Extending the Sensing of Online Social Networks – A Healthcare Perspective

Asma Wasfi Fayez Mustafa


Obesity is a rising health concern in the United Arab Emirates. Obesity leads to health risks such as diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions. It may also lead to eating disorders, depression, and low self-esteem. Regular exercising helps to protect from obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and better manage stress. Despite all the benefits of exercising, people are doing less of it.

In this research, an effort is made to encourage people to exercise by extending the prevalent sensing abilities of Online Social Networks (OSNs). Sensors are used to collect and generate data to be processed, clustered and shared via a locally developed application named ‘Care’. Obviously, different issues (such as privacy and personal-data access) have also been addressed.

The purpose of this research is to improve social networking in the area of healthcare by extending the integration of Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) with Online Social Networks (OSNs). The integrated system tracks and locates friends and family members, encourages exercise, and enables doctors to view specific information such as heart rate. The solution is developed for an Android operating system. It provides the user with the set of services: (i) showing specific places (ii) sharing the user location; (iii) showing nearby friends; (iv) clustering nearby friends; (v) calculating and sharing distance moved, calories burned and active time; (vi) getting and sharing weather temperature; and (vii) calculating, tracking and sharing the user heart rate. A data privacy model is developed using data levels and user roles to ensure privacy.