DCU at leading edge of lifelogging research
DCU this week hosted a TV film crew from the Discovery Channel who were visiting CLARITY to record scenes and to interview Dr Cathal Gurrin (CLARITY Collaborator and School of Computing Lecturer) for series 3 of a show entitled ‘Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman’. Through the Wormhole is an US science documentary television series narrated by US actor Morgan Freeman. Through the Wormhole brings together the brightest minds and best ideas from the world of science to discuss new groundbreaking technologies. The show regularly features the "Rock Stars of Science", such as Michio Kaku and Brian Cox. Series 3 of Through the Wormhole will be aired in mid 2012.
Cathal was describing and demonstrating CLARITY's work in the area of lifelogging, that is using wearable and environmental sensors to automatically capture and semantically understand life experience in as much detail as possible. This lifelog then becomes a digital archive of your daily life for your own exclusive personal use. It is a form of reverse surveillance, sometimes termed sousveillance, referring to us – the subjects – doing the watching.
Dr Cathal Gurrin
While recent technical advances in digital sensing and storage have allowed early adaptors to collect and store vast quantities of lifelog information, the next big challenge will be in managing, processing and presenting the incredible volumes of lifelog information which we can capture. This is the focus of CLARITY's research efforts in the lifelogging area. CLARITY researchers have made advances in three areas of lifelog related research; sensor data mining to identify everyday activities automatically, lifelog search engines to easily locate any digital memory event and finally presentation technologies to support different uses of lifelogs.
“Lifelogging is an area of research that we in CLARITY have been involved in since 2006. We are now internationally recognised leaders in the field” says Gurrin. “Our passion is the development of automatic understanding tools to gather and segment life experience, researching the new search engines that operate over these vast digital archives and making them as easy to use as executing a Google search.”
The potential benefits of lifelogging research are immense and range from providing a better quality of life for people with memory difficulties to developing new and novel techniques for market research and CLARITY has work in both these, and other application areas. “Being on a TV show such as Through the Wormhole elevates our research to a worldwide stage and shows the potential of Irish research to break new ground and develop new technologies that can benefit all of society”