Actidote | HES⁠-⁠SO Haute école spécialisée de Suisse occidentale

Ingénierie et ArchitectureActidote

Physical inactivity has been identified as a major contributor to the exacerbation of physical illnesses. The WHO identified it as the fourth leading risk factor of global mortality after high blood pressure, tobacco use and high blood glucose.

Therefore, in recent years, many actions against inactivity have come to the fore. For instance, diverse pedometer devices have been developed to help people reach certain physical activity goals, like walking 30 minutes per day. However, an equivalent recommendation for disabled people using wheelchairs is missing and the few studies that have dealt with this issue concluded that commercial physical activity measurement devices are not appropriate for them.

This project has the objective of developing an embedded physical activity measurement system for disabled people using wheelchairs, by exploiting on-body and wheelchair-mounted wireless sensors.

This project will gather together data scientists (Pr. Perez-Uribe), embedded systems designers (Pr. Upegui & Pr. Giandomenico), biomechanics experts (Pr. Schmitt) and Human motricity and handicap experts (Pr. Degache).

During the first phase of the project, we will use diverse configurations of sensors (motion, ECG, EMG) to assess the physical activity of able-bodied people on a wheelchair.

We will first use off-the-shelf sensors to capture data and apply feature-extraction and machine learning techniques to the sensor readings in order to come-up with non-linear models matching the relationship between raw data and energy expenditure, provided by a portable metabolic cart. In parallel, we will develop our own embedded hardware to optimize size, maximize comfort, and minimize costs.

Diverse activities like resting, deskwork, and wheelchair propulsion along different surfaces and slopes will be considered. During the second phase, we will evaluate our system with disabled patients suffering from Spinal Cord Injury in collaboration with the Swiss Paraplegic Centre or the SuvaCare (the HESAV team will submit a project proposal in October to fund their contribution during this phase).

The result of this project will be an embedded system for home monitoring of the physical activity of disabled people, which can be used to promote ACTIvity as an antiDOTE to illness exacerbation, and for instance, to track the evolution of mobility during rehabilitation.

ACTIDOTE aims at closing a gap regarding the availability of self-tracking/motivational devices among disabled people.


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