ConfLab: A Data Collection Concept, Dataset, and Benchmark for Machine Analysis of Free-Standing Social Interactions in the Wild

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Datasets and Benchmarks Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Chirag Raman, Jose Vargas Quiros, Stephanie Tan, Ashraful Islam, Ekin Gedik, Hayley Hung


Recording the dynamics of unscripted human interactions in the wild is challenging due to the delicate trade-offs between several factors: participant privacy, ecological validity, data fidelity, and logistical overheads. To address these, following a 'datasets for the community by the community' ethos, we propose the Conference Living Lab (ConfLab): a new concept for multimodal multisensor data collection of in-the-wild free-standing social conversations. For the first instantiation of ConfLab described here, we organized a real-life professional networking event at a major international conference. Involving 48 conference attendees, the dataset captures a diverse mix of status, acquaintance, and networking motivations. Our capture setup improves upon the data fidelity of prior in-the-wild datasets while retaining privacy sensitivity: 8 videos (1920x1080, 60 fps) from a non-invasive overhead view, and custom wearable sensors with onboard recording of body motion (full 9-axis IMU), privacy-preserving low-frequency audio (1250 Hz), and Bluetooth-based proximity. Additionally, we developed custom solutions for distributed hardware synchronization at acquisition, and time-efficient continuous annotation of body keypoints and actions at high sampling rates. Our benchmarks showcase some of the open research tasks related to in-the-wild privacy-preserving social data analysis: keypoints detection from overhead camera views, skeleton-based no-audio speaker detection, and F-formation detection.