Summary

The rise of Wearable Technology has brought with it new approaches, more efficient processes, and innovative products in entertainment, manufacturing, transport, and many other areas. No other field, however, has higher expectations than healthcare (Amft, 2018). With applications ranging from lifestyle monitoring and disease prevention to chronic patient management. Over the last two decades, we have witnessed a transition from bulky carry-on electronics to smartphones and now computing technologies which are seamlessly integrated within everyday accessories, clothes, and body patches (Amft, 2017). Medical professionals and engineers have begun to integrate wearable technology in diagnosis and care pathways, validating their effectiveness with patients in large observational studies and randomized controlled trials.

Despite this, general uptake of wearable technology within healthcare has been limited, particularly with older adults (Cleland, 2016). Indeed, many current wearables have demonstrated critical issues with robustness (Banos, 2015) and compliance (Cleland, 2018). Research to address the current technical and practical challenges faced by wearable technologies is required to reach the true potential of improved health outcomes and more personalized prevention and care.

The aim of this project is to investigate how state-of-the-art wearable technologies may be utilised to support and improve the lives of older adults. In doing the project with address key challenges around technology adoption and how sustained engagement could be achieved. This will require the development and application of artificial intelligence to facilitate the capture, processing, validation, visualisation and interpretation of data from wearable devices.

The objectives of this research are to:

1)Investigate the barriers to adoption of wearable technology by older adults and how these can be modelled to provide insight into sustained engagement.

2)Review and critically evaluate the state-of-the-art in wearable sensing, what can be measured and how these measurements can be improved/refined.

3)Develop and evaluate technological solutions drawing on the advancements in Artificial Intelligence to enhance user engagement with wearable solutions.

4)Integrate wearable platforms with a range of devices within the IoT to extend and improve functionality.

This project will be aligned with the aims of the Connected Health Living Lab (CH:LL) and the Connected Health Innovation Centre (CHIC) at Ulster.

Amft, Oliver, and Kristof Van Laerhoven. "What Will We Wear After Smartphones?." IEEE Pervasive Computing 4 (2017): 80-85.

Amft, Oliver. "How Wearable Computing Is Shaping Digital Health." IEEE Pervasive Computing 1 (2018): 92-98.

Banos, O., Damas, M., Guillen, A., Herrera, L.J., Pomares, H., Rojas, I., Villalonga C. Multi-sensor fusion based on asymmetric decision weighting for robust activity recognition. Neural Processing Letters, vol. 42, no. 1, pp. 5-26 (2015)

Cleland, I., Nugent, C. and Lee, S., 2016, May. The ground truth is out there: challenges with using pervasive technologies for behavior change. In Proceedings of the 10th EAI International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare (pp. 322-325). ICST (Institute for Computer Sciences, Social-Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering).

Cleland, I., M. P. Donnelly, C. D. Nugent, J. Hallberg, M. Espinilla, and M. Garcia-Constantino. "Collection of a Diverse, Realistic and Annotated Dataset for Wearable Activity Recognition." In 2018 IEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications Workshops (PerCom Workshops), pp. 555-560. IEEE, 2018.


Essential criteria

  • To hold, or expect to achieve by 15 August, an Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC) in a related or cognate field.

Funding

    The University offers the following awards to support PhD study and applications are invited from UK, EU and overseas for the following levels of support:

    Vice Chancellors Research Studentship (VCRS)

    Full award (full-time PhD fees + DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £15,000 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Vice-Chancellor’s Research Bursary (VCRB)

    Part award (full-time PhD fees + 50% DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £7,500 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fees Bursary (VCRFB)

    Fees only award (PhD fees + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Department for the Economy (DFE)

    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £15,285 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fee’s component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided). For Non-EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK. This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Due consideration should be given to financing your studies; for further information on cost of living etc. please refer to: www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/fees-and-funding/financing-your-studies


Other information


The Doctoral College at Ulster University


Reviews

Profile picture of Adrian Johnston

As Senior Engineering Manager of Analytics at Seagate Technology I utilise the learning from my PhD ever day

Adrian Johnston - PhD in Informatics

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Profile picture of Xin Wei

I received the bachelor’s of engineering degree in computer science and technology from Shangrao Normal University, Jiangxi, China, in 2013; and the master’s degree in computer application and technology from the School of Mathematics and Computer Science, Fujian Normal University, China. When I was pursuing a PhD degree at Ulster University, I continued my research on face recognition and image representation.This long journey has only been possible due to the constant support and encouragement of my first supervisor. I also like to thank my second supervisor for his patience, support and guidance during my research studies. My favourite memory was the days of exercising, gathering and playing with my friends here. If I could speak to myself at the start of my PhD, the best piece of advice I would give myself would be "submit more papers to Journals instead of conferences".

Xin Wei - PhD in Computer Science and Informatics


Profile picture of Jyotsna Talreja Wassan

In the whole PhD ordeal, my supervisory team played a tremendous role:- they are three in a million. They are perfect supervisors who perfectly know which milestones or pathways to be taken during research initiatives, and they understand the roles of virtually all stages in the journey of PhD. They showcased superior abilities in managing and motivating me evoking high standards; demonstrating a commitment to excellence. Jane and Haiying guided me as their daughter and Fiona turned out to be the best of friends.I heard from “Eleanor Roosevelt” that “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” The dream with which I grew up to become a Doctor one day, has finally come true. In the journey of PhD, I embraced that a PhD is not just the highest degree in Education but rather it is a life experience where perseverance is the key. I can never forget words from my external examiner Prof Yike Guo, from Imperial College London. His words

Jyotsna Talreja Wassan - PhD in Computer Science and Informatics