Detecting stressful older adults-environment interactions to improve neighbourhood mobility: A multimodal physiological sensing, machine learning, and risk hotspot analysis-based approach

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Not only is the global population ageing, but also the built environment infrastructure in many cities and communities are approaching their design life or showing significant deterioration. Such built environment conditions often become an environmental barrier that can either cause stress and/or limit the mobility of older adults in their neighbourhood. Current approaches to detecting stressful environmental interactions are less effective in terms of time, cost, labour, and individual stress detection. This study harnesses the recent advances in wearable sensing technologies, machine learning intelligence and hotspot analysis to develop and test a more efficient approach to detecting older adults' stressful interactions with the environment. Specifically, this study monitored older adults' physiological reactions (Photoplethysmogram and electrodermal activity) and global positioning system (GPS) trajectory using wearable sensors during an outdoor walk. Machine learning algorithms, including Gaussian Support Vector Machine, Ensemble bagged tree, and deep belief network were trained and tested to detect older adults' stressful interactions from their physiological signals, location and environmental data. The Ensemble bagged tree achieved the best performance (98.25% accuracy). The detected stressful interactions were geospatially referenced to the GPS data, and locations with high-risk clusters of stressful interactions were detected as risk stress hotspots for older adults. The detected risk stress hotspot locations corresponded to the places the older adults encountered environmental barriers, supported by site inspections, interviews and video records. The findings of this study will facilitate a near real-time assessment of the outdoor neighbourhood environment, hence improving the age-friendliness of cities and communities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109533
JournalBuilding and Environment
Volume224
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

Keywords

  • Environmental stress
  • Machine learning
  • Older adult
  • Person-environment interaction
  • Physiological sensing
  • Risk hotspot analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction

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