About Us

PIPIN (Promoting Independence through Personalized INteractive technologies) is a cross-disciplinary research network funded by the University of Sheffield Digital World cross-cutting theme, which is a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary theme covering the development, use and impact of digital technologies in a range of different disciplines and user environments, including health, society, the arts, and humanities.

The societal and economic challenges posed by population ageing are well-documented. Improvements in public health, diagnostics, treatment and care are resulting in an extended lifespan for many people including those with long term disabling conditions. This longevity is creating increased demand for health and social care services which is set to escalate. It is therefore both necessary and desirable (from economic, societal and individual perspectives) to help people to retain independence and foster their participation in society rather than encouraging dependency and reliance upon statutory provision. Use of digital technologies is one important means of achieving this. The growing opportunities presented by new technologies combined with the digitalisation of the region is the focus of this network.

The following core themes underpin network activities:-
  • A focus upon assistive technologies; that is devices that are designed to enable older and people with disabilities to retain independence, in some instances with assistance from health and social care services. 
  • Device construction and testing that is informed by the needs and wants of the end-user. 
  • The capacity to personalise the technology to meet the individual needs of specific users. 
The overall goal for this network is to examine how existing and future technical capacity and capability can be used to benefit older people and those with long-term disabling conditions. The network intends to examine the technical paradigm shift that personalised assistive technology requires and to explore the implications of providing assistive technologies with personalised interfaces, including the impact of the tailoring of technology upon user acceptance, independence, autonomy and overall lifestyle. These will be achieved through three PIPIN projects:

Project 1: Adaptive lifestyle monitoring

Doctoral Student: Sandipan Pal 


Supervisors: Dr Charith Abhayaratne (Electronic and Electrical Engineering) and Prof. Mark Hawley (School of Health and Related Research)                                     

Project 2: Interaction with PALS (Personal Adaptive Listening Systems)

Doctoral Student: Iñigo Casanueva 
Supervisors: Prof. Phil Green (Computer Science) and Prof. Bill Wells (Human Communication Sciences) 

Project 3: What makes an assistive technology in the home invaluable or alternatively abandoned?

Doctoral Student: Mark Hawker
Supervisors: Dr Bridgette Wessels (Sociological Studies), Prof. Gail Mountain (School of Health and Related Research)