Multi-Modal Data Collection for Measuring Health, Behavior, and Living Environment of Large-Scale Participant Cohorts: Conceptual Framework and Findings from Deployments

by   Congyu Wu, et al.

As mobile technologies become ever more sensor-rich, portable, and ubiquitous, data captured by smart devices are lending rich insights into users' daily lives with unprecedented comprehensiveness, unobtrusiveness, and ecological validity. A number of human-subject studies have been conducted in the past decade to examine the use of mobile sensing to uncover individual behavioral patterns and health outcomes. While understanding health and behavior is the focus for most of these studies, we find that minimal attention has been placed on measuring personal environments, especially together with other human-centric data modalities. Moreover, the participant cohort size in most existing studies falls well below a few hundred, leaving questions open about the reliability of findings on the relations between mobile sensing signals and human outcomes. To address these limitations, we developed a home environment sensor kit for continuous indoor air quality tracking and deployed it in conjunction with established mobile sensing and experience sampling techniques in a cohort study of up to 1584 student participants per data type for 3 weeks at a major research university in the United States. In this paper, we begin by proposing a conceptual framework that systematically organizes human-centric data modalities by their temporal coverage and spatial freedom. Then we report our study design and procedure, technologies and methods deployed, descriptive statistics of the collected data, and results from our extensive exploratory analyses. Our novel data, conceptual development, and analytical findings provide important guidance for data collection and hypothesis generation in future human-centric sensing studies.


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