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An investigation into socially acceptable long term anonymous video monitoring for assessment of behaviour changes in ageing adults

School of Informatics

Prof Robert Fisher , Prof Katie Brittain , Dr Larissa Pschetz Sunday, January 31, 2021 Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
Edinburgh United Kingdom Health Psychology Other Software Engineering

About the Project

The Advanced Care Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh is a new £20m interdisciplinary research collaboration aiming to transform later life with person centred integrated care

The vision of the ACRC is to play a vital role in addressing the Grand Challenge of ageing by transformational research that will support the functional ability of people in later life so they can contribute to their own welfare for longer. With fresh and diverse thinking across interdisciplinary perspectives our academy students will work to creatively embed deep understanding, data science, artificial intelligence, assistive technologies and robotics into systems of health and social care supporting the independence, dignity and quality-of-life of people living in their own homes and in supported care environments.

The ACRC Academy will equip future leaders to drive society’s response to the challenges of later life care provision; a problem which is growing in scale, complexity and urgency. Our alumni will become leaders in across a diverse range of pioneering and influential roles in the public, private and third sectors.


The research project will investigate forms of anonymous long-term video monitoring that are acceptable to ageing adults (at different life stages) living in their own homes, and which provide quantitative measures of long-term behaviour changes (e.g. frequency, duration, speed, and extent of activities).

A successful outcome will produce a new approach to quantitatively assessing long-term behaviour changes in ageing adults, suitable for supporting people living in their own homes, or in sheltered housing. The proposed anonymous video technology will be developed in conjunction with research on what technological approaches would be acceptable to the ageing person in a home context, at different life stages.


There is prior video-based behaviour analysis research in the context of ageing adults in their homes, but the research perspective is largely that of detecting behaviour deviations based on an activity that is outwith their normal range. In contrast, the research proposed here observes the ‘normal' behaviour of the ageing person, and addresses how this normal behaviour changes over time. The project will investigate long-term (e.g. 3+ months to years) video-based person detection and behaviour monitoring (both what activities, and quantifying the amount and other properties), looking at different levels of acceptability to the ageing adult in a home context.

The research undertaken in this project has three different aspects and the student is expected to address all 3 aspects:

  1. Research into and working with ageing adults about their concerns for privacy in their own home.
  2. Research into and design of alternative approaches that satisfy different levels of those concerns.
  3. Development and evaluation of a video capture and analysis system (or variations) that are based on the alternative designs. Evaluation includes both laboratory and home setting data.



An undergraduate or Masters degree that given you a strong background in: computer programming, data analysis, system usability, human-centered design, machine learning, and image analysis.

Funding Notes

PhD's are fully funded with an above industry stipend for the full 4 year period.

The call is open to candidates of any nationality but funded places for overseas nationals will be strictly limited to 3 international students who can apply for the highly competitive ACRC Global Scholarship.

Application forms are now available here:
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Find more information on how to apply on the How to Apply section of our website:
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