Key Components of ODIN

The ODIN Researcher Website

The ODIN Researcher Website enables social and behavioral science researchers to design their study protocols and manage the continuous stream contextual data as it is being collected from study participants.  Study protocols require the researcher to design a set of questions and a set of associated rules.  A rule is formal specifications of the contexts in which a question should be asked of a study participant.  Within ODIN, rules are compound logical expressions which may refer to data such as:

  • Calendar date and time of day
  • Engagement with particular locations (GPS, RFID, Bluetooth beacon)
  • Physical proximity to other study participants (Bluetooth)
  • Self-reports  triggered by within-app interaction
  • Biosensor data (stress, heart rate using Empatica E4; cognitive engagement via Emotiv Insight).
  • Physical activity (via Google’s activity recognition API)
  • Electronic contact (SMS, phone)
  • Answers to previous questions

The ODIN App

Download the ODIN App here.

The ODIN App allows study participants to register to an researcher-defined study a using a randomly generated “coupon”, as well as obtain information about the study’s purpose and data to be collected, and indicate consent.  After this, the participant can actively self-report events, and be prompted with context-sensitive questions, allowing researchers to collect psychological, behavioral, sociological, and sensor data at the precise moment of interest.

To ensure privacy, collected data is tagged by only the participant’s coupon number, and no personally identifiable information is retained.  While being collected, data is stored on the participant’s smartphone in encrypted form.  Newly acquired data is periodically uploaded to the ODIN server and then deleted from the smartphone.


The ODIN Server

ODIN’s Back End Server mediates between researchers (who use the ODIN website) and the participants (who use the ODIN App).  The Server operates four distinct RESTful services:

  1. The ResearcherService, which manages all requests from and responses to researchers, communicated via the ODIN Researcher Website.
  2. The PhoneAppService, which manages all interactions with the ODIN App that is running on each participants’ phone
  3. The AdminService, which manages all requests from and responses to administrators, communicated via the ODIN Researcher Website.
  4. The DatabaseService, wherein each study has its own isolated database, containing both the definition of the protocol (questions and rules), but also all the data collected from registered participants.

The ODIN server runs on a dedicated machine, behind a secure gateway configured to allow transfers of data into the server from authorized phones, but no possibility of data transfer in the reverse direction (out of the server).

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