Current Projects

Piloting a sustainable community-care ecosystem of gamified digital health technologies to improve elderly mobility and well-being in Singapore

Funding Agency: National Research Foundation

Funding Quantum: SGD $249, 665.26

Duration of Award: April 2022 to September 2023

Role: Principal Investigator

What the project is about:

The aim of this research is to pilot a small-scale, sustainable community-centric, and participatory digital health model. We aim to build capacity among stakeholder organizations and individuals in the community and to leverage the use of gamified health apps and wearables to have a positive impact on well-being and mobility of elderly residents.

At the end of the project, our existing and extensive stakeholders such as community centres, caregivers, health coaches and volunteers would be equipped to implement the use of exergames—video games that require physical exercise and movements—with wearables and health apps to motivate elderly residents to exercise, thereby improving mobility and their psychological and social well-being. They would also be trained to take advantage of the data generated from the wearables and health apps to examine the state of their mobility and learn how to improve it.

Seniors competing in the finals of ARISE and Exercise Fun Day Exergame Competition 2022 at Hinghwa Methodist Church

Our vision is to improve digital literacy, raise awareness regarding benefits of using digital health technologies (DHTs) and motivate a healthy lifestyle in a gamified and social manner among our stakeholders and the elderly. Successful completion of the project will bring us a step closer towards Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative to develop the ability to use technology safely and ensure equal access for all.

Exergame finalists with three Guests-of-Honor: Dr. Wan Rizal, Member of Parliament for Jalan Besar GRC (Kolam Ayer), Professor May Lwin (Chair of Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information), and Dr. Thomas Meyer (Managing Director of Singapore ETH-Centre).

ARISE and Exercise Exergame Competition Fun Day Event 2022 at Hinghwa Methodist Church

Examining health mobile apps and wearables use through the lenses of communication equality

Funding Agency: Ministry of Education (MOE) Tier 1

Funding Quantum: SGD $50, 000

Duration of Award: March 2021 to February 2024

Role: Principal Investigator

What the project is about:

The proliferation of health apps and wearables have the potential to address some of the most pressing health challenges by empowering individuals to take ownership of their health through active health monitoring. However, scholars have highlighted that health apps and wearables may inadvertently widen health disparities as only the financially well-off are able to take advantage of these technologies for health. This study aims to examine factors and barriers associated with health apps and wearables use through the lenses of communication equality, with the aim of building a health app prototype that is usable and accessible to all Singaporeans.

These aims are achieved through four work packages (WPs) that integrates multi-methods, triangulating both quantitative and qualitative data. WP1 aims to review the general attitude toward health apps and wearables in (a) scholarly databases, (b) social media, and (c) traditional media (e.g., newspapers). WP2 examines the motivations and barriers, and the extent of health apps /wearables use in Singapore when compared to countries at the forefront of digital health revolution—namely the U.S. and China. WP3 will draw qualitative insights on best practices for equitable health apps/wearables design and implementation using in-depth interviews and focus groups with low-income groups, technology developers, and for-profit and non-profit organizations. Finally, WP4 would integrate all findings from WP1-3 to build a user-centered health app prototype for Singaporeans.

The findings from this study would create vital knowledge in key areas, such as benchmarking Singapore’s health apps/wearables use with U.S. and China and identifying motivations and barriers to health apps use. The success of this project would further catalyze research in equitable health apps/wearables in Singapore with the development of a health app prototype which is built with input of policy makers, developers, and users from the get-go.

Leveraging digital health technologies to understand the public health impact of COVID-19: Integrating data science with social science

Funding Agency: Start-Up Grant, Nanyang Technological University

Funding Quantum: SGD $35,000

Duration of Award: August 2022 to August 2023

Role: Principal Investigator

What the project is about:

At the start of 2020, COVID-19 became the most urgent threat to global public health. In addition to the millions of lives claimed and the economic fallout, governments and public health agencies need to deal with the abuse and weaponization of digital health technologies—such as social media platforms—that were used to spread misinformation, as well as face public resistance in implementation of digital health solutions to curb COVID-19.

This study aims to address two broad research questions in the use of digital health technologies within COVID19 context. First, it aims to examine what roles did digital health technologies play in promoting information, misinformation and disinformation on COVID-19. Second, it aims to examine the impact of exposure to information on COVID-19 and related topics on public knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. Finally, it aims to understand the underlying motivations and barriers of the public in adopting or resisting digital health technologies in combatting COVID19. The research questions would be addressed through a combination of traditional social scientific (e.g., in-depth interviews, surveys) and computational approaches (e.g., social media and smartphone mining, machine learning) via three distinct work packages.