Sensing emotion through your clothes
The purpose of this research is to investigate the possibility of measuring human emotion using movement sensing clothing.
Support mental health research and get a £20 Amazon Voucher.
The purpose of this research is to investigate the possibility of measuring human emotion using movement sensing clothing.
Support mental health research and get a £20 Amazon Voucher.
post by Peter Boyes (2018 cohort)
As part of the programme with my industry partner Ordnance Survey (OS), each year I attend what they call a Research Workshop. It’s a multi-day trip down to their headquarters in Southampton, where they host all their sponsored PhD and Post-Doc students for a colloquium from their partner universities and programmes, both in the UK and a couple from abroad. The days consist of presentation sessions broken into themes of research, these presentations are given by each of the sponsored researchers to an audience of the other colloquium attendees and OS staff who drop in to relevant and interesting themes or talks over the days. In the breaks between presentation sessions there are poster sessions, each student presenting a poster of their work and able to talk with staff or other attendees there. These posters are also displayed over the course of the event to enable staff to drop by and take a look while they may be unable to attend a full presentation session, note questions and get in touch by email or later on in a break when the researcher is free. In addition there’s often a keynote speaker that kicks off the morning session talking around the general theme for each day.
As an annual event I have been able to attend at different stages of my PhD, and see progression across the visits. My view of the purpose of the event changed over appearances, and so did my confidence in my topic and myself. The conference-style event, presenting a poster, giving a talk, handling a Q&A with OS staff and fellow postgraduate researchers gave me a chance to learn from people going through the same process and some advice from them at their different stages of the postgraduate timeline. Over multiple poster sessions I honed the elevator pitch of my research for that year, and developed an understanding of my blind spots, the recurring questions that obviously I hadn’t anticipated or covered well enough in the poster, while developing my communication skills to multidisciplinary audiences. This was an opportunity to see others’ work that was similar to my field in different ways, and to practice communicating the research I was hoping to do or had done at the time of the workshop.
There is something to be said for not having any supervisors there, a little bit of a shock for me in my first year still settling into the doctoral training program at Nottingham. The student-supervisor relationship is a valuable one when navigating a PhD, but at this event I felt truly independent. At similar style events such as our Horizon CDT retreat I feel like even if they don’t contribute in my presentation, my supervisors are there in the background in the room or on the Teams call and may step in with comments or questions to jolt me along or help, but this wasn’t like that. This was more akin to what I expect conferences to feel like as I prepare to attend one and present later this year. Their contribution is there in the work, but I must be able to present and discuss the research as an independent researcher.
The event and this write-up gave me an exercise in reflecting on what stage I am at in my research. My first time attending, I was in the first year of the course, 5 months or so into my PhD and hadn’t exactly done an explicit research activity or carried out a study to talk about, I was still finding my feet. In that year, I talked mostly about my higher education background, my interests in a wide scope, essentially proposing questions I could explore and using the session to gauge some feedback on areas others thought could be interesting. This included areas to explore or advice on going down those paths, suggested literature or studies. Helpfully at this OS workshop there was an industry perspective on the applications and not just the theory or literature side or presentations.
In the next year, I could see for myself when making my presentation that my scope was narrowing, I was settling into an academic area, research questions were emerging less fuzzy, more defined even if not settled on at that point still. With the audience I was more engaged in discussion of conducted or planned studies and details of these, and looking towards potential research output goals and again the applicability to other sectors and industry.
With one of these trips to Southampton left to attend in my final run to thesis submission I will hopefully be in early write-up stages, and will be able to demonstrate some really interesting findings from this last year and my final study, and engage with those in their first years attending the workshop about their experiences in the PhD journey to that point.
To bring this to a conclusion, I would encourage postgraduate research to look for these colloquiums/consortiums even if not offered by your industry partner as they can help you engage with your research in a different way. These are an opportunity to participate without the same pressure or work of preparing a paper and submitting to a journal or conference, those are different experiences, both highly beneficial. I would also recommend in the way writing this has been for me, to engage with reflective exercises for your journey to recognise, even if for just yourself, the work you have been doing, the changes and narrowing of scope, and your understanding of a field or concepts. I would also encourage industry partners with multiple postgraduates across the country to try and organise events like these to support their development, and help to establish academic and industry networks they may be struggling with confidence or opportunities to build beyond their own centre or institution.
post by Alexa Velvet Spors (2017 cohort)
I’m currently recruiting for my last PhD study, a research game jam!
Please see details below – maybe it might be interesting for you, or you know someone who might enjoy it?
If you have Twitter, I’d massively appreciate a retweet or like to gain some visibility in the algorithmic soup 😊!
Register your interest here:
Huh? What’s this project all about?
Infomercial introduction aside: Hi, we are Velvet Spors and Imogen Kaufman, PhD students at the University of Nottingham. Together with the National Videogame, we are researching how mental health, self-care, and games can come together to create new, exciting, and meaningful technology.
Games connect us, make us cry or laugh (or both at the same time!). They also allow us an open, safe space to explore feelings and make sense of ourselves. For this very reason, Velvet brought people together to create a community resource that other people can use as a starting point for designing and making self-care tech that is open-minded, genuine, and maybe different in its approach: The Caring Systems toolkit.
We are interested in testing out this toolkit with critical, curious people who enjoy gaming and who think technology can support our everyday lives and mental health. Does it work at all? What needs to be improved? Which changes should we make?
What would I have to do?
Monday-Thursday: Explore the toolkit in our own time + fill out a survey. (You can join us for optional 1h activities!)
Friday: Join us for a 2h kick-off event.
Saturday-Sunday: Spend 4h each day making and thinking with others.
Afterwards: Fill out a survey + an interview about your jam experience.
Receive a £100 Amazon shopping voucher for your time (or the equivalent in your country’s currency) + 2 tickets to the NVM!
Who are we looking for?
– Game jamming/making things collaboratively with other people is your jam (literally or figuratively).
– Exploring the potential of games and self-care technologies sounds fun to you.
– You enjoy making games and/or technology (or you have thought about making or designing it!).
– You have somebody local to you, who could check in on you during the game jam.
– You are 18+ years old and you are currently not experiencing a mental health crisis.
– You can commit to the game jam times (~10h over the week 2nd to 8th August 2021, especially 6-8th August 2021).
You do not have to be able to code or design — everybody is welcome, regardless of skill level.
The jam is open internationally.
Sounds cool! Sign me up!
Register your interest here:
All the best,
Do you share online profiles or accounts with others such as friends, family members, housemates, neighbours, acquaintances, or others?
If so, our University of Nottingham study is exploring how this happens right now, and how this experience of sharing can be improved in future technologies.
If you are interested and willing to take part in a 1.5hour online focus group session and complete a couple of surveys, you would be contributing to cutting-edge research to improve the online experience of sharing accounts and profiles with others.
If you participate, we would like to thank you with a £30 Amazon voucher for your contribution to this research.
Please tell us who you currently share with (as many as apply): friends, family members, housemates, neighbours, acquaintances, or others.
Focus groups will run on a weekday evening at 7pm during July. Participants will be allocated to one focus group. Once you’ve been in touch we will offer you dates to attend.
If you know anyone else who may be interested, please share our information with them.
Thank you so much! 👋
Abi Fowler – PhD Candidate, Horizon CDT 2016 Cohort
post by Shazmin Majid (2018 cohort)
Accepted paper: Designing For the User, With the User: Self-tracking Technology for Bipolar Disorder
Conference: EAI Pervasive Health 2020 Doctoral Consortium, Atlanta USA, October 2020
This paper was written for the purposes of showcasing the findings of my first work package which consisted of a series of workshops and interviews in 2020. This was a novel piece of work as I found that despite the growing number of technological products to help those with severe mental health conditions, only a few have carried out in-depth qualitative work with users to understand the user-device relationship with this type of technology. I was motivated to share this notion with the panel group of experts at the doctoral consortium to gauge feedback on the position of my work. Specifically one member had a published track record of technology for bipolar disorder which proved useful for the development of my PhD work. The paper was received well at the conference. In particular, the field expert described it as a “needed piece of work” and wanted to follow the updates of the project.
In terms of writing this paper, it was written alongside my supervisors who all equally contributed towards the work. Firstly, I prepared a presentation with the main premises of the paper (introduction, methods, results and discussion) and received feedback from the team and iterated the plan as needed. I wrote the first draft of the paper based on the agreed plan and then shared this with my supervisors for rounds of feedback and iteration. The final paper was then signed off by the team and submitted for consideration to the conference organisers. Also, this paper had a significant role within my PhD as it summarised my initial findings which were then subject to peer-review. This in turn prepared me for the next work package which consisted of the design of the digital self-tracking tool. The paper highlighted that the gap that I have found in the literature is valid and it is important to consider the unique needs of users in the design of mental health technology.
The findings of this paper have resulted in another paper which has been submitted to the Journal of Medical Internet Research for consideration. The full results of this paper including the design process will be submitted for consideration to CHI 2022. The process of writing and submitting this paper was insightful, as my background is in traditional psychology, this paper gave me my first experience of submitting to the field of computer science. Overall, it was an enjoyable and welcoming experience and look forward to future submissions of my work.
The paper’s abstract can be found here.
We are running a study exploring patterns of passive phone and PC usage associated with different emotional states. We are aiming to gather subjective emotional levels, as well as phone and PC data, during one or two weeks. All of the data collected is anonymised and follows GDPR guidelines.
The study is funded by Horizon DER, and it is open to anyone above 18 years who has an Android phone or Windows PC. Participants will be offered £50 Amazon voucher for participating one week, with additional 30£ for a second week if they wish to continue.
Before the study begins, you will have to attend a 30-min online call to set up the experiment.
For more information or to participate in this study, please contact:
Dr Mercedes Torres Torres or Jimiama Mafeni Mase at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jimiama Mafeni Mase (2018 CDT cohort)
Dr Mercedes Torres Torres (2010 CDT cohort)
Computer Vision Lab and Horizon Research Institute
post by Vincent Bryce (2019 cohort)
This is a brief reflection on the part-time, virtual internship I carried out as part of my first year at the Horizon CDT, with Orbit RRI. ORBIT, the Observatory for Responsible Research and Innovation in ICT is a spin-out company of Oxford and De Montfort Universities resulting from an EPSRC project, and aims to promote a culture of responsible research and innovation in information and communications technology and other areas of technology, research and innovation.
As a mature student, a virtual internship with a virtual organisation provided an interesting opportunity to reflect on the question, ‘what is an internship?’, by contrast to internships I had carried out earlier in my career, including in the Royal Navy (as an officer cadet) and in the investment bank JPMorganChase. As a Human Resources practitioner, it was also an opportunity to experience life as a ‘virtual new starter’, in common with an increasing number of employees who have been prevented by lockdown from meeting colleagues in person in the office.
The Cambridge Dictionary suggests, for ‘internship’
a period of time during which someone works for a company or organization in order to get experience of a particular type of work
Merriam-Webster gives us the following, for ‘intern’
an advanced student or graduate usually in a professional field (such as medicine or teaching) gaining supervised practical experience (as in a hospital or classroom)
The OED gives us, variously
A student or trainee (originally, a trainee teacher) working, sometimes without pay, in order to gain practical experience in a particular field of employment, or to satisfy requirements for a qualification.
Of or situated on the inside
Of or belonging to the inner nature of something; intrinsic, essential
Which of these best describes the experience, and just how intrinsic and valuable an internship ends up being, will often depend on the terms we can establish with the organisation (with the help of the CDT)!
As is often the case with internships, a project gave mine focus – in this case, a study into the potential effect of ‘RRI intensity level’ (a combination of Technology Readiness Level and relevance to the UN Sustainable Development Goals), based on original Orbit research and its increasingly widely used self-assessment tool. This was an interesting area for study that aligned helpfully with my PhD – should organisations consider different responsible innovation practices for different situations, depending on (for example) the developmental stage of a technology?
To carry out this project, I worked up a plan and objectives with the Orbit management team, carried out a scoping review, and organised research through an online workshop and pre-event questionnaire, with the support of the Orbit team. I sought and was fortunate to receive involvement from three blue-chip organisations who provided engaging speakers for the event to provide a sparking point for discussion.
The event in November 2020 saw 34 delegates from a variety of backgrounds engaging in discussion of the issues relating to responsible innovation assessment at earlier, or later stages of technological development and provided valuable material for my report. In planning and publicising the event through various networks and social media channels, we took care to make the event appealing, and with just the right duration to balance presentations, discussion, and comfort in the context of mid-pandemic ‘webinar fatigue’.
Following the event, I analysed the questionnaire data and workshop transcript to evaluate the overall research question relating to the potential significance of RRI intensity level for responsible innovation activity. My findings highlighted the relevance of the knowledge inputs to responsible innovation assessment alongside tailoring to the object of assessment, and the need to enable ongoing rather than one-off assessments. A presentation back to the management team confirmed that these would usefully inform a wider review of the organisation’s self-assessment methodology.
The following helped make the internship a valuable experience for me:
—making efforts to identify high-profile speakers for an event and early, broad spectrum publicity yielded a strong turnout for an online event
—integrating the participant information sheet and consent questions for research purposes into the online signup workflow for a workshop required care and ethical approval, but minimised barriers for participants while ensuring ethical rigour
—attending and reviewing material for management and Board meetings provided a valuable insight into the organisation’s priorities
For other Centre for Doctoral Training students, I would encourage careful consideration at an early stage, before and while confirming details of internships, of the personal objectives you want to achieve through the experience. If your aim is first-hand experience of what it’s like to work in a particular organisation, you will need as much contact as you can get with your supervisor and relevant teams working there. If interning with a virtual organisation, in a remote work setting, the value you gain from it may depend on how proactive you are in organising regular meetings, attendance at team or higher-level meetings, and potential in-person contacts. It is also valuable to negotiate an achievable project scope that benefits the organisation, utilises your skills, and potentially contributes to your wider PhD study. In this case, things came together and having interned previously, a ‘remote’, ‘virtual’ internship was an interesting and useful experience that contributed to my learning for the PhD.
I am grateful to Serena, Paul, Bernd and Martin on the Orbit team for their support, and to Microsoft, Arm Holdings and BSI for their proactive engagement with the responsible innovation assessment event.
originally posted on Vincent’s blog
post by Neeshé Khan (2018 cohort)
I carried out my internship with Connected Places Catapult (CPC) between February to April 2021 on a full-time basis. I worked as a Cybersecurity Specialist in the Cyber Security Team within the Applied Data and Technology Directorate. I did this during the third year of my PhD – thanks to the efforts of my (super) supervisor who aligned the stars for me after my industry partnership lapsed.
My overall set up:
CPC provided me with ideal conditions that allowed me to get comfortable and take things at my own pace. This meant that I was able to work autonomously, trusted to perform my job to the best of my abilities and proactively look for and choose to work on projects that interested me. To discover projects of interest, I started off by speaking to a lot of people about their work and their vision for the projects to understand if there would be added value by adding in a cybersecurity element. This discovery effort was helped tremendously by my line manager (and some Urban Technology team members) who directed projects my way which made for good introductions and built my confidence.
I had regular catch-ups with the Director and weekly check-ins with my line manager to discuss how I was doing, projects that I found stimulating and my overall progress. Although my line manager worked at CPC three days a week, we quickly built a strong rapport with each other where we could just talk about things on my mind, seek her guidance on various aspects and have a relaxing conversation. She was also very responsive on messaging platforms and emotionally intelligent which meant that I knew she’d be there if I needed her, providing me with a lot of reassurance and making me feel safe in a new, remote environment.
As I was the only member in the Cyber Security team, I collaborated with the Software Engineering team but was primarily hosted by the Urban Technology team during my placement. There were the expected 9.30am morning catch-ups on alternating days that provided me with a valuable opportunity to learn about some of the other projects the team were working on. Team meetings on Mondays were one of my favourite things as it incorporated brainstorming using an online collaborative board and was one of the best applications of Action Research Methodology in a real-world setting that I’ve seen. Being a part of this team and the wider Directorate was really enjoyable and I’m hoping to see everyone in real life once offices re-open and maybe we can find ways to continue this collaboration.
I worked on a range of projects with various teams. I mapped cybersecurity stakeholders which was a landscape scanning exercise to record entities within cybersecurity and the various resources they provide to the wider public. I also reviewed existing and potential projects pertaining to Critical National Infrastructure to identify aspects linked to cybersecurity that would be potential sources of collaboration. I fed in to CPC’s response to the governmental consultation on the cybersecurity of 5G Private Networks.
CPC was also engaged with ‘Homes for Healthy Aging’ that involves assistive technologies to help the aging population stay in their homes for longer. I advised on the cybersecurity elements of this project to help incorporate cybersecurity proactively in the early stages of their testbeds.
I produced a detailed report on Cybersecurity of Future Air Mobility and Digital Twins through a consultation with two leading SMEs in the digital twin space. This was a very exciting project with a 2 week turnaround (including the consultation with the SMEs). This report is due to be published on their website in the coming months.
And finally, my passion project which was suggested by the Urban Technology team was designing cybersecurity resources for local authorities and SMEs. This excited me as these segments are cybersecurity poor with limited resources and often struggle to get acquainted with the fundamentals of cybersecurity in a meaningful or practical way. I designed a game which explored privacy within data and two resources exploring the themes of Spear Phishing and Strong Passwords. The aim of this series is for the audiences to explore how cybersecurity is linked to the technologies they invent, implement and utilise for their clients. This would be a great resource page for start-ups and local authorities if it’s developed further.
Overall, I was surprised by how much of an impact remote working has if you’re starting a new position but I think I was very lucky to get an amazing line manager, a wonderful team (who made every effort to pronounce my name correctly and conquered it) and a really wonderful working environment that allowed me to feel connected despite never having visited their offices (which look really cool)!
post by Laurence Cliffe (2017 cohort)
The Audio Mostly 2019 conference provided me with a relevant and convenient platform through which I could present an outline of my PhD research activity to date. Convenient, and also economical, as this year it was hosted by the University of Nottingham’s Department of Music, but also highly relevant, as many papers from this particular conference’s previous proceedings have presented themselves as being important points of reference though my PhD work to date. Having followed particular research projects of specific relevance to my PhD, Audio Mostly not only presents itself as an appropriate platform for the publication of my work, but also as springboard for other publishing possibilities. This is made evident by many projects being initially presented at Audio Mostly, and then having additional work included within them and then being published and presented as journal articles or at other conferences as the projects progress and evolve.
The published paper presented a synopsis of what I considered as the most pertinent points of my research so far. Rather than presenting specific research data from the results of studies, the paper presented the results of my practical lab-based activities in the development of a working technical prototype, and outlined my methodology and approach, and two proposed study environments, the latter being the subject of currently ongoing and future plans for the development of the project.
All of my supervision team had input on the paper, from proofreading to practical advice and providing some written introductory content. Another academic, involved in one of the proposed studies, also provided some written content specifically relating to the introduction of this specific part of the project. I wrote an initial draft and then sent it to the relevant parties with a specific request on how I thought they may be able to contribute and help with its authorship.
One comment from a particular reviewer proved very useful and centered around the use and definition of a specific acronym. This prompted me to investigate the issue further and, as such, has enabled me to focus my research to a much greater extent and to communicate more effectively the subject of my research to others. It has also provided a much clearer definition of the place of my research within its specific sphere of study.
As well as presenting the paper, I also had the opportunity to demonstrate my technical prototype at the conference. Having been scheduled to present my paper before my demo gave me the perfect opportunity to engage with people whilst demonstrating, answering questions, and continuing discussions as a result of my presentation, and also answering some of these questions practically via the technical demonstration. Generally, the feedback was complimentary and demonstrated an interest in my work, especially in relation to its study through practical application.
Authors whose papers were successfully accepted to the conference have since been invited to contribute to a special edition journal on audio interactivity and to build on the papers initially presented. This seems like a logical next step, as I have since completed some of the proposed studies, and therefore can include the findings and conclusions from these studies in the paper, with a view to formulating a journal article, and providing me with an opportunity to publish the subsequent stage of my PhD research.
On reflection, there are two particular challenges that sprint to mind as a result of this publication and presentation process. The first was the practical task of synthesising a 7000-word paper into a 20-minute presentation. What content to include? What content to leave for discussion? How much detail do I need to include on specific points to get the points across? These were all questions I was asking myself. Another challenge was the problem of presenting ‘live’ research. By the time I actually presented, my research had moved on. I’d changed some of the technology within the prototype and another study opportunity had presented itself which I hadn’t included in my future work section. This led to a bit of back peddling during the presentation, but I did have the opportunity to discuss these points with individuals during my demonstration.
Originally posted on Laurence’s blog.
post by Serena Midha (2017 cohort)
As someone whose journey so far has been straight through education, from school to BSc to MSc and PhD, exposure to life outside of the education bubble has been fairly limited. So, for the internship, I was keen to work in industry!
With the arrival of the pandemic in my third year, there was a fair amount of concern that the opportunity for an internship was sparse. Around the time when I was starting to mildly panic, there was an advertisement for a virtual internship as a UX/UI Designer. The company was a start-up called Footfalls and Heartbeats and they had developed a technology that meant that knitted yarns could act as physiological sensors. The internship was focussed on one product which was a knee sleeve designed to provide physiological feedback to physiotherapists and athletes during training. The product was still under development, but the prototype looked just like a soft knee brace which weightlifters wear and the data it could measure included the range of motion of the knee and a squat repetition counter; the product had potential to measure velocity but that was an aim for further in the future.
The description seemed tailored to my idea of an ideal internship! It was related to my PhD as my research involves investigating effective ways of conveying brain data to users, and the internship project investigated ways of conveying the physiological data from the knee sleeve to users. The description of the project also suited my interests in sport (and weirdly knees and sewing). I applied and was lucky enough to be accepted. The application process had a few stages. The first stage was the submission of a CV and personal statement. After that, I got asked to do a practical task which involved a UX task of evaluating where I would input a certain aspect of the knee sleeve connection within the app, and a UI task of making high fidelity wireframes on Figma (a design software) based on low fidelity wireframes that were provided. The task had a 5-day deadline and I had no UI experience. To be honest, I had never heard of Figma (or high fidelity wireframes or basically anything to do with UI), so I basically spent all 5 days watching YouTube videos and doing a lot of learning! An interview with a director and data scientist/interface designer followed the practical task and they liked my design (somehow I forgot to tell them that I had only just learned what Figma was)!
There were two of us doing the internship; I was supposed to be designing the desktop app and the other person was to design the mobile and tablet app. We were supervised by the data scientist who interviewed me and he was a talented designer which meant he often took on design roles in the company. He wanted to create an office-like atmosphere even though we were working remotely so the three of us remained on a voice call all day (muted) and piped up when we wanted to discuss anything.
With the product still very much under development and its direction ever-changing, our project changed during every weekly team meeting for the first 4 or 5 weeks. I think this was because the company wasn’t really sure where the product was going and thus they would ask us to do something, like display a certain type of data, only for us to find out the next week that the product couldn’t measure that type of data. The product was supposed to be a business to consumer product and thus we started designing a detailed app fit for end users, but the company’s crowdfunding was unsuccessful so they changed direction to create a business to business product. This meant that our project changed to designing a tablet demo app which showcased what the product could do. They definitely didn’t need two internship people for this project but we made it work!
The most stand-out thing to me about the whole internship was the lack of market research within the team – I don’t think there was any! The product was designed for professional athletes and physiotherapists, yet I really couldn’t see how the two main sources of data it could measure would be useful for either party. I was pretty sure athletes wouldn’t want an app to count their reps when they could do it in their heads and I was pretty sure that physios were happy measuring range of motion with a plastic goniometer (and patients with swollen knees wouldn’t be able to fit on the knee sleeve). I raised these points and the company asked me to speak to my personal physio and his feedback was that he would have no use for the knee sleeve; however, the company decided to carry on with these functions as the main focus of the knee sleeve measurements and I think this was because measuring this data was most achievable in the short term. The whole thing was proper baffling!
However, by the end of the internship we had produced a really nice demo app. I had learned a lot about design in terms of how to design a whole app! We generally started with sketches of designs which then were digitised into low fidelity wireframes and then developed into the high fidelity end version. I also learned about some really helpful tools that designers use such as font identifies and colour pallet finders. We produced a design document which communicated in detail our designs to the engineers who were going to make the app. And I had a very valuable insight into a start-up company which was chaotic yet friendly.
My supervisor on the project was great to work with. He made sure we got the most out of the internship and had fun whilst doing it, and he created a very safe space between the three of us. The company had a very inclusive and supportive atmosphere and they made us feel like part of the team. I think the product has a lot of potential but needs developing further which would mean a later release date. I’m most looking forward to seeing what happens with the knitted technology sensors as they can have many potential applications such as in furniture or shoes.