College of Agriculture, Engineering
and Science (CAES)

Dr Olutosin Taiwo with her children, Oluwaseyifunmi and Oluwadarasimi.

Mobile Applications Designed to Improve Home Convenience and Human Well-being

Dr Olutosin Taiwo graduated with a PhD from UKZN’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science (SMSCS) specialising in Computer Science.

Taiwo gained her Bachelor of Science honours degree from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye and her Master of Science from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, both in Ogun State, Nigeria. She registered for a PhD degree at UKZN in order to broaden her knowledge and research skills. She commented that she was drawn to the University by its well-equipped facilities and the availability of experienced supervisors.

Motivated by the desire to undertake research that improves people’s quality of life, Taiwo’s PhD focused on using the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies enhanced by machine learning and deep learning models to design systems for the remote control, monitoring and surveillance of the home, its appliances and the surrounding environment.

She designed mobile applications using IoT surveillance cameras and an Android-based mobile application to alert the occupants to an intruder. In order to avoid false alarms, her study proposed the use of machine learning and deep learning models to enhance system intelligence by discretely and automatically distinguishing between the images or motion patterns of regular home occupants and that of an intruder. The Android-based application also enables the occupants to monitor and adjust humidity and temperature in the home.

Taiwo said that the research findings can be used by companies to develop mobile applications that enable users to control home appliances, monitor environmental factors and ensure security from any location at any time.

The second aspect of her PhD study involved using IoT sensors to monitor patients’ health status remotely and thus reduce hospital visits and enhance communication between patients and their healthcare providers. An Android-based mobile application was designed to record and transmit patients’ vital physiological readings to their doctors.

Taiwo said that she appreciated UKZN’s state-of-the-art facilities, provision of data during the COVID-19 pandemic and the provision of equipment and software which facilitated her research. She presented two research papers at the virtual International Conference on Computational Science and its Applications, Italy, in 2020 and has published three articles in reputable journals. She was also awarded third prize for oral presentations at the SMSCS’ 2021 Postgraduate Research and Innovation Symposium.

Taiwo is currently continuing her research and hopes to secure a postdoctoral or lecturing position. She aims eventually to become a university professor.

She expressed her gratitude to her supervisor, Professor Absalom Ezugwu for his mentorship, guidance and patience, and her husband, Dr Adeolu Taiwo, a UKZN alumnus, for his care, support and encouragement during her studies. He said that he admires his wife’s determination, zeal, diligence and perseverance, adding: ‘I am blessed to have her as my wife.’

Ezugwu praised Taiwo for her focus and excellent understanding of her research topic, as well as her technical contribution to smart home automation.

Words: Leena Rajpal

Photograph: Supplied