Vitalise-Project / AUTH Centrifuge Rehabilitation Living Lab

AUTH Centrifuge & Rehabilitation Living Lab

About the Living Lab: Thess-AHALL Active and Healthy Ageing Living Labs

Overview
  • Year of Establishment: 2014
  • Panagiotis Bamidis, Medical Physics and Digital Innovation Lab
  • Thessaloniki, Greece
  • Governance: University lab (AUTH)
  • Type of Living Lab
    • Living Testbed (Technology Testing, Tech transfer)
Online Presence
Story

Back in 2014, the team of AUTH Medical Physics and Digital Innovation Lab had to test a device in older adults’ homes. In order to facilitate the process and get participants to know the technology, they proceeded in creating a home-like environment inside the lab that was ecologically valid and helped older adults get acquainted with the technology. In that way, the team got to get involved with the stakeholders and the community around them. During Open Living Lab Days in 2015, the team understood what a Living Lab is and met people that were framing the Living Lab map for the future, while realising that they were already operating as Living Lab and applied for ENoLL Membership in the 10th Wave.

Challenges

The Living Lab fosters initiatives encouraging regional development and healthcare systems sustainability by the provision of novel technologies and innovation. It is actively engaged with the end-users and relevant community stakeholders, actively pursuing co-creation and co-design of technological solutions to improve health and social conditions and facilitate independent living.

Partnerships

Some of the Living Lab’s key partnerships are:

  • ENoLL (effective member) & H&W AOTF (leader)
  • EIPonAHA (2* Ref. Site)
  • Hellenic Inter-Municipal Network of Healthy Cities of the WHO (EDDYPPY)
  • Member HL7 Hellas, ELEVIT
Goals & Vision

The main goal of ThessAHAll Living Lab is to facilitate innovation, collaboration, development and testing of more accurate services, which is achieved by the early involvement of users as co-creators. Their vision is to support independent living of people and their healthy living in the community for as long as possible.

Infrastructure

The ‘GRACER1 – Joan Vernikos’ short-arm human centrifuge lab was initiated on October 2019 as the joint action of the a) Medical Physics and Digital Innovation Lab, Medical School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and b) Greek AeroSpace Medical Association – Space Research (GASMA-SR). The centrifuge has a diameter of 4 m and can reach a +3.5-Gz load at the feet. It consists of a support base, while motion and rotation mechanisms such as motor, reducer, drive gear and spin gear, a shaft and two to four beds are connected to the central axis. Beds rotate extremely smoothly on wheels. The SAHC infrastructure is also equipped with several exercise systems located on the bed extremities. Aerobic training is performed through a bicycle at one end, whose position is adjusted according to the patient’s height, increasing thus the rotation radius accordingly. Resistance training is facilitated through a horizontal rowing device at the other. The entire infrastructure is connected to the electric control panel (dashboard) of the man-control room consisted of an inverter and an electronic management system (control). The SAHC infrastructure was constructed according to both national and international safety regulations, while being also applicable to patients with mobility disabilities.

Area(s) of work

Areas of work: Health & Wellbeing, Artificial Intelligence, Mobility

Subsections: Rehabilitation

Staff Expertise

Psychologists, engineers, computer scientists, doctors, Experts in sport science.

Stakeholders Population

The Living Lab provides access to the following end-user groups:

  • Healthy older adults (over 60 years old),
  • Older adults with neurodegenerative diseases, mild cognitive impairment and mild dementia,
  • People in Autism spectrum and mental retardation/ cognitive disorder
  • Parkinson disease patients,
  • Breast cancer survivors,
  • Prostate cancer survivors,
  • People with Down syndrome,
  • People with ADHD,
  • People with cardiovascular disease,
  • People with multiple sclerosis,
  • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) patients,
  • People with sleep apnoea,
  • People with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD),
  • People with learning difficulties

Other stakeholders: Medical, engineering and computer students, healthcare professionals, informal caregivers of the above mentioned population, nurses, researchers in the above mentioned fields, people with technical background (engineering and computer scientists), social workers, policy makers.

Services

Researchers granted Transnational Access to the infrastructure have access to the following services:

Networking and capacity building: Capacity building; Expert opinion, and advisory services; Innovation network orchestration; Panel management; Stakeholder (and partner) analysis and mapping. Planning to offer: Grant writing and funding application support service; Legal, regulation and safety standard support; Marketing and sales support; Public procurement support services.

Project planning and management: Intake and matching; Expert opinion, and advisory services. Planning to offer: Temporary research funding.

Market and competitor intelligence services: Access to data; Competitor and market analysis and benchmarking; Expert opinion, and advisory services; Stakeholder (and partner) analysis and mapping. Planning to offer: Foresighting (trends, weak signals and wild cards); Legal, regulation and safety standard support.

Co-creation: Co-creation session; Expert opinion, and advisory services; Stakeholder (and partner) analysis and mapping. Planning to offer: Foresighting (trends, weak signals and wild cards), Legal, regulation and safety standard support, Public procurement support services.

Testing and validation: Clinical trials; Concept and proof-of-concept tests – concept feasibility study; Expert opinion, and advisory services; Idea selection and testing; Impact assessment and validation test; Large-scale real-life testing and piloting; Prototyping test; Simulation test; Small-scale real-life testing and experimentation; Usability testing. Planning to offer: Legal, regulation and safety standard support.

Advisory services: Planning to offer: Public procurement support services; Expert opinion, and advisory services; Legal, regulation and safety standard support.

Marketing and sales support: Planning to offer: Expert opinion, and advisory services; Public procurement support services.

Visit our Living Lab Harmonisation Wiki Page for detailed descriptions of the Research & Development services that Living Labs offer.

Equipment

AUTH Centrifuge Rehabilitation Living Lab provides access to the following devices and technologies:

Activity tracking/monitoring

  • Body Positιon (Moxy (Fortiori Design LLC, Hutchinson, MN))
  • Body posture (Moxy (Fortiori Design LLC, Hutchinson, MN))
  • Gait (Moxy (Fortiori Design LLC, Hutchinson, MN))
  • Energy expenditure (Bi-polar ECG by Neurofax EEG-1200 32-channel device (Nihon Kohden, Tokyo, Japan))
  • Human balance (KINVENT force plates (Montpellier, France))
  • Physical activity (Neurofax EEG-1200 32-channel device (Nihon Kohden, Tokyo, Japan))
  • Physiological and behavioural biomarkers (ClearSight system & Cnoga Medical Tensor Tip (MTX device))
  • Sleep (Neurofax EEG-1200 32-channel device (Nihon Kohden, Tokyo, Japan))
  • Stress Level (Bluetooth Polar H10 device)
  • Blood oxygen (ClearSight system)

Biometrics

  • Heart rate (Bluetooth Polar H10 device)

Biosignals

  • Electrophysiological timeseries (Neurofax EEG-1200 32-channel device (Nihon Kohden, Tokyo, Japan); Nihon-Kohden, HE-207A, 64 channels)
  • EEG (Nihon-Kohden, HE-207A, 64 channels)
  • ECG (Neurofax EEG-1200 32-channel device (Nihon Kohden, Tokyo, Japan))

Visit our Living Lab Harmonisation Wiki Page for more details regarding Living Lab technologies and devices.

Use Cases based on Researchers Expertise

Researchers from the following domains have been identified as the most suitable research profiles to conduct research to AUTH Centrifuge Rehabilitation Living Lab (the list is non-exhaustive):

Computer/Technology Scientists: Developing systems/tools/ technologies, testing and evaluating an ICT tool, prototype and real-life testing, computer vision & AI, Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality, Cybersecurity

(Clinical, social, developmental, neuro-) Psychologists: Studying the behaviour and the mental wellbeing of participants, conducting psychometrics evaluation and real-life setting experimentation/observation/real life testing

Researchers with clinical expertise: (Doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, specialists, physiotherapists etc.), conducting research of healthcare services and practices, research on symptomatology or epidemiology of a disease, analysis of clinical effects of research performed in the study, e.g; via real life testing

Experts in UX research and assessment: Developing the process for user experience design (UXD, UED, or XD) supporting user behavior through usability, usefulness, and desirability provided in the interaction with a product or service, addressing all aspects as perceived by users with a focus on the quality of the user experience. Studying and experimenting the best practices for UI/UX and evaluating user’s experience in different situations and while using different tools

Experts in sport science: Experimenting novel training methods, and their effectiveness in various dimensions such as safety, engagement, and physical capabilities. Studying the impact of physical movements in various functions and wellbeing features

Experts in rehabilitation (physical, cognitive: Physiology, physiotherapy, occupational health research, rehabilitation and prevention. Cognitive diseases assistive technology, neuromuscular rehabilitation assistive technology

Business developers: Studying the product-market fit, matching a solution with a societal need, learning about the user acceptance of products and services, as well as about potential products to develop, willingness to pay, business model and ideal route to market

Experts in applied economics:Evaluating cost and performance in different healthcare processes, situations and public health

Experts in ergonomics and safety: Implementation and validation of ergonomic technologies/services to support workers and system performance, promoting ergonomics in working environments, improving both health/well-being and productivity, while avoiding occupational hazards

Biomedical researchers: Studying biochemical and physiological functions, investigating how the human body works with the aim of finding new ways to improve health. Biomedical engineering knowledge (Home hospitalization, Transitional Care, Multifunctional interaction), as well as digital biomarkers analysis (e.g. for cognitive state)

Neuroscientists: Focusing on the brain and its impact on behaviour and cognitive functions (cognitive neuroscience, EEG-based BMI research, protocol / paradigm testing, study framework evaluation)

Experts in organizational studies: Co-creation, experimentation, organizational research, experts by experience / pier support included. Evaluation how multistakeholder collaboration and co-creation is done and how effective it is. Evaluates experimentations and experimentation culture. How users are involved into these processes

Data Scientists: Collecting, analysing and interpreting digital data, such as data analytics in healthcare and digital patient recordings (how patient information recording process is managed and utilized during the intervention by using digital tools in simulated situations)

Operations

Previous Projects:

  • Validation of centrifuge as a rehabilitation method: The validity of the human centrifuge as a novel rehabilitation method was assessed by an initial study which enrolled 24 young, healthy volunteers (). The participants performed a combination of artificial gravity (0.5-2.0 g) training with mild aerobic exercise and tested regarding their cardiovascular responses during the exercise. There were statistically significant changes in cardiac output, cardiac index, cardiac power and mean arterial pressure which varied according to the participants demographics. These results provided a dose-response framework that facilitated the employment of the centrifuge as a medical device for rehabilitation (https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2021.644661).
  • Case study on multiple sclerosis: A more recent case study on a patient suffering from secondary progressive multiple sclerosis showed that a 4-week training program including three weekly sessions of 30 min of intermittent centrifugation at 1.5–2 g, resulted in similar cardiovascular and neuroplasticity changes that improved in a statistically significant manner his mobility, balance and functional status. So, this study provided novel evidence supporting SAHC as a promising therapeutic strategy in multiple sclerosis, based on mechanical loading (https://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2021.746832).

Running/Ongoing Projects:

  • URBANOME: Urbanome is a 4-year H2020 project focusing on research areas related to the climate and the environment and their interactions with health and wellbeing in urban settings aiming at building a common EU framework for evaluating comprehensively multi-sector policies in urban settings supporting the “Health in all Policies” approach of WHO. In the context of the project, various interventions aiming at improving mental health and wellbeing will be applied. SAHC is one of those interventions.