Child's play: activity recognition for monitoring children's developmental progress with augmented toys
Westeyn, Tracy Lee
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The way in which infants play with objects can be indicative of their developmental progress and may serve as an early indicator for developmental delays. However, the observation of children interacting with toys for the purpose of quantitative analysis can be a difficult task. To better quantify how play may serve as an early indicator, researchers have conducted retrospective studies examining the differences in object play behaviors among infants. However, such studies require that researchers repeatedly inspect videos of play often at speeds much slower than real-time to indicate points of interest. The research presented in this dissertation examines whether a combination of sensors embedded within toys and automatic pattern recognition of object play behaviors can help expedite this process. For my dissertation, I developed the Child'sPlay system which uses augmented toys and statistical models to automatically provide quantitative measures of object play interactions, as well as, provide the PlayView interface to view annotated play data for later analysis. In this dissertation, I examine the hypothesis that sensors embedded in objects can provide sufficient data for automatic recognition of certain exploratory, relational, and functional object play behaviors in semi-naturalistic environments and that a continuum of recognition accuracy exists which allows automatic indexing to be useful for retrospective review. I designed several augmented toys and used them to collect object play data from more than fifty play sessions. I conducted pattern recognition experiments over this data to produce statistical models that automatically classify children's object play behaviors. In addition, I conducted a user study with twenty participants to determine if annotations automatically generated from these models help improve performance in retrospective review tasks. My results indicate that these statistical models increase user performance and decrease perceived effort when combined with the PlayView interface during retrospective review. The presence of high quality annotations are preferred by users and promotes an increase in the effective retrieval rates of object play behaviors.