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The Quantified Self Institute leads an ambitious project: the development of an Spelende kinderen_bewerkt2optimal combination of a portable sensor system (a wearable) and a data platform for a new target group, children and young people (till the age of 16). The wearable helps the target group to be aware of their lifestyle. In addition, the platform makes it easy and safe for parents and/or caretakers to examine the data. This combination makes the product ideally suited for research purposes.

The measurement of activity in a large group
Existing wearables and activity trackers are focused on measurements of an individual. They are meant to gain insight into your own physical activity. Only individual activity data is available. The aim of this project is to develop a wearable and associated platform that accurately registers and stores activity data from a group of users. The wearable that is developed, is designed in a way that users (parents + children) are and remain the owner of the data. Security (privacy) is guaranteed. Sharing the data is initiated by the end user and will be stores in an anonymous group analysis and may be removed at any time.

Research on the activity data of children and young people (till the age of 16)
In the project the (physical) activity of children and youth are measured and evaluated. This is a new target group, because the current wearables are made for adult users. A large group of young users wear the wearables and the activity data will be stored. The wearable makes children and parents aware of their physical activity. The analysis of the group of data is used in scientific research in which awareness, behavior and the prevention of obesity play an important role. Knowledge will be available to othersAn open source product will be developed, thus, interested parties may use the wearable and the data platform in the future for other specific target groups. The knowledge gained will be made publicly available. In short, a product is developed where others can build upon. 

The project is co-funded by Northern Netherlands Provinces alliance (SNN) and contributions from provinces of Groningen and Drenthe and the municipality of Groningen and Assen.

Development of hardware, software and field trials
The project is divided into four phases:1. The development of the wearable: a portable sensor system2. Developing platform for the analysis of algorithms, data storage and visualization of activity data3. Research on the usefulness of current wearables for the new target group: children and youngsters4. Research into the effects of the newly developed wearable

The wearable: a handy portable device designed for children and youth
The designer of the hardware takes care of the development of the portable sensor system and the embedded software. The wearable is worn around the wrist. The product is tailored to children and youngsters up to 16 years. Wearables for this group are new and therefore the first prototypes are focused on development and research. The latest communication technology will be used to allow data collection on the most efficient way possible.

Data is sent to a separate database
KxA Software Innovations develops software for data communication, storage, analysis and visualization of the activity data. This results in a database which can be coupled to the wearable. This is done in collaboration with the Epidemiology Department of the UMCG and e-Vitality (Target Holding). The database is used for research purposes.

The field trial
The wearable will be tested extensively, including user acceptance, comfort, reliability of the data and stability of the data communication link. The results are used to optimize the wearable. During the project, the wearable is used in a scientific research of the University Medical Center Groningen and GGD Drenthe to examine the risk factors of childhood obesity in the province of Drenthe. The UMCG has data from long-term studies which they use to optimize models and algorithms in the actvity data.

Other applications for the wearable and the platform
In addition to children and young people, the new system is also used for other target groups. Online healthcare facilitator e-Vitality for example, which hosts a platform for physiotherapists. They test during the project period the new wearable in this practice. Another field of study is whether the wearable can be used in the large-scale research project LifeLines.The research group Healthy Lifestyle, Sport and Physical Activity of the Hanze UAS Groningen plays an important role in the field trials of the wearable.

The project Wearable Technologies for Active Living ends January 1, 2017. In addition to developing a prototype, the knowledge and experience will be made publicly available.

Collaboration with companies and institutions in the Northern Netherlands
The Quantified Self Institute of Hanze University Groningen is working on this project together with companies in the field of technology and healthcare facilities in the northern Netherlands.

Curious? More information and contact via:
Henk Hindriks, project coordinator
Phone: (050) 595 4934
Email: h.w.hindriks@pl.hanze.nl

Margreet Schurer, project manager
Phone: (050) 595 2040
Email: h.m.schurer@pl.hanze.nl

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