PAL : Personal and Social Communication Services for Lifestyle Monitoring

Lead Research Organisation: University of Essex
Department Name: Computer Sci and Electronic Engineering


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 beperson-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 privacyand 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.
Description *) to enable users to monitor their wellbeing and health,
*) to exploit the state-of-the art in sensor and communications technology within a whole-system architecture.
Exploitation Route spin-off company or more engagement with potential users (such as care house or NHS).
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Healthcare,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism

Description there are some prototype systems out of this project and some potential users are interested. However, there is no application of the project's system in the real world as yet.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

Description University of Cambridge-PAL 
Organisation University of Cambridge
Department Computer Laboratory
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution communication gateway for eHealth
Collaborator Contribution event-based middleware
Impact some joint publications
Start Year 2009