addictive” designs. In social networks, it is said that “no news is not good news”. So, their design strives always to provide content and prevent disappointment. The seconds of anticipation for the “pull to refresh” mechanism on smartphone apps, such as Twitter, is similar to pulling the lever of a slot machine and waiting for the win.

Most of the features mentioned above have roots in our non-tech world. Social networking sites have not created any new or fundamentally different styles of interaction between humans. Instead they have vastly amplified the speed and ease with which these interactions can occur, taking them to a higher speed, and scale.

Addiction and awareness

People using digital media do exhibit symptoms of behavioural addiction. These include salience, conflict, and mood modification when they check their online profiles regularly. Often people feel the need to engage with digital devices even if it is inappropriate or dangerous for them to do so. If disconnected or unable to interact as desired, they become preoccupied with missing opportunities to engage with their online social networks.

According to the UK’s communications regulator Ofcom, 15m UK internet users (around 34% of all internet users) have tried a “digital detox”. After being offline, 33% of participants reported feeling an increase in productivity, 27% felt a sense of liberation, and 25% enjoyed life more. But the report also highlighted that 16% of participants experienced the fear of missing out, 15% felt lost and 14% “cut-off”. These figures suggest that people want to spend less time online, but they may need help to do so.

Gaming disorder is to be recognised by the WHO.

At the moment, tools that enable people to be in control of their online experience, presence and online interaction remain very primitive. There seem to be unwritten expectations for users to adhere to social norms of cyberspace once they accept participation.

But unlike other mediums for addiction, such as alcohol, technology can play a role in making its usage more informed and conscious. It is possible to detect whether someone is using a phone or social network in an anxious, uncontrolled manner. Similar to online gambling, users should have available help if they wish. This could be a self-exclusion and lock-out scheme. Users can allow software to alert them when their usage pattern indicates risk.

The borderline between software which is legitimately immersive and software which can be seen as “exploitation-ware” remains an open question. Transparency of digital persuasion design and education about critical digital literacy could be potential solutions.


Raian Ali, Associate Professor in Computing and Informatics, Bournemouth University; Emily Arden-Close, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Bournemouth University, and John McAlaney, Principal Academic in Psychology, Bournemouth University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Political and Policy – News & Publications

Health

Macmillian has published the specialist cancer adult nursing and support workforce census 2017.

The Education Policy Institute has published research on vulnerable children and social care in England.

On Tuesday there is a Westminster Hall debate on safeguarding children and young people in sport, and a Health and Social Care Select Committee examining childhood obesity.

Meindert Boysen has been appointed as Director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation.

On Friday Jeremy Hunt launched a review into the impact of technological advances on the NHS workforce.

On Wednesday there will be an adjournment debate on Mental Health Services

Other topics

Clive Efford has joined the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee as a member. On Wednesday this committee will meet to consider Fake News.

David Clark, Kenny Dey and Nick Terrell have been appointed as members of the Oil & Gas UK Trade Association.

On Tuesday the Education Select Committee will examine Alternative Provision.

On Tuesday the Home Affairs Committee will meet to discuss Policing for the future.

On Wednesday there will be a Westminster Hall debate on reducing plastic waste in the maritime environment.

APPGs

There is a new register of All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG). Check the list to see which fit with your research interests (scroll down past the country groups to the subject groups).

This week the following APPGs will meet: Social Work (on Tuesday), Industrial Heritage (Tuesday), Archaeology (Tuesday), Carers (Wednesday).

 

Catch up on last week’s policy news here, or email policy@bournemouth.ac.uk to subscribe.

 

Third Edition of the EU Falls Festival in Amsterdam (8-9 May 2017)


Natalia Adamczewska and Yolanda Barrado-Martín represented the Psychology Department and Ageing & Dementia Research Centre (ADRC) at the Third Edition of the EU Falls Festival in Amsterdam on 8th and 9th May 2017. The theme of the congress was: Developing Collaborations across Professions and throughout Europe.

This festival brought together over 200 professionals from multiple disciplines (such as Nursing, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Medicine, Psychology and Technology) working under a common target: The prevention of falls amongst older adults. It was a great opportunity to see how different countries in Europe, but also researchers in America, represented by Dr. Robin Lee, US Lead Home and Recreation Team; and Australia, represented by Kim Delbaere, Falls Balance and Injury Centre, NeuRa; are working under this objective, the resources different countries invest on this and the different approaches used from different disciplines. A variety of interventions were presented from educational to exercise, and a debate was organised regarding the relevance of the role of technologies to prevent falls and support research.

Falls are the first external cause of death amongst older adults which explains the importance of researchers, practitioners and policy makers working together.​ Members of the World Health Organisation and the European Commission were also attending this meeting and sharing their views on the relevance of falls prevention.

Yolanda’s PhD project looks into the acceptability and adherence of participants living with dementia to a Tai Chi exercise intervention. Adherence to falls interventions was one the main concerns of the congress, however, the experiences of those living with dementia remain mostly under-explored.

Natalia focuses on the psychological adjustment to falls in her PhD project and she looks at fall-related PTSD. Various interventions presented at the festival could possibly be applied in order to enable participants to cope with psychological consequences of falling, such as virtual reality treatment presented by Jeff Hausdorff that he originally developed for fall prevention in idiopathic fallers.

Digital Agenda Impact Awards

award

The Digital Agenda Impact Awards, celebrating innovations that make a positive impact on the way the UK lives, learns and does business, are open for entries. The awards, sponsored by Nominet Trust, take place at London’s Barbican Centre on Thursday March 2, 2017.

The Impact Awards are open to any business, government or non-profit using digital products or services to make the world a better place. The awards are free to enter and open until January 20 2017.

There are 12 award categories under three broad headings – people, places and business.

People

  • Education
  • Employment and skills
  • Health
  • Money

Places

  • Cities
  • Climate
  • Food
  • Smart

Business

  • Business transformation
  • Sharing and partnership
  • Social and economic transformation

Click here for more information and to apply.

 

 

ESRC seminar: Microenterprise, Technology and Big Data – Southampton

events

Event: Microenterprise, technology and big data: new forms of digital enterprise and work and ways to research them

Dates: Monday 10 and Tuesday 11 October 2016

Location: Grand Harbour Hotel – West Quay Road, Southampton, SO15 1AG – View Map

Please click here to register to attend this FREE event.

About:

This seminar will focus on how technology has transformed microenterprise and work and is likely to shape these in the future. The first key aim is to contribute to understanding of digital microenterprise and work in a global perspective. Combining both Global North and Global South perspectives, this seminar seeks to show how new technology including social media and mobile phones are shaping enterprise and work practices. The potentials and risks involved in advanced technologies for how work is performed and experienced and microenterprises set up and organized will be critically interrogated. The second key aim is to explore new data and methods to reveal and understand digital work and microenterprise which are often ‘hidden’ in workers’ and entrepreneurs’ homes and therefore require novel research approaches. New (big) data sources and emerging research infrastructures will be presented and their application for studying enterprise and work practices discussed.

For more information and to register click here.

The Sensors and Their Applications 2016 conference

events

The Sensors and Their Applications XVIII (2016) conference will be held on 12th-14th September in London. The Sensors & Applications series of conferences provides an excellent opportunity to bring together scientists and engineers from academia, research institutes and industrial establishments to present and discuss the latest results in the field of sensors, instrumentation and measurement.

ensors and Their Applications XVIII (2016) conference wiill be held on 12th -14th September in London.  The conference is orgnasied by the Institute of Physics Instrument Science and Technology Group. In this year, the Sensors and their Applications conference will also feature an industry session to enable the conference partcipants to showcase the industry and technology transfer activities in sensor related areas.

Invited speakers will give lectures on important recent advances within the symposium, in addition to contributed talks and poster sessions.

Conference Themes

• Optical sensors
• Chemical and gas sensors
• Sensors in biology and medicine
• Advances in sensing materials
• Nanotechnology for sensors and actuators
• Smart sensors and interface electronics
• MEMS and silicon fabrication techniques
• Imaging: integrated actuators
• Thick and thin film sensors
• Sensor modelling
• Sensor packaging and assemblies

For further details on the conference and to register, please go to the event website.

An annual event to celebrate women in STEM

events

The WISE Awards is an annual event, a special opportunity to recognise inspiring organisations and individuals actively addressing the core concerns of WISE: promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics to girls and women.

For the past few years we have been delighted that the WISE Awards were presented by Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal.

The daytime conference includes presentations, panel discussions and workshops is the perfect event to compliment the WISE Awards ceremony held the same evening.

Click here for more information.

Sensor-integrated urometer for measuring real-time urine output (HEIF funded project)

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The project team from the Faculty of Science & Technology has received Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF) to undertake a series of activities aimed at encouraging university and the public sector to harness the benefits of advanced assistive technologies. (The HEIF  project started last year and is due to finish at the end of July.)

The nature of HEIF funding encourages knowledge exchange and support to develop a broad range of knowledge based interactions between universities and colleges and the wider word, which result in economic and social benefit to the UK.  In current clinical practices, urinary output measurement and supervision are prevailing medical intervention treatments for patients suffering from critical illness, aging bladder, post-surgery urination difficulties and long-term bedridden. However, the urinary output is still measured and monitored manually by healthcare staff, which is extremely time-consuming and prone to undesirable human errors commonly, arose in these repetitive and monotonous tasks. The project aims to invent an automatic device for remotely monitoring of urinary output, which features real-time remotely wireless catheter fall-off and flow rate monitoring, urinary output minute-by-minute monitoring and real-time states visualization.

The project team is made up of a number of researchers and students from multidisciplinary domains in addition to academics. The team (Prof Hongnian Yu, Mr Arif Reza Anwary; Mr Daniel Craven, Mr Muhammad Akbar, and Mr Pengcheng Liu) has recently presented their three developed prototypes at the collaborator’s site (Royal Bournemouth Hospital). The feedback and comments from the hospital staff are very positive. Dr Simon McLaughlin, the project collaborator from the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, said ‘The project looks to have progressed well. The work is excellent and the one of the prototypes is almost ready to deploy.’

The team  hope to continue to consolidate the current developed prototypes and build on top of them to invent the commercially acceptable products.