PAL : Personal and Social Communication Services for Lifestyle Monitoring

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Computer Laboratory


The National Health Service is increasingly hard-pressed to provide care for an aging population. At the same time, people are becoming increasingly familiar with, and accepting of, a wide range of technologies. The time is right to develop technology-assisted lifestyle monitoring, particularly for those with chronic conditions. The PAL project exploits innovative sensor and communication technology, made available through secure, event-based middleware, to provide user-friendly, policy-controlled monitoring. Research issues include:Data acquisition and information derivation. We will record and process information related to a person's lifestyle; this must be done in a way that is not intrusive or unduly onerous. Examples of information that can be sensed are: ECG, heart-rate, glucose level, movement, diet-related data, GPS, etc. Sensing may be through direct contact with the user or from the environment. Processing may involve multiple data sources and may be done remotely from the user. Further knowledge will be derived by correlating data from multiple sensors and with other user activity data. This will enable us to determine behavioural patterns, detect emergency situations (note that unusual conditions for one person may be normal for another, so decisions must be person-specific) and provide explanations (and better support) to the user. Data can be gathered from various computing platforms used during the day, such as PCs, laptops, mobile phones, etc. and can provide insight into what triggers certain user behaviours, e.g. stress-related. Communications: the above services require data to be reliably and securely delivered, only to the appropriate destination(s) and principals, such as a home hub, hospital, doctor's surgery or the users themselves. The information could be recorded data, real-time measurements or even an event signal to say that the person requires urgent medical assistance. Either way, the information should not be corrupted, lost or viewed illegally as it is transported across the network. The underlying networks should support continuous monitoring when users move about in their home, walk outside or use transport, or enter other buildings. Information governance will take into account the legal and ethical framework for gathering and processing personal data. We will embody these requirements for privacy, and authorisation by the person concerned, in automatically enforceable policy. Audit is an important part of such a system, addressing accountability of the principals involved. Some of the information gathered should be recorded in a patient's electronic health record, thus available when treatment becomes necessary. Users, carers and technical staff will have obligations relating to safety, responsiveness and respect for privacy and these must be specified and checked against audit. It is important to involve real users in the design phase as well as in testing the developed solutions. Thus, any concerns about the functionalities or interfaces will be identified as early as possible. Our goal is to build solutions for everyday use that are easy to understand and operate, require minimal configuration and employ appropriate interaction paradigms. As most of the information is private, users have to be properly involved and informed about what is sensed and why. They have to be in control of their information. In summary, we will enable users to monitor their wellbeing and health, integrating this monitoring with the professional healthcare services when appropriate. To achieve this, we will exploit the state-of-the art in sensor and communications technology within a whole-system architecture. Legal and NHS requirements will be expressed as automatically enforceable policy.


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Hinze, Annika; Buchmann, Alejandro P. (2010) Principles and Applications of Distributed Event-Based Systems

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Jean Bacon (2012) Personal and Social Communication Services for Health and Lifestyle Monitoring in GLOBAL HEALTH 2012, The First International Conference on Global Health Challenges

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Singh J (2014) On middleware for emerging health services in Journal of Internet Services and Applications

Description Communications, including handovers, for continuity of lifestyle monitoring in the home and while mobile.

Middleware, extending SBUS (developed for the TIME-EACM grant) with security extensions.

Patient data gathering and presentation.

Policy for emergency detection and response.

Reconfiguring middleware connections in response to composite events as defined by policy.
Exploitation Route Various aspects of health and lifestyle monitoring including analysis and detection of emergency conditions and response. via project partners HW Communications, MAC Ltd, Thales Research
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Healthcare

Description The companies involved in the collaboration (MAC Ltd, Thales, HW Communications) have taken the results forward.
First Year Of Impact 2011
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Healthcare
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services

Title Storica in Google PlayStore: 
Description Storica visualises the data gathered by AIRS on a mobile phone as multimedia stories, through maps with fly-over effects and in a context-enriched media gallery. In each visualisation, you can click on any of the icons for seeing more information as a timeline or tag cloud. With AIRS now supporting the Zephyr heart rate monitor, you can include physiological information into your stories, too (we removed support for the AliveTech ECG since they no longer seem to sell the devices). 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2013