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Usability Evaluation of Natural Language Annotation of Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

Respond by: 4th October 2021


The intention of this study is to collect feedback on the usability of a natural language-based approach to annotation of Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) in a home environment. Participants will be asked to perform several forms of annotation and then asked to provide usability feedback for each.

The role of participants in this study is to execute a prescribed list of activities (ADLs), while annotating the data verbally using prescribed methods, and to afterwards participate in a survey / questionnaire that will help us gauge participant attitudes, perceptions, and preferences towards each method.

What will happen to me if I take part?

You will attend an assigned session at the Robotic Assisted Living Testbed (RALT), at The Lyell Centre, Heriot-Watt University. The experiment itself should take no more than one hour.

Upon arrival, you will be briefed with information that will help you in exercising your role in the study. Much of this information is also contained in this document, for your reference.

During your session, you will be introduced to the testbed facilities, which seek to mimic a modern one bedroom smart apartment. You will be asked to treat the apartment as if it were your own home in order to encourage naturalistic behaviour while you complete your tasks.

You will be provided with a list of activities which you will be expected to complete during your time in the testbed, which you should attempt to follow as closely as you can. If you make mistakes, please do not worry, just continue on as best as you can. You will complete the activities once for each annotation method.

Once you have completed all of the prescribed activities, you will be invited to complete a questionnaire about your experience. After which, the data from your session will be immediately collated and stored in a local database of participant data for later analysis.

You may sign up to take part online or using the contact details near the bottom of the page:

Who can take part?

It is required that participants be adults who either speaks English as their first language, or fluenty as a second language, may take part in this study.

Note that the study will involve performing activities in a home environment that has not been modified for those with specific access requirements.

Do I have to take part?

Taking part is entirely voluntary. You may choose not to take part or subsequently cease participation at any time. We will ask you to sign a consent form to show you agreed to take part. You may exercise your right to withdraw at any time by informing a member of the research team.

What do participants get for taking part in this study?

Provided you are not directly involved in the research (i.e. not a member of CARE Group), you will receive a £10 Amazon voucher for your participation in this study. In electing to participate, your time and effort will contribute to the research effort in improving assistive natural language and robotic systems.

Where and when will the study take place?

Will my taking part in the study be kept confidential?

Basic demographic information (gender, age, ethnicity and handedness) will be collected prior to the commencement of data collection. Each participant will be given a code known only to the researcher and supervisor. Your demographic information will be seen only by members of the research team.

You can ask for your personal participant data to be deleted at any time by emailing or contacting one of the people listed below. Anonymous excerpts from your responses to our questionnaire, may be published in appropriate scientific conferences or journals.

What will happen if I don’t carry on with the study?

If you withdraw from the study all the information and data collected from you, to date, will be destroyed and your name removed from all the study files.

What will happen to the results of the research study?

The results will be reviewed by the researchers and their supervisor and will be used to disseminate the results of the project. Subsequently, written material and datasets associated with the project may proceed to scientific publication in specialist scientific journals. Datasets collected may be made available online, via the university website and/or those of the third-party scientific publications.

Who is organising or sponsoring the research?

The research is organised by persons academically affiliated with Heriot-Watt University, The University of Edinburgh, and the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics (a joint venture between Heriot-Watt University and The University of Edinburgh). Members of the research team are supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (grant EP/L016834/1), EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Robotics and Autonomous Systems.

How can I take part?

Please get in touch with the researchers running the study:

Who has reviewed the study?

This research has been reviewed by the Ethics Committee in the School of Engineering & Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt University, project number 1482.

Privacy Notice

If you would like to find out more about what Heriot-Watt University (the data controller) does with your personal data and your rights under privacy law, please read our information for participants in academic research projects, or contact our Data Protection Officer, by post at Data Protection Officer, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, EH14 4AS, or by email at