Wearable Cameras

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wearable cameras
Wearable cameras take first-person point-of-view images and are now helping health researchers better understand lifestyle behaviors. Credit: A.R. Doherty et al.

wearable camera images
Sample wearable camera images capturing sedentary, travel and nutrition-related behaviors. Credit: Jacqueline Kerr et al.

A collection of studies in a special theme issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine concludes that understanding the relationships between lifestyle and health outcomes can be improved through the use of wearable cameras. There, three studies report on the latest preventive medicine research using Microsoft's version of this type of equipment, the SenseCam.

"Wearable cameras and their associated software analysis tools have developed to the point that they now appear well suited to measure sedentary behavior, active travel, and nutrition-related behaviors," comments one of the authors Aiden R. Doherty, PhD, from the Department of Public Health at the Oxford University in the UK. "Individuals may recall events more accurately after reviewing images from their wearable cameras, and in addition aspects of their immediate cognitive functioning may also improve."

A paper titled "Using the SenseCam to Improve Classifications of Sedentary Behavior in Free-Living Settings," shows, for example, the advantages of cameras over accelerometers in providing both type and context information about sedentary behavior. Jacqueline Kerr and colleagues found that while TV viewing, other screen use, and administrative activities were correctly classified by accelerometers, the standing postures are often misclassified as sedentary behavior. Additionally, a nearly 30-minute per day difference was found in sedentary behavior estimates based on the accelerometer versus the SenseCam.

A study by researchers in Ireland analyzes how such cameras were employed to improve the recording of dietary intake of jockeys, Gaelic footballers, and physically active college students. The researchers, led by Gillian O'Loughlin of Dublin City University, report that images from the SenseCam provide additional information regarding dietary intake patterns, such as portion size, forgotten foods, leftovers, and brand names. Using these cameras also revealed a significant under-reporting of calorie intake, which is a prevalent and critical error of food diaries and self-reporting. Adding wearable cameras to dietary analysis provides a valuable tool not only for athletes, who closely monitor calorie intake, but may also present dieticians and health providers with the ability to better assess and treat those in need of dietary management.

In a study titled "Benefits of SenseCam Review on Neuropsychological Test Performance," Ana R. Silva and colleagues highlight how these cameras can act as a cognitive stimulant in the short term. Compared to re-reading diary entries, Microsoft's SenseCam was found to improve autobiographic memory by prompting events reflected in the images, underlining the possibilities for using SenseCam in memory rehabilitation. While future research is still needed, the researchers propose that such cameras have the potential to reduce the resources required in treating neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's.

Another study, "The Smartphone as a Platform for Wearable Cameras in Health Research," recognizes obstacles in the widespread adoption of Microsoft's SenseCam, and thus presents smartphones as a viable, and in some cases, enhanced alternative.

An article by Paul Kelly and colleagues identifies and addresses the ethical implications of using these cameras in research. Because they are, by their very nature, intrusive, a framework for future ethical practice is proposed.

Such parasitoid behavior is common among wasps. The author of the original research article, Dr. Korenko from the Department of Agroecology and Biometeorology of the Czech University of Life Sciences explains: "Several groups of Hymenoptera develop on spider hosts feeding on the flesh of the spider or on its eggs. The parasitoids attack a number of spiders ranging from ground-dwelling and fast-moving hunters like wolf spiders to web spiders such as orb-web weavers that stay on webs during most of their life."



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