Thomas Ploetz

thomas.ploetz@newcastle.ac.uk | Visiting Researcher

Thomas Ploetz

I am a Reader in "Computational Behaviour Analysis".

My research agenda is centred on Applied Machine Learning for Computational Behaviour Analysis (CBA), that is I am interested in building computational systems for understanding behaviour through analysing activities. Behavioural data is thereby captured in an opportunistic way and utilising a variety of sensing modalities, most notably ubiquitous and wearable sensors but also cameras, or microphones. This agenda is driven by two main research questions:

  1. How can we design machine learning methods that are robust and reliable for real-world applications with specific focus on sensor data analysis?
  2. How can we build methods and systems that enable objective and accurate assessments of behaviour in naturalistic settings and thus directly contribute to improved understanding of behaviour with specific focus on health and wellbeing.

The key to these is fundamental research in ubiquitous and wearable computing, and specifically in innovative machine learning techniques with strong focus on their application related challenges. As an applied computer scientist I aim for the development and real-world deployment of innovative data analysis techniques beyond artificial settings, which typically comes with an additional and very different set of challenges beyond core method development.

The central theme of my research is to develop techniques and systems that actually have an impact on people's life. Therefore, my research is almost always connected to some practical application (in contrast to purely theoretical work) and I am keen on deploying systems I develop in the "wild", i.e., in real-world settings. The most prominent domain for this kind of work is health, where I am working on computational assessments of behavioural phenotypes of, for example, Parkinson's, Dementia, or Autism.

 

A complete and up-to-date list of all my publications is maintained at my mendeley page:

Thomas Ploetz's citations


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Associated Projects

  • DecorAction
    DecorAction is a PhD project where we explore interaction techniques with decorative objects that surrounds our environments, extending their capabilities, meanings and value further than aesthetics to propose functions that are beyond their tradition...
    August 30, 2011
  • Diri - the actuated helium balloon: a study of autonomous behaviour in interfaces
    As the sophistication of ubiquitous computing technologies increases, with advances in processing power and decreases in size users are being confronted with increasingly intelligent interfaces embedded in everyday devices. This raises an inter...
    August 30, 2011
  • Automated detection of health and welfare problems in pigs
    Justification Subclinical & clinical disease are the main factors responsible for pig system inefficiency, resulting in reductions in productivity and pig welfare. Currently, disease detection is done through human observation or diagnosti...
    August 30, 2011
  • MyPlace: Mobility and PLace for the Age-friendly City Environment
    The aim of MyPlace is to develop and test through real-world research a digital platform and toolkit that will enable members of the public to engage with local councils and other organisations more effectively in the research, planning and design of t...
    August 30, 2011
  • Automated screening for pig pathologies at abattoir
    Visual inspection of carcasses is an important factor for ensuring the quality of meat products. However, manual inspection puts a strain on meat inspector resources, which effectively prevents detailed screening for the purposes of health scheme...
    August 30, 2011
  • Computational analysis of behaviour to detect and predict disease in animals.
    Livestock are a key component in the Human food-chain. Ensuring their wellbeing is therefore of critical importance. In today's food aware society, maintaining the highest levels of animal welfare is a top priority of food producers. Animals whose h...
    August 30, 2011
  • The Break-Time Barometer
    The Break-Time Barometer is a social awareness system, which was developed as part of an exploratory study of the use of situated sensing and displays to promote cohesion in a newly-dispersed workplace. The Break-Time Barometer specifically aims to...
    August 30, 2011
  • Automatic Assessment of Problem Behaviour
    In certain disabilities, children and young adults can exhibit a range of extreme problem behaviours, including episodes of biting, kicking and self-injurious behaviour which might occur numerous times even in a single day. Existing treatments rely upo...
    August 30, 2011
  • Activity Recognition to Improve Motor Performance in Parkinson's Disease
    Through sensors worn on the body or embedded into objects of daily use we can infer the activities performed by a subject. Extracting the characteristics of the data collected by these sensors, i.e. how these activities were performed, would be ben...
    August 30, 2011
  • ACCEL-O-SURG
    The aim of this project was to understand the changes in motor skill that take place during the early phases of learning a new fine motor skill task. For this project specifically, that motor skill was suturing, which we measured by attaching senso...
    August 30, 2011
  • Ambient Kitchen
    The Ambient Kitchen is a platform for research in pervasive computing that was installed at Culture Lab in 2007. It is a proof-of-concept context-aware computing environment, originally designed to demonstrate the potential for technology to support ol...
    August 30, 2011
  • TEDDI: Building Management and Energy Demand
    This research project involves the design and development of a sensing infrastructure that consists of networked physical (e.g. presence sensors, power consumption sensors) and virtual (e.g. calendar and room booking sensors, application usage sensors)...
    August 30, 2011
  • Cueing for Swallowing in Parkinson's
    This cueing device has been developed as a way to behaviourally manage drooling, which is commonly symptomatic of Parkinson’s Disease. The device was developed through a participatory design process, taking into account the needs of people with Parki...
    August 30, 2011
  • Language Learning in the Wild
    Foreign languages are generally taught within a classroom setting using textbook exercises. Despite its wide usage, there are a number of problems with this approach. Students are only able to “rehearse” the language, rather than use it practically...
    August 30, 2011
  • Cueing Technology for Parkinsons
    Approximately 70% of people with Parkinson’s Disease experience problems with swallowing. The resulting build-up of saliva can cause drooling, which is often a source of embarrassment and puts the person at risk of choking or pneumonia if the saliv...
    August 30, 2011
 
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