The PInSoRo Dataset

Website of the Freeplay sandbox dataset (PInSoRo)

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Accessing the full dataset

The PinSoRo dataset is a collection of multimodal (video, audio, touch interaction) recordings of the social and communicative behavior of children ages 4-8 years, gathered in the context of a semi-structured, tabletop play interaction with peers or robots. The sessions were recorded in-situ at local schools and nurseries, under a protocol approved by the Plymouth University ethics committee.

How can I get access to the dataset?

Full parents’ consent has been obtained for their children’ data (including video and audio recordings) to be shared for academic purposes only. Due to the privacy-sensitive nature of these recordings, we require a formal approval from your institution’s research ethics committee before you can access the data.

In the US, you can send us an approved protocol from your university’s Institutional Review Board (IRB).

If your research does not require the video and audio recordings of the children, and only anonymised data (like the skeletons and touch interactions) is sufficient, a simpler procedure (that does not require ethics approval) is also available.

Guidelines for setting up an research protocol

In order to be able to receive and analyze data collected at Plymouth University, you will first need to file an application for ethical approval of research involving human participants (IRB application in the US) with your university.

Once you submit the protocol, it will be reviewed by your university’s ethics committee. Because you will not be directly interacting with research participants or collecting any data, your protocol will usually qualify for an expedited review. In most cases, the ethics committee will immediately approve your application for using our dataset. In some cases, the ethics committee may decide they want you to clarify a few details before they approve your application. Feel free to contact us if you encounter any problems going through this process.

Below, we list some of the common questions you may be asked when filling out the application and provide a brief guideline to the answers. Do not be intimidated by the lengthy application, many of the questions will not pertain to you because you are not collecting any data yourself. Make it very clear that your protocol is for data analysis only - that you will not have any direct interaction with human subjects and will only be analyzing data previously collected under an approved protocol at Plymouth University.

Protocol summary/description

Sample text: This protocol will involve the analysis of an existing dataset, which includes video, audio, and other interaction recordings of children aged 4-8 years during play interaction with a peer or a robot. All data was previously collected at Plymouth University, under a university-approved protocol. The parents of the participants consented to sharing their child’s video and audio data with the research community. The data does not contain any personal identifiers that can be linked back to the subjects, except the participants’ images. The goal of our analysis will be to {insert a brief description of you planned analysis of the data}.

Questions about HIPAA, DSMB and Risk

When asked, indicate that this research does NOT involve the collection of health information, so HIPAA does not apply. If asked, indicate that the data will NOT be reviewed by a Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB). If asked, indicate that the study involves Minimal Risk to human subjects.


Sample text: All data was previously collected by researchers at the Plymouth University, under a university-approved protocol. The parents of the participants consented to sharing of their child’s video and audio data with the research community for academic purposes only. The data is labelled with a unique participant code only and does not contain any identifying information, except the participant’s images. The child’s age (expressed in years) is also available.

You will also need to describe your procedures for maintaining the confidentiality of the data to be received: how you will safeguard the data from access by those not authorized to do so, and how the data will be transmitted among your research personnel. We include some sample text below, but of course you should modify it with the specifics of how you intend to store and control access to the data.

Sample text: All data will be saved on a password-protected server maintained by {insert name of your institution}. Only study personnel listed on this application will be granted login credentials to access the directory on the server where the data is stored. The data may also be saved on encrypted external hard drives. No copies of the data will be distributed to anyone not listed on this application.

Sample size

The current dataset includes data from 120 participants.

The number of participants is needed to generate enough data points to develop the computational models that are at the heart of the study.

Any other questions about human subject interaction and data collection

(e.g., Subject Recruitment, Compensation, Informed Consent, Data Collection Plan/Duration, Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria, Potential Risk)

Suggested text: Not applicable. There will be no direct collection of human subject data at {insert name of your institution}. All data was previously collected by researchers at Plymouth University, under a university-approved protocol (see attached). The parents of the subjects have consented to sharing their child’s video and audio data with the research community.

Associated documents

The application will include a section where you can upload any relevant documents. You should upload the following two documents with your application:

The last step after the approval

Once your application has been reviewed and approved, your ethics committee will send you a letter to that effect. Please email us a copy of your protocol along with the approval letter. Once we receive and verify your approval, we will email our ‘green light’. At that point, we ask you to send us a blank 2TB hard-drive (the most convenient option is to order it online and get it delivered at Plymouth University directly). We will copy and encrypt the dataset on it, and send it back to you within a week.

Ship the hard-drive to:

Séverin Lemaignan
Bristol Robotics Laboratory
University of the West of England
Coldharbour Lane - Bristol, BS16 1QY
United Kingdom

Your effort in following these procedures is highly appreciated!

Permitted data use