Continual activity recognition with generative adversarial networks

Juan Ye, Pakawat Nakwijit, Martin Schiemer, Saurav Jha, Franco Zambonelli

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Continual learning is an emerging research challenge in human activity recognition (HAR). As an increasing number of HAR applications are deployed in real-world environments, it is important and essential to extend the activity model to adapt to the change in people's activity routine. Otherwise, HAR applications can become obsolete and fail to deliver activity-aware services. The existing research in HAR has focused on detecting abnormal sensor events or new activities, however, extending the activity model is currently under-explored. To directly tackle this challenge, we build on the recent advance in the area of lifelong machine learning and design a continual activity recognition system, called HAR-GAN, to grow the activity model over time. HAR-GAN does not require a prior knowledge on what new activity classes might be and it does not require to store historical data by leveraging the use of Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN) to generate sensor data on the previously learned activities. We have evaluated HAR-GAN on four third-party, public datasets collected on binary sensors and accelerometers. Our extensive empirical results demonstrate the effectiveness of HAR-GAN in continual activity recognition and shed insight on the future challenges.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalACM Transactions on Internet of Things
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2021


  • Generative adversarial networks
  • Continual learning
  • Human activity recognition
  • Smart home
  • Accelerometer


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