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Towards a Mobile Wearable Health Surveillance Monitoring Product for First Response and other Hazardous Professions

Portuguese PI – João Paulo Cunha (INESC TEC; FEUP) 
CMU PI – Fernando De la Torre (RI, CMU)

Research Teams: Carnegie Mellon University (CMU); Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores, Tecnologia e Ciência (INESC TEC); Instituto de Telecomunicações (IT); Universidade de Aveiro (UA)
Organizations: Biodevices, Sistemas de Engenharia Biomédica, S.A. (BioDevices); Future Cities – UPorto; Hospital de Gaia, EPE; Petratex – Confecções SA
Funding Reference: FCT CMUP-ERI/FIA/0031/2013 
Duration: 48 months 
Keywords: Health Surveillance; Wearable Technology; Data Mining; Business Model Validation

“The VR2Market ERI will be the consolidation of an already long and successful line of R&D and will foster the possibility to bring to the international market new results from 5+ years of this consortium joint research.” 

João Paulo Cunha and Fernando De la Torre 

The Vital Responder (VR) system has been developed under the CMU Portugal Program between 2009 and 2012. It explores the synergies between innovative wearable technologies, scattered sensor networks and precise localization to provide secure, reliable and effective first-response information services in emergency scenarios’ management. With this technology based on wearable vital signs and ambient parameter sensing, one can monitor different factors (temperature, carbon monoxide, etc.) that teams of professionals are exposed and relate them to inner-body physiological responses, such as electrocardiogram (ECG) parameters, body energy expenditure, body temperature or skin sweat level (among others). For example, one can monitor the amount of exposure to high temperature, carbon-monoxide levels, etc. of fire-fighter (FF) teams and relate them to heart rate variability (HRV) changes, inner-body temperature or other physiological alterations usually associated to stress and fatigue in humans. 

Being designed for fire-fighters (FF) – the most demanding professional scenarios among first responders – the VR project has generated a large number of devices, methodologies and know-how that are fostering other newly funded projects for some other hazardous professionals, such as Policemen or Paramedics. Furthermore, sub-sets of the developed technologies had been further applied to city Bus and taxi drivers vital monitoring in the framework of an MIT-Portugal funded project (MISC). These and others “Future Cities” scenarios are now serving as requirement pools for the “Porto Living Lab” FP7 initiative awarded (a 1.7M€ budget) to the University of Porto to design and deploy large scale “Future Cities” test-beds to support innovative ICT projects ( at a city scale. 

All these newly initiated projects have shown to us that the systems, methodologies and know-how of this pluridisciplinary team is highly scalable and adaptable to new scenarios. Following these “sprouting” innovative outcomes from the initial VR project, we now aim at developing the present project to:

• Consolidate the developed technology, improving even further its scalability to a wider set of requirements of wider set of professions;

• Improve the methodologies, specially the Data Analysis and psycho-physiology indicators to better detect trends and events relevant for health surveillance;

• Converge to a scalable, adaptable, mobile and integrated cloud services based ICT platform that can be configurable to attend different health surveillance scenarios in different professions. We believe that pursuing these objectives will result in an integrated product to approach the market of health monitoring and surveillance for hazardous professions by the end of the project.