Leveraging Activity Recognition to Enable Protective Behavior Detection in Continuous Data

Chongyang Wang, Y Gao, Akhil Mathur, A Williams, Nic Lane, N Bianchi-Berthouze
in Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies (IMWUT), Journal article


Protective behavior exhibited by people with chronic pain (CP) during physical activities is very informative to understanding their physical and emotional states. Existing automatic protective behavior detection (PBD) methods rely on pre-segmentation of activities predefined by users. However, in real life, people perform activities casually. Therefore, where those activities present difficulties for people with chronic pain, technology-enabled support should be delivered continuously and automatically adapted to activity type and occurrence of protective behavior. Hence, to facilitate ubiquitous CP management, it becomes critical to enable accurate PBD over continuous data. In this paper, we propose to integrate human activity recognition (HAR) with PBD via a novel hierarchical HAR-PBD architecture comprising graph-convolution and long short-term memory (GC-LSTM) networks, and alleviate class imbalances using a class-balanced focal categorical cross-entropy (CFCC) loss. Through in-depth evaluation of the approach using a CP patients' dataset, we show that the leveraging of HAR, GC-LSTM networks, and CFCC loss leads to clear increase in PBD performance against the baseline (macro F1 score of 0.81 vs. 0.66 and precision-recall area-under-the-curve (PR-AUC) of 0.60 vs. 0.44). We conclude by discussing possible use cases of the hierarchical architecture in CP management and beyond. We also discuss current limitations and ways forward.