Sensor integrations: Misfit

One of the first integrations that we established for our pilot researchers was for the Misfit Flash. Using the Misfit Cloud API, NUCoach is able to access data collected by the Misfit device (transmitted via the Misfit mobile app) by communicating with the Misfit database. We are able to access information like steps, distance, calories burned, and sleep. In order for us to collect this information, the user must open up the Misfit device at least once per day, preferably at the end of each day so we can access the most accurate summary data.

To set up a participant with Misfit:

  1. Before you start: (a) make sure Bluetooth is turned on; (b) bring extra Misfit devices and batteries; (c) if you have more than one Misfit device with you, remove the batteries from the devices that you are not currently using.
  2. Download the Misfit and NUCoach mobile apps on the participant’s smart phone.
  3. Create a Misfit account for the participant (either on the mobile app or via a web browser). We often provide the user with a new email address so they will not receive marketing emails from Misfit, but any valid email address will work. Make sure to note the username and password–you will need this later.
  4. Link the Misfit device with the Misfit mobile app by following the instructions in the app. It will ask you to select the appropriate device; then it will scan the immediate area to find the device via Bluetooth signal. Once the app has found the device, select that device option in the app to continue the linking process. The device will light up when syncing is successful.
  5. Create a NUCoach account for the participant. (See here for instructions.)
  6. Send the NUCoach username to the project manager so that s/he can add the participant to the correct project and set up an Action Plan (if needed).
  7. Once the participant has been added to the project, the project will become available in the participant’s NUCoach app. Select the available project in the app to continue. This will bring you to the home page (the default home page is an analog clock; this will depend on the project).
  8. Click Profile in the upper right corner. This will direct you to User Preferences.
  9. Make sure that the mobile number located in User Preferences is the participant’s correct mobile number.
  10. Scroll down to Sensor Connections. You will see several sensors available for connection.
  11. Select Misfit, then press Link. This will open the Misfit login page in the native browser on the participant’s phone.
  12. Enter the email and password created in Step 2 and click Sign In. This will take you to another page in the browser to confirm the Misfit’s connection with DeepHealth, the database behind NUCoach. IMPORTANT: The phone may ask how you want to open the following page. Select the browser option and “Just Once.”
  13. If you have successfully linked, you will see this message in the browser: “Successfully linked your Misfit account. You may close this window.” Additionally, the participant will receive a text message from NUCoach confirming the connection.
  14. Ask a coach on the project to set up a sample message that includes a link to NUCoach. Once the message is received (via text), click on the link. As in step 10, the phone may ask how you want to open the link. This time, select NUCoach and “Always.” This will make sure that the user is able to interact with NUCoach as intended.

Troubleshooting:

The Misfit device won’t sync with the Misfit app.

  • Turn Bluetooth off and back on.
  • Replace the battery in the Misfit that you are trying to link.
  • Use a different Misfit device.
  • Restart the phone.
  • Uninstall and reinstall the Misfit application.

NUCoach text message links are opening in a browser instead of NUCoach. (This happens most often in Android devices; The instructions below are general and will be slightly different depending on the specific device.)

  • Find the Settings icon on the user’s phone.
  • Go to Applications (or Apps) and find NUCoach.
  • Find “Open by default” or similar option.
  • The options within “Open by default” will ask how you want to open hyperlinks that trigger NUCoach to open. Select “Open in app” and “Always.”

To disconnect from Misfit:

  1. Open the NUCoach application
  2. Click Profile in the upper right corner. This will direct you to User Preferences.
  3. Scroll down to Sensor Connections. You will see several sensors available for connection.
  4. Select Misfit, then press Unlink. This will prevent our system from collecting Misfit data and sending you additional text messages reminding you to sync.

Sensor and other integrations

The NUCoach platform is very flexible and customizable. Developers can create new modules and integrations through our selection of application program interfaces, or APIs, that allow access to data collected in NUCoach and stored in our database on DeepHealth Lab.

Wait, what is DeepHealth Lab?

DeepHealth Lab is the engine that runs NUCoach. This site connects to an SSL-secured database hosted by DigitalOcean Cloud services. Using this platform, researchers can access raw participant data that is secured using a robust access level management system. DeepHealth Lab’s API  allows for easy integration with outside sensors and services.

Current integrations

Twilio is a cloud communications platform company that allows software developers to programmatically make and receive phone calls and send and receive text messages using its web service APIs. We use Twilio to prompt individuals to complete various coaching tasks at that time. Twilio allows us to insert a link that directly opens our NUCoach mobile app (this function in iOS only).

Wearable sensors, such as Microsoft Band 2, Empatica E4, Misfit devices, Emfit QS,  and Firstbeat Bodyguard 2 (ECG). Using mobile companion applications (for MS Band 2 and Misfit) or simple drag-and-drop upload tools (for E4 and Firstbeat), DeepHealth Lab will automatically convert sensor data into standard MySQL format before storing in our database. These will be described in more detail in a later post.

Helpful links

Download the app

The NUCoach mobile app serves multiple functions. It is the primary interface for client users and facilitates activities like:

  • Delivery of surveys and ecological momentary assessments
  • Delivery of project-related content (e.g. short articles on developing healthy habits)
  • Collecting data from personal devices like Misfit, Fitbit, and Emfit
  • Real-time communication with coaches
  • Access to technical assistance

The main use for coaches in the real-time chat with clients and other coaches. These “chats” pop up on your phone just like a text message or notification, making communication among project teammates simple and seamless.

Our app is available on both the Apple App and Android Play stores. Just look for the heart icon!

Key Features

Here are some of the key features available on NUCoach:

  • Action Plans are collections of activities assigned to a Client by a Coach. Types of activities include:
    • Scheduled surveys
    • Triggered surveys (in beta)
    • To-do lists
    • Photo taking/upload
  • Activity monitoring allows Coaches to see which activities their Clients have completed and which ones they have missed
  • Scheduled reminders deliver semi-tailored messages of encouragement and reinforcement to Clients on behalf of their Coaches
  • Integrating streaming sensors and real-time data analysis (in beta) allow Coaches to amass large amounts of information on their Clients that will help Coaches better customize their approach to each Client. This may also help Coaches get in touch with Clients if problems are detected.
  • Conditional messaging that allows relevant feedback to be personalized and automated based on data collected from integrated wearable sensors.
  • Duplicating Action Plans and Reminder schedules (in beta) allow Coaches to easily copy existing complex Action Plans for other Clients as well as shift the start date and time to account for rolling enrollment
  • Chat and activity logging among Coaches allows for real time coaching collaboration
  • Real time chat between Coaches and Clients gives Client better access to their Coaches at the most convenient time for the Client
  • Unidirectional custom text messages to Clients (initiated by Coaches) and a log of these messages gives Coaches a simple, web-based method of sending text messages to their Clients whenever needed and without looking up phone numbers or email addresses

We are building new features every day, including ways to monitor and download Client data.

User Roles on NUCoach

There are several types of user roles available in NUCoach.

  • Clients are study participants. They can view their own Action Plans (created by their Coach), complete activities, and contact their Coach through the NUCoach mobile app. Clients can only have one active project at a time.
  • Coaches can manage activities for and communicate with Client users. Multiple users can be Coaches on a single project, and a single user can be a Coach on multiple projects at the same time. Coaches cannot add users to projects–they must request this from the Manager.
  • Managers control user and project access. Managers can add users and modules to projects. They can also send communicate with users.
  • Developers have access to the module builder, which is how NUCoach grows! Modules that are verified can be added to research projects.

One user can have multiple roles. For instance, one user can be a Client and a Coach on a single project, a Coach on several additional projects, and a Developer.

How to sign up for NUCoach

To create a NUCoach user:

  • Go to https://nucoach.org/console/#!/login and click Sign Up
  • Required fields: name, username, password, email, and cellphone number (date of birth and gender are optional). You must accept the Terms of Service by clicking the check box.
  • Click Preview. If everything is correct, click Looks Good, Sign Me Up.
  • Congratulations, you have signed up for NUCoach!

Although you have created an account, you will not have access to any content or features until you are given a role on a project.

Welcome to NUCoach

Welcome to the NUCoach documentation blog. NUCoach is a modular health coaching and research platform built by the Health Behavior Informatics Lab at Northeastern University. Supported by DeepHealth Lab technologies, NUCoach is a powerful yet flexible tool that allows health behavior researchers to gather immense amounts of participant data in real world contexts in near real time. Through sensor integrations and experience sampling, we can not only learn more about our participants’ behaviors but be better prepared to intervene in the right context at the right time.

NUCoach is exclusively available for use by members of the Consortium on Technology for Proactive Care.