School of
Information Technology and Electrical Engineering

Speaker: Dr Chelsea Dobbins (Limming)
Seminar Date: Tue, 13/03/2018 - 09:00
Venue: 50-N201
Host: Assoc Prof Stephen Viller

Seminar Type:  ITEE Research Seminar


Positive mental health is a fundamental aspect of health and wellbeing. However, mental health issues are a very common but serious concern. Approximately 45% of Australians experience a mental health condition in their lifetime; however, 54% of people with a mental illness do not access treatment [1], [2]. Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia, which affects 1 in 4 people [2]. One contributing factor or by-product of mental illness are negative emotions, such as stress and anxiety. Whilst stress isn't a psychiatric diagnosis, it is closely linked to mental health and is associated with the process of inflammation in the human body, which is predictive and clinically relevant for the development of disease in the long-term, including Coronary Heart Disease. However, the development of effective coping strategies can mediate this causal chain.

Our capacity to self-regulate negative emotion is particularly important to mitigate the process of inflammation and improve our mental wellbeing. This can be achieved by utilizing technology to quantify and visualise the presence of negative emotions. It is envisioned that lifelogging technology can aid this by bridging the gap between the conscious and subconscious by gathering and visualising unconscious psychophysiological changes and linking this with external environmental data to provide context of those times. Lifelogging is the practice of automatically recording our lives in digital form. This is supported by the proliferation of ubiquitous and unobtrusive sensor technology, which enables an increased awareness of those physiological states associated with negative emotion and the development of effective coping strategies, via interactive visualisations. Smartphone and wearable devices utilise multiple on-board sensors that can capture daily behaviours in a permanent and comprehensive manner, which can be used as the basis for self-reflection and insight. However, there are several inherent challenges, including unobtrusive monitoring, data processing, analysis and informative visualisations.


[1]       Black Dog Institute, “Facts & figures about mental health,” 2017. [Online]. Available:

[2]       Australian Bureau of Statistics, “National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007,” 2008.


Dr Chelsea Dobbins (Limming), BSc (Hons), PhD, received her BSc (Hons) in Software Engineering and PhD in Computer Science, focusing on Human Digital Memories and Lifelogging, from Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) in 2010 and 2014, respectively. In 2015, she successfully secured competitive external funding from the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in which she was the Principle Investigator (PI) for a cross-disciplinary project in collaboration with the School of Natural Sciences and Psychology at LJMU (Grant ref: EP/M029484/1). This project was concerned with the development of a mobile lifelogging platform to detect negative emotions during real-life driving. The project also explored the ways in which physiological and contextual data can be processed, amalgamated and relayed back to the user in an informative visualisation, which can be used for self-reflection to incite positive behavioural changes. She has 38 associated publications, including 13 journals and 16 IEEE conference papers, in the areas of Lifelogging, Digital Health, Human Computer Interaction, Machine Learning, Mobile Computing, Mobile/Wearable Sensors, Human Digital Memories, Pervasive Computing, Signal Processing, and Physiological Computing. She has also successfully contributed to externally funded projects, including cross-disciplinary research involving Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust, LJMU Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, LJMU School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, and LJMU School of Natural Sciences & Psychology. During these projects she was solely responsible for the design, development and management of several cross-platform mobile applications.

Seminar duration: 45 mins