Dynamic, Real time, On-demand Personalisation for Scaling (DROPS)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: WMG

Abstract

Privacy is a human right and value that often under threat in the context of technology. While much research has been done on this topic, in the modern era of technology privacy preserving technologies must keep in pace with state of the art technological developments, as in the case of dynamically personalised technologies. Personalised technologies operate on the basis of collecting personal data, dynamically analysing it to infer knowledge about the user and providing in-the-moment responses that add value for the user. The privacy implications of this technology, however, have been not explored extensively. DROPS will address this through an examination of the privacy, trust and identity issues that arise from the development of personalized e-books for children's reading. Our focus on children's reading is motivated by evidence that shows the value of personalised e-books for learning and reading enjoyment, and yet the lack of research that engages with the range of privacy issues that these technologies introduce.

DROPS has two broad synergetic goals: i) To develop a ThingsSpace that manages the computational process of personalizing technology, such as e-books, in such a way that a user's personal data is protected. ThingsSpace will use an existing personal data store, the HAT, to store personal data subsequently used by the e-book's algorithm to adapt to the child's pedagogical needs ii) To use ThingsSpace as a springboard to document and evaluate the privacy, trust and identity issues resulting from its design and use. This evaluation will lead to the development of different economic and business models creating a feedback loop with the technical design.

Across all of the project stages, we will co-create the technology with future end users of ThingsSpace (publishers, SMEs, designers of personalized digital products) and end users of personalised e-books (teachers, parents, children). This multi-stakeholder approach will allow us to ensure that the aspired values of e-books (for learning and privacy) are aligned with the economic models used to monetise this technology and the technical platform that delivers it. The code for ThingsSpace will be open source in order to allow other researchers and commercial parties to transfer our project findings to the diverse domains that digital personalisation is currently used, e.g. Finance, HealthCare, Social Media.

Planned Impact

DROPS focuses on the case of e-books with teachers and parents serving as the gatekeepers of these digital products who are often not cognisant of the privacy risks these complex technologies raise for young people who cannot yet give consent. Through co-creation workshops with these key stakeholders we will develop their understanding of how personalised technologies operate and the privacy issues that arise. This participation is expected to lead to preparedness that shapes their personal and professional practice.

We will develop novel technology by combining the latest state-of-the-art technology in personal data storage (the HAT) with privacy requirements in an emerging technology area, dynamically personalised digital products. The project will create new design methodologies and techniques that ensure there is alignment between good pedagogy, user experience and privacy in e-books. This knowledge will be disseminated and transferred through directly working with publishers of e-books showcasing the viability of our technology to their existing offering. Through this collaborative engagement with the commercial sector, we will also develop novel approaches to the economic models that take into account both privacy and financial viability.

We are committed to developing the skillset of future technology designers, in the domains of privacy and digital learning. We will develop projects and teaching materials across the four institutions involved in DROPS to develop know how and expertise in our undergraduate and graduate cohorts.

Public engagement will capitalise on the interdisciplinary partnerships and involve knowledge exchange activities such as workshops with children's media industry and publishers, high-profile media coverage, student projects and placements and relevant national and international conferences and scholarly publications.

Publications

10 25 50

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Kucirkova N (2019) Children's Reading With Digital Books: Past Moving Quickly to the Future in Child Development Perspectives

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Kucirkova N (2019) Children's agency by design: Design parameters for personalization in story-making apps in International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction

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Vasalou A (2020) Designing for oral storytelling practices at home: A parental perspective in International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction

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Vasalou, A (2020) Designing for oral storytelling practices at home: a parental perspective in International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction

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Langley D (2021) The Internet of Everything: Smart things and their impact on business models in Journal of Business Research

 
Title Look and Feel Prototype of the Little DROPS children story creator/reader 
Description This is the creaive prototype of the UI of the Little DROPS children story creator/reader 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact The development of the Little DROPS software application is dependent on this artistic product. 
URL https://invis.io/XHW88N134YP
 
Description Spin off company Play Concepts Ltd was formed, taking the technology built to commercialisation.
First Year Of Impact 2021
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education
Impact Types Economic

 
Description HATLab/EPSRC DROPS project response to UN call on children's rights in the digital environment
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/849564
 
Description The British Academy, techUK and the Royal Society considered the sound bases from which to consider and probe the concept of data ownership and discussed issues relating to the ability to exert rights and control over data use.
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact A patent application on personal database server
URL https://www.ipo.gov.uk/p-ipsum/Case/ApplicationNumber/GB2009099.9
 
Description present information on COVID-19 response to the All Party Parliamentary Group on AI, and to the Open Data Working Group of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Longevity
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
 
Description Next Stage Digital Economy Centre in the Decentralised Digital Economy (DECaDE)
Amount £3,816,713 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/T022485/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2020 
End 06/2025
 
Title Hackathon; An anti-viral virtual hackathon. #hackfromhome 
Description A hackathon (derived from the terms hack and marathon) is a highly engaging, continuous event in which programmers and others (interface designers, graphic designers and others) collaborate intensively in small groups in a limited amount of time to produce working software prototypes. They have two distinguishing characteristics: they are technical and they are events limited by time with the object of producing a technical artefact. Hack from Home brought together 822 technology professionals to build health and health technology applications, ranging from the accurate modelling of refugee infection to traffic-lighting in community exposure. A positive, supportive, and impact-oriented community, it has made significant strides towards helping citizens, health professionals, and the international public adjust to life and work fighting the disease. I acted as both a mentor and participant - supporting teams in forming, and shaping a team more closely myself. 822 participants took part. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact An anti-viral virtual hackathon, #hackfromhome, was organised with support from the project. The project I proposed, Health Traffic Light, sought to develop a contact tracing app that was privacy preserving. This was a novel proposition at the time, with only China having discussion of an app. I formed a team and an MVP was developed. The project won the event and was taken forward by the team members from Case Western University, who developed it into ShareTrace.org, a fully functional sharetrace application. The method was interesting as it gave rise to a number of additional applications and designs, rapidly creating novel and innovative solutions to problems faced. 
URL https://www.hackfromhome.com/
 
Title Data Transaction Model to emerge the value of data 
Description Today's society is used to the transactability of money. Establishing personal data as a universally transactable asset is far more complex, due to the variety of potential types, forms, composition and dimensions of personal data. In the context of this model, we developed a novel technology model for transacting personal data that enables the transaction itself to exhibit generic characteristics. This model therefore allow data to become a 'commodity' which is able to measure the value of data, and is traceable and tradable. To achieve this, it was necessary to formulate an operating model for tracking and accounting all transactions of personal data across an ecosystem of PDAs and data merchants. 
Type Of Material Data handling & control 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The model is expected to be commercialised by Dataswift. 
 
Title Personal Data Management Platform 
Description The Dataswift One platform was devised to provide the tools that companies use to quickly build and maintain fully compliant personal data storage and use practices around decentralised data. The platform represents foundational micro- services that support Dataswift Vault deployment, the management of access controls to data flows, provide ecosystem-level analytics data, verify exchanges and quickly, accurately and securely sends and receives data between parties. The platform preserves audit logs of the contracts between PDA owners and PDA-enabled applications. 
IP Reference GB2009099.9 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2020
Licensed Yes
Impact Commercialisation of patent by Dataswift Ltd.
 
Title BusyTime SHE Function 
Description Smart Hat Engine (SHE) functions are tools that are made open to those working on Hub of All Things (HAT) developers and can be accessed in the HAT sandbox. BusyTime is a function that analyses a GoogleDiary, looking at how often a person has appointments vs free time. It then returns a percentage 'busy time'. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact We do not yet track the use of the SHE functions. 
URL http://stockvirtual.info/BusyTimeDemo.php
 
Title Little DROPS children story creator/reader 
Description Little Drops app concept has been born out of a series of design workshops with the participation of these industry partners as well as a few parents of young children. The app aims to facilitate the creative process of oral storytelling at home by providing a 'story template' and visual 'prompts' as supportive structure. Parents, children and their extended family can collect photographs from their everyday lives. Collated in a gallery accessible to the parent and child, these photographs can provide later inspiration by serving as 'prompts' to crafting a new story. Prompts are in turn utilized to populate 'story templates', which are based on spines of different story genres. Each spine is made out of blocks that support the story sequence allowing the parent and child to keep a cohesive narrative in their story. They also have the facility to record each story as it is told, allowing the parent to build a rich repository of the moments they shared with their children supporting reminiscence. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2020 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact The impact from the development of this software is not yet known at this time. 
URL https://github.com/mudspot/little-drops
 
Title Sentiment History SHE function 
Description Smart Hat Engine (SHE) functions are tools that are made open to those working on Hub of All Things (HAT) developers and can be accessed in the HAT sandbox.Sentiment History is a rule based function that counts the number of positive and negative words that appear in a given text. If the number of positive word appearances is greater than the number of negative word appearances, the system returns a positive sentiment, and vice versa. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2019 
Impact We do not yet track the use of the SHE functions. 
URL https://www.hat-lab.org/sandbox
 
Title ShareTrace 
Description Sharetrace: A contact tracing tool, and ane of the applications to emerge from Hack From Home. DROPs funding was used in the design of the app, including creating a decentralised algorithm for symptoms scoring. DROPS funding was also used in project research and management. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2020 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Using this funding an additional grant of £42,000 was won from Innovate UK to further develop the Sharetrace project. 
URL https://www.sharetrace.org/
 
Title WordCloud SHE Function 
Description Smart Hat Engine (SHE) functions are tools that are made open to those working on Hub of All Things (HAT) developers and can be accessed in the HAT sandbox. WordCloud is a function that analyses text data, counting how often a particular word appears, giving it a ranking. The output can be used in visualisations such as Wordle, usually with the font size linked to the words predominance. The tool can also indicate preference etc. based on popularity of words. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact We do not yet track the use of the SHE functions. 
URL https://www.hat-lab.org/sandbox
 
Company Name PLAY CONCEPTS LTD 
Description Spin out from DROPS project to commercialise little Drops, the story telling app built on HAT Personal Data Accounts 
Year Established 2020 
Impact A story telling app built on HAT Personal Data Accounts, decentralizing data ownership to individuals.
 
Description Co-designing for Family Oral Storytelling: The role of Technology in a Multi-faceted Practice 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact We presented our work on digital storytelling to an academic audience, in a workshop on the topic of smart technology in children. 20 academics attended the workshop. The discussion helped us better position our work and contributed to a journal paper. It also connected us to other colleagues working in the same area.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://sites.google.com/view/smarttoysidc2020
 
Description FASS Festival of Research - Keynote Speaker - 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This was a talk done "live" over Zoom to close the 2021 Faculty of Social Science Festival of Science. I spoke about the importance of collaboration, giving an overview of my projects.

A copy of the talk is available here https://youtu.be/azJqb8kCQK8
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://issuu.com/universityofsurrey/docs/fass_festival_of_research_programme_2021
 
Description Hack from Home: a global hackathon with over 800 participants 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A global hackathon with over 800 participants from 63 countries, aimed at generating ideas and innovation to fight COVID-19. Two streams of educational content were developed for participants - a 'innovation stage' training participants in ideation, project management and commercialisation, and a 'expert stage' educating people of issues connected to COVID-19. Resulted in the creation of two applications based upon Dataswift One and HAT PDAs, with two research papers under authorship.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.hackfromhome.com/
 
Description Improving productivity in Hollywood using data science 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact YouTube presentation of our paper "Improving productivity in Hollywood with data science: Using emotional arcs of movies to drive product and service innovation in entertainment industries". This video is used to share the paper with students and general public. It also helps engage academics, and I get invited to do the talk at seminars.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://youtu.be/rfa66Lv_Lzs
 
Description Institute of Education blog reporting on parent-designer workshops 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The blog reported outcomes from a design workshop between parents and designers. The aim of the blog was to present new considerations for digital storytelling addressed to families which have not been discussed in the literature. The blog was shared with the participants of the study and it generated interest from potential future participants.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://ioelondonblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/tell-me-a-story-from-your-head-working-with-parents-t...
 
Description Oxford Union talk on Decentralisation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Spoke about decentralization on the Oxford Union web series, a YouTube channel with more than a million subscribers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dzk-b-B3U9I&t=2449s
 
Description Personal data servers will help take back digital ID from big tech: WIRED article 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Wired article on personal identity: Personal data servers will help take back digital ID from big tech
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Talk on "Let's talk about the DAMn economy" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk on data, attention and money economy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgpPecDxKfY
 
Description Written piece about project findings on shared reading 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The aim of the blog was to communicate the findings from a study involving 7 families and their shared reading practices. The blog was sent to the participating families and to new potential participants for further recruitment which has since materialised. It led to further discussions with early career researchers at UCL's knowledge lab, one of whom subsequently drew on the methodology reported in the blog for their own research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://medium.com/hub-of-all-things/personalised-digital-tech-for-shared-reading-9ebdcc0c6565