The European PHENOTYPE study is investigating the relationship between the natural environment and human health and wellbeing. The study led by Mark Nieuwenhuijsen at ISGlobal (previously CREAL) aims to explore people’s exposures to greenspace through the use of a variety of assessment methods.
One approach that was used in a subset of approximately 400 PHENOTYPE study subjects in four European countries was an Android smartphone app. The app, CalFit was developed by my research group explicitly for exposure assessment studies. The app tracks time-location patterns using GPS and physical activity using accelerometry. Different versions of the CalFit app were developed to fit the needs of different environmental health studies, including studies in the US and in China. For the PHENOTYPE study an Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) module was developed that asked study subjects to answer occasional questions about their affective state (e.g., stress, happiness, etc.) in different environments. The EMA also prompts subjects to collect videos of their surroundings.
The app was designed for Android version 2.3.6, and was only deployed on Samsung Galaxy Y study phones. Since development of the CalFit app was carried out a few years ago, no testing on current generation Android phones has been done, and it is unclear whether the app still operates as designed with newer versions of Android or newer phones. The app is available here, without support and with minimal documentation:
While CalFit is no longer being supported, my group is developing a new app from scratch to leverage the current capabilities of smart devices. It will be released under a new name, and with a new focus not only on environmental exposure assessment, but on behavioral health. Look for this new app to be used in the NIH “Native-Controlling Hypertension and Risk Through Technology (NATIVE-CHART)” study led by Dedra Buchwald at Washington State University.
If you have interest in using the new app, please contact me: Edmund Seto email@example.com