Health-tech

The intersection between health and technology is my current obsession. Well, current is not exactly correct, I've been interested in this idea for quite a while. The idea of using technology to measure, record and analyse my activities and health (i.e. the movement of quantified self) is very attractive to me. My interest extends beyond recording steps or having devices tell me when to stand up/move, although that's a nice start. I want to monitor the complete state of my body, from cholesterol levels to gym routines. This idea of health-tech extends much further, what if we could help monitor the behaviour of patients with neurological disorders? or help elderly people increase mobility? The point here is not replace doctors or nurses or health assistants, but to provide them with the complete picture.

I know the area of health-tech is picking up pace and I want to be part of the effort towards making it a reality. But, you know, the journey of a thousand miles beings with ... etc etc.

So to begin this journey, I've focussed my honours/4th year on building an activity recognition system that works real-time on an iPhone. Now, this idea is not new. There are fitness bands and smartwatches that accomplish most of what I aim to do but that is not the point. There is no single solution for this problem, so the point is to create my implementation and to go through the process of solving a non-trivial problem.

Activity recognition can be separated into three main parts: sensing module, feature analysis and classification. The sensing module is responsible for collecting the sensor data, and I've implemented this part, so here are some pretty pictures (data collected through an iPhone strapped to my wrist, visualising specifically the x-axis acceleration measured by the gyroscope):

How can you not be giddy with excitement after looking at these! We can distinguish most of these quite easily, and can even count the repetitions of the pull-ups! But just because it's relatively easily to identify based on inspection, building a recognition model isn't as trivial. So my first goal is to take these four activities and try to classify them as activity vs non-activity. Then i'll progress to identification of specific activities and just keep building on it.

That's the current state of the project, and as I hit milestones/roadblocks/insights with the project, I'll share the progress!