Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 37 Number 2 2020 pp. 457-483

Human Identification for Activities of Daily Living: A Deep Transfer Learning Approach

Zhu, Hongyi, Samtani, Sagar, Chen, Hsinchun, and Nunamaker, Jay F


Sensor-based home Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) monitoring systems have emerged to monitor elderly people’s self-care ability remotely. However, the unobtrusive, privacy-friendly object motion sensor-based systems face challenges such as scarce labeled data and ADL performer confusion in a multi-resident setting. This study adopts the design science paradigm to develop an innovative deep transfer learning framework for human identification (DTL-HID) to address both challenges. A novel convolutional neural network (CNN) is proposed to automatically extract comprehensive temporal and cross-axial motion patterns for the DTL-HID framework. We rigorously evaluate the DTL-HID framework against state-of-the-art benchmarks (e.g., k Nearest Neighbors, Support Vector Machines, and alternative CNN designs). Results demonstrate our proposed DTL-HID framework can identify the ADL performer accurately even on a small amount of labeled data. We demonstrate a case study and discuss how stakeholders can further apply this approach to unobtrusive smart home monitoring for senior citizens. Beyond demonstrating the framework’s practical utility, we discuss two implications of our design principles to mobile analytics and design science research: (1) extracting temporal and axial local dependencies can capture richer information from multi-axial time-series data and (2) transferring knowledge learned on a relevant source domain with sufficient data can improve the performance of the desired task on the target domain with scarce data.

Key words and phrases: Deep transfer learning, human identification, activities of daily living, deep learning, mobile health, design science, health monitoring