How do wearables contribute to patient recovery and comfort?

Wearable technology has a positive impact on the health of people. Therefore, on November 20th, TU/Eindhoven and DSP Valley organized an event on ‘Hospitals of the Future’. Focus lied on the impact of wearable and eHealth technologies in the hospital environment.

by DSP Valley

An important aspect in the rehabilitation of patients in the hospital is to get them moving again as soon as possible. This aspect is highlighted in the presentations by Kenneth Meijer (Maastricht University) and Marieke van Beurden (TU/Eindhoven).

MOX wearables

Kenneth Meijer presented how Maastricht University develops wearable technology for activity monitoring. The technology starts from a clinical application and evolves to a full scientific evaluation in the hospital environment. Meijer also introduced the MOX family of wearables, developed to reliably measuring movement by means of 3DOF accelerometers. In the newest generation, the MOX wearables include an ECG module and a gyroscope sensor. They can be connected to various Android and iOS applications through Bluetooth Low Energy.

The hospital Fit app (at TRL 6) and the MOX wearable activity monitor (at TRL 9)

Furthermore Maastricht university showed a more recent development: smart socks, with sensors embedded in the clothing. Pressure sensors in the socks also detect the motion and activity level.

Human Vitality & Technology Program

Marieke van Beurden of TU/Eindhoven had a similar message. ‘Sitting is the new disease’ is a term used to describe an individual not engaging enough in physical activity to be healthy. Reversely, physical inactivity is becoming an important cause of death. Therefore TU/Eindhoven set up a Human Vitality & Technology Program. The program aims to develop sensor technologies and wearable technologies to stimulate physical activity, not only with patients in the hospital, but also with healthy people in daily life. Examples include an interactive running and walking path and a personalized calendar assistant that suggests to regularly move and be physical active.

The Human Vitality & Technology Program develops sensor technologies and wearable technologies to stimulate physical activity.

Smart eye technologies
wearables 2
The Xpert Eye smart glasses connect nurses with a doctor that guides them through tasks in out-hospital situations.

Luc Renson of the ULg Tech Transfer Office introduced some eHealth technologies, now being brought to market by several spin-off companies of the university. Examples include an eye tracking technology by Phasya. This technology is used to detect drowsiness and various related physiological and cognitive states such as stress, attention or mind wandering. Another interesting example is the Xpert Eye smart glasses system. It connects nurses with a doctor that guides them through the tasks in out-hospital situations.

ULg also presented research on neuro-stimulation for chronic pain, where they are modeling the pain system to understand the effect of spinal cord stimulations in chronic pain.

Stroke rehabilitation method

Also some industrial contributions highlighted the importance of wearables and related IoT solutions in the hospitals of the future.

The start-up initiative Constructing Connectivity proposes a stroke rehabilitation method, where improved rehabilitation leads to faster hospital-to-home. The method proposed by founder Jessica Smarsch is based on behavioral experiments. These experiments show that combinations of auditory and visual stimulation help patients to better control their attention than unisensory stimulation. Impaired attention, the most prominent stroke-related neuropsychological change, reduces cognitive productivity and the ability to focus on tasks. Synchronous multisensory cues enable a more rapid and fuller recovery for stroke patients. It creates more synapses between dying neurons of these patients. For the multisensory stimulation and related motion monitoring, Constructing Connectivity develops a wearable with accurate motion sensors and accompanying signal processing for reliable muscle reading.

Synchronous multisensory cues enable a more rapid and fuller recovery for stroke patients.

wearables 3WISH solution for smart operating room

Finally, Olga Liska of TOPIC presented the WISH solution for the smart operating room. WISH stands for Workflow Information System for Hospitals and is managing the workflow in the operating rooms. It predicts the duration of operations and uses inputs as well from a patented instrument table (when does the surgeon uses specific instruments?) as from sensors measuring currents, radiation, sounds… The system provides personalized guidance and a dynamic end-time prediction.

Would you like to learn more about groundbreaking technologies for the Hospital of the Future? Then you are welcome at our next Hospital of the Future event on January 24th, in Maastricht. Focus of this next edition are innovative medical imaging technologies.

‘Hospitals of the future’ is a joint event organized by the Interreg funded projects BusyBee and I2M (Innovation to Market), under the Hyperegio umbrella. It was held at the Innovation Lab of the TU/Eindhoven. The BusyBee project focuses on establishing technology transfer from research institutes in the Interreg EMR region to companies in the medium Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs). I2M’s emphasis is on stimulating cross-border business-to-business cooperation in the higher TRLs.