Sneha Das – “Generation of Multi-Party Dialogues Among Embodied Agents to Promote Active Living and Healthy Diet for Subjects Suffering from Type 2 Diabetes Based on Theories of Behavior Change and Behavior Change Techniques”


StudentSneha Das
StudyBiomedical Engineering, University of Twente (the Netherlands)
Host OrganisationRoessingh Research and Development
Finalized DateJanuary 2019


Diabetes Mellitus is a chronic condition that is showing a rise in numbers in terms of prevalence and incidence across both the developed and developing countries of the globe. The condition also contributes towards other detrimental ailments such as cardiovascular diseases, blindness and gangrene in the foot region. This calls for health measures that would enable a proactive, self-management of the condition and aid the individual to lead a normal life and prevent further progression of Diabetes. With the advancements in the Internet and Internet of Things which has led to the development of e-health, the concept of personalized virtual coaching is being looked into. Since the concepts of being proactive and self-management are being discussed to cope with Diabetes, it is necessary for the individuals to feel inspired, motivated and actively involve themselves in the optimal decision-making process for the betterment of their health.

The work done during the course explores the mitigation factors that would control Diabetes Mellitus. It was found out that an active living and a good diet are the corner stones in the treatment of this condition. Thus, the Theories of Behaviour Change through the Behaviour Change Techniques are being applied to motivate the individuals to improve or change their lifestyle and(or) diet. The objective of the course is to develop dialogues based on the Theories of Behaviour Change and Behaviour Change Techniques, among embodied conversational agents who would play the role of various coaches focusing on virtual user-centric coaching to motivate the users to adopt a healthy lifestyle and diet.

Results & Outcomes

The Theories of Behaviour Change and the BCTs discussed under the section of Methods are the cornerstones on which the dialogue development has been implemented. The dialogues are written to promote the interaction among the ECAs and between the ECAs and the subject(user). The main objective of the dialogues is to motivate the subject to be physically active and adopt a healthy diet which in turn would result in preventing further progression of T2DM.

For the purpose of the generation of dialogues, three ECAs have been created who would be providing a virtual coaching to the subject. The virtual coaches have expertise in physical exercise and fitness training or are nutritionists. The third ECA is a volunteer who is also a diabetic subject but is dealing with the condition in a successful manner. In addition to the feature of virtual coaches, a family member(spouse) can also be a part of this coaching module. Since the spouse would be well aware of the subject’s condition this option has been considered. Based on the Theories of Behaviour Change, BCTs and the ECAs, five dialogue sets were developed. The work performed in this student assignment resulted in the following publication:

(Das, Beinema, op den Akker, & Hermens, 2019) Kuthethur Sneha Jagannath Das, Tessa Beinema, Harm op den Akker and Hermie Hermens, “Generation of Multi-Party Dialogues among Embodied Conversational Agents to Promote Active Living and Healthy Diet for Subjects Suffering from Type 2 Diabetes“, in Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies for Ageing Well and e-Health – Volume 1: ICT4AWE, 297-304, 2019, Heraklion, Crete, Greece.

Read Thesis Online