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Published: 02 Jun, 2016

When “smart” apps become smart for real

NEWS How can a smart application recognise and reason about a human’s purposeful activities in order to be able to coach in a purposeful way? Esteban Guerrero, doctoral student at Umeå University, presents new computer-based methods for this that are based on activity-centric and argument-based theories. He defends his thesis Tuesday June 7.

In daily life humans evaluate his or her activities based on more or less explicit information. A skier uses information about arm- and leg movements, distance, environment, etc. based on the goals the person has set up. But there are also factors that affect that are less explicit, such as the motives behind improving health, social inclusion, etc.

Esteban Guerrero’s research was aimed at developing theories and methods that include also complex factors in the computations of capacity and performance. When more complex factors are included, the methods need to handle uncertainty and changing conditions.

By using and developing theories based on human activity and reasoning such as activity theory and argumentation theory, different interpretations of a situation can be generated and evaluated, and adjusted when new information is collected, and this in a way that the human recognises and can participate in.

Esteban Guerrero has taken a starting point in assessment methods used by therapists, among other an instrument for measuring balance and strength in older adults for preventing falls, and developed new generic methods that a computer system can use. These methods build on activity-theoretical models of human activity and on new-developed argumentation-theoretical frameworks.

The methods were implemented in mobile apps that have been tested among other older adults, for the purpose to evaluate capacity and performance in exercises that aim at measure different aspects of strength and balance. This was done in collaboration with physiotherapists at the department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation at Umeå University.

“The methods could be used in for instance “smart homes”, for example diagnosis- and treatment apps that the person can use at home, or an app measuring and evaluating balance and strength for preventing falls in older adults”, Esteban Guerrero says.

Esteban Guerrero has performed his graduate studies within the User, Interaction and Knowledge Modelling research group at the Department of Computing Science at Umeå University.

Esteban Guerrero has a Master's degree in Computing Science from Malmö University and a Bachelor degree in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering from the University of Cauca – Colombia. He was born in Ipiales, a south-western city of Colombia.

Read a digital publication of the dissertation

For more information, please contact:

Esteban Guerrero, Department of Computing Science, Umeå UniversityPhone: +46 73-748 18 79
Email: esteban.guerrero@umu.se

Web page: http://www8.cs.umu.se/~esteban/

Portrait photo for download. Photo: private

About the public defence of the dissertation:

On Tuesday 7 June, Esteban Guerrero defends his dissertation entitled: Representing and Reasoning about Complex Human Activities - an Activity-Centric Argumentation-Based Approach.

The public defence of the dissertation takes place at 13:15, in MA121 in the MIT Building at Umeå University.

Faculty opponent is Professor Chris Reed, Department of Computing, University of Dundee, Scotland, UK.

Editor: Ingrid Söderbergh