Data collection of the first phase completed!

We have finally collected over 60 samples! While this number does not seem to be very large, it required a lot of efforts to reach this milestone. Because we are designing an automated attachment measurement tool, we need to measure attachment with the existing psychiatric assessments to compare the results with the results of our SAM tool. Therefore, each child in our study had to play with us twice with 8 weeks of intervals between either MCAST or SAM assessments.

Another challenge was getting into Glasgow’s primary schools to collect data. The study requires a lot of equipment such as a large black screen, some tripods, some video cameras, a big laptop, a few computer accessories, some toys and a doll house. Bringing all these items with us each time is laborious as we collected data in several schools at the same time.

It is worth noting that we could not have reached this milestone without the support of the parents and the schools we are visiting. We would like to warmly thank the parents, the children and all the kind teachers and staff members at schools that helped us making the study organisation straightforward.

SAM setup: SAM setup: the children tell stories to the computer using the two smart dolls

While it has been an intensive effort, we were delighted by the children’s reactions to our study. They were all so excited to participate and they left our experiment with joy and a big smile everytime! There were some children asking in the school when they could try our games and even some that had done the study came back later in the day to tell us how much fun they had playing with us! These little things also help to keep us motivated to knock out as much work as we can to complete all the tasks that are left.

So, where do we go from here? In an immediate future, we will start analyzing the data we have just collected, manually, as psychiatrics do, and automatically using computers and artificial intelligence. In order to make the computer smart enough to measure attachment, we are going to design some specific algorithms that will use the data we have collected to determine the attachment status of the participant. This will greatly help doctors tofocus on patient in need as we hope that SAM will identify the different attachment categories. We have also collected feedback from children about our game. All the feedback were great and it will allow us to make SAM even better for the next round of data collection!