Social Sensing for
Epidimiological Behavior
Anmol Madan, Manuel Cebrian, David Lazery and Alex
MIT Media Lab and Northeastern Universityy
Cambridge MA
anmol, manuel, [email protected];
[email protected]
By:Siddharth Mohan
EEL 6788
A brief on terms
Behavioral effects
Mobile sensing platform
Platform architecture
Daily Survey launcher
Battery impact
Behavioral effects
PSI method+ results
• This paper describes a novel application of ubiquitous computing.
• In this paper they use mobile phones as an active sensing and
prediction platform to identify behavior changes reflected in mobile
phone sensors.
Common Colds, Influenza, Fever, Stress and Mild Depression
• It also emphasizes the possibility in determining the health status of
individuals using information gathered by mobile phones, without
having actual health measurements of the individuals involved.
A Brief on Terms
• Epidemiology - The study of patterns of health and illness and
associated factors at the population level.
• Ubiquitous Computing - Existence or being everywhere at the
same time
• Reality Mining - It is the collection and analysis of machine-sensed
environmental data pertaining to human social behavior, with the goal
of identifying predictable patterns of behavior
This paper is all about…
In this paper, they use a mobile phone based co-location and
communication sensing to measure the characteristic behavior changes
in symptomatic individuals.
Behavioral effects
• Introverts, isolates, and persons lacking social skills may also be at
increased risk for both illness behaviors and pathology.
• Stress depletes local immune protection, increasing susceptibility to
colds and flu.
• Psychological disturbances could develop in response to frequent
• An experiment was conducted taking into consideration residents of
an undergraduate dormitory for two months, from February to April
• Individuals were surveyed on a day-to-day basis for symptoms of
contagious diseases like common colds, influenza & gastroenteritis.
• The characteristic changes in behavior when individuals are sick, are
reflected in automatically captured features like their total
communication,communication patterns with respect to time of day
(e.g. late night, early morning), diversity of their network.
Mobile Sensing Platform
Device Selection
• The platform is based on Windows Mobile 6.x devices, software was
written using a combination of native-C and managed-C#.
• All supported devices featured WLAN,EDGE and SD Card storage,
and most featured touch screens.
• The software logged Call and SMS details on the device every 20
minutes, based on recent events.
• These logs included information about missed calls and calls not
Platform Architecture
Daily Survey Launcher
Do you have a sore throat or cough?
Do you have a runny nose, congestion or sneezing?
Do you have a fever?
Have you had any vomiting, nausea or diarrhea?
Have you been feeling sad, lonely or depressed lately?
Have you been feeling stressed out lately?
• The application launches a foreground survey dialog at 6am everyday that asks the
user to respond to six survey questions.
• Users were paid $1 USD for every completed daily survey as participation incentive.
Battery Impact
• Periodic scanning of Blue- tooth and WLAN APs reduced operational
battery life by approximately 10-15 percent
• Based on the service model & individual usage patterns, the average
usable battery life was between 14-24 hours
• Using wireless Internet on Windows Mobile devices for 4-5 hours
continuously on some handset models can drain batteries completely
Behavioral Effects of Low Intensity
• For a runny nose condition,participants showed increased total
communication as well as increased late-night early morning
• Total counts of Bluetooth proximity and measures of WLAN
entropy increases, which is perhaps counter-intuitive.
Behavior Effects of Higher-Intensity
• For fever, variations are observed in the late night early morning behavior
• Phone communication,buletooth proximity counts & bluetooth entropy all show
a decrease for late night-early morning window.
Phase Slope Index Method
• Spectral estimation method
designed to measure
temporal information flux
between time-series signals.
• It is based on the knowledge
that phase slope of the crossspectrum of two signals can
be used to estimate
information flux between
these signals in the time
• More noise immune then
Granger analysis
• We run PSI on two time series of varying length n,
representing number of continous samples available
per user.
• In order to apply PSI to our dataset, the subset of
participants that show both physical symptoms and
stress and depression related responses are
Related work
Mobile phones as social sensors
• Reality Mining
• Random walk or Levy flight models
• Sociometric badge
• The analysis in this paper does account for confounding behavior
changes due to various external events, e.g. exams
• Prediction model does not use stochastic information about
symptoms or behaviors from previous days
• Mobile sensing & modeling aspect well discussed in this paper
To conclude
• The paper emphasizes on important factors related to epidimiology
with reachable information
• Ubiquitous computing & its norms are brought to light
• It is shown that it possible to determine the health status of
individuals using information gathered by mobile phones alone,
without having actual health measurements about the subject
• A study considering people of a larger society would make it more
• More emphasis on internal patterns with proper definitions