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Open Access Publications from the University of California

CENS, a NSF Science & Technology Center, is developing Embedded Networked Sensing Systems and applying this revolutionary technology to critical scientific and social applications. Like the Internet, these large-scale, distributed, systems, composed of smart sensors and actuators embedded in the physical world, will eventually infuse the entire world, but at a physical level instead of virtual. An interdisciplinary and multi-institutional venture, CENS involves hundreds of faculty, engineers, graduate student researchers, and undergraduate students from multiple disciplines at the partner institutions of University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), University of Southern California (USC), University of California Riverside (UCR), California Institute of Technology (Caltech), University of California at Merced (UCM), and California State University at Los Angeles (CSULA).

Cover page of AndWellness: An Open Mobile System for Activity and Experience Sampling

AndWellness: An Open Mobile System for Activity and Experience Sampling


Advances in technology and infrastructure have positioned mobile phones as a convenient platform for real-time assessment of an individuals health and behavior, while offering unprecedented accessibility and affordability to both the producers and the consumers of the data. In this paper we address several of the key challenges that arise in leveraging smartphones for health: designing the complex set of building blocks required for an end-to-end system, motivating participants to sustain engagement in long-lived data collection, and interpreting both the data and the quality of the data collected.

We present AndWellness, a mobile to web platform that records, analyzes, and visualizes data from both prompted experience samples entered by the user, as well as continuous streams of data passively collected from sensors onboard the mobile device. In order to address the system design and participation motivation challenges, we have incorporated feedback from hundreds of behavioral and technology researchers, focus group participants, and end-users of the system in an iterative design process. AndWellness additionally includes rich system and user analytics to instrument the act of participation itself and ultimately to contextualize and better understand the factors affecting the quality of collected data over time. We evaluate the usability and feasibility of AndWellness using data from 3 studies with a variety of populations including young moms and recent breast cancer survivors. More than 85% of the diverse set of participants who responded to exit surveys claim they would use AndWellness for further personal behavior discovery.