LiCalab was founded in 2012 out of the development plans for a new city area in the city of Turnhout, where innovations in Healthcare and Living are introduced in the daily living conditions of the citizens. The Living Lab is located in Geel and Turnhout, Belgium within the Thomas More University of Applied Sciences. LiCalab started as a collaborative network organisation between the Thomas More University of Applied Sciences, the City of Turnhout, the Flemish Chamber of Commerce and a Welfare umbrella organisation of 27 local communities. LiCalab is a member of ENOLL since 2012 and fully incorporated in the Thomas More University of Applied Sciences as a research group focused on user research and Living Lab research in general since 2019.
The Living Lab focuses on the Health and Wellbeing sector and more specifically on care technology for prevention, patient rehabilitation, assisted living, active and healthy aging and new collaboration models and processes within the care sector. LiCalab conducts user research and supports businesses and organisations by including end users (citizens, elderly, patients, care professionals) from the very beginning of the development process until market introduction. Human centred design is the key methodology used through all processes and LiCalab acts as a key link in the innovation chain, facilitating co-creation, prototype testing and real life testing. In LiCalab the needs of external partners (companies, organisations, research institutes) are translated into tailor made projects throughout the development of innovative products and/or services, also connecting with international partners and Living Labs inside and outside Europe. The main mission is to make sure that innovations for Healthcare and Wellbeing are better fit to the needs and context of real end users and care professionals.
LiCalab uses co-creation techniques to explore and validate (new) products, services, systems and business models within specific areas of focus. A close collaboration between all stakeholders in the Health and Wellbeing sector is crucial in this process and LiCalab facilitates this collaboration and brings the necessary actors together to explore innovations from external organisations. To achieve this, LiCalab relies on an own panel database of +1500 members and a broad network of local, regional and EU partners with expertise in Healthcare and Wellbeing, including end user organisations, local governments, caregivers, research institutes, SMEs and multinationals. The Living Lab works with these stakeholders in regional and European projects, as well as in private assignments.
Regarding partnerships, LiCalab is:
Our most important partners are care organisations/care experts, patient organisations, elderly organisations, citizen representatives, informal carers (organisations), local and regional authorities, research institutes, Living Labs, care and wellbeing networks, companies/SMEs and their networks on a regional and international level. Within the framework of VITALISE project LiCalab closely collaborates with partner research group Mobilab & Care @Thomas More.
LiCalab strives to be a reference living lab with focus on care technology and new organisation models within (health)care by conducting evidence based user research with impact. This is achieved by maintaining and expanding the community of panel members and network partners, continuously training, validating and enhancing methodologies, skills and expertise, collaborating on different levels with different type of stakeholders within the sector (local, regional, international), measuring the impact on the customers, partners, panel of end users and society and communicating the results.
Ing. Romy Sels (female) – Researcher Mobilab & Care: Romy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Physiotherapy from PHL university college and a Master’s degree in Engineering from KHK university college. Romy is a researcher at Mobilab since 2012. Romy conducts practice-oriented research in the areas of prevention, physical rehabilitation and e-mental health (with a specific focus on wearables). Her main tasks are drafting study protocols, writing applications for the ethics approval, conducting clinical studies, doing movement analysis, writing software and exploring new rehabilitation technology.
Dr ing. Bert Bonroy (male) – Researcher Mobilab & Care: Bert holds a PhD in Engineering Technology from KU Leuven on developing and evaluating assistive technology to improve chronic care and a Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering from KHK university college. Since 2006, Bert has been working as a researcher at Thomas More. Within the research group Mobilab & Care he is research leader. Bert has experience in setting up and carrying out research projects at national and international level in which technology and care go hand in hand. He has a special focus on wearable technology that can be used in healthcare. For example, how new sensors integrated into clothing can contribute to a rehabilitation programme. In terms of research, he is mainly interested in the implementation of technology and algorithm development in the healthcare sector with the aim of increasing the patient’s quality of life and supporting the caregiver (from professional caregiver to family caregiver).
Mobilab & Care’s motion lab research infrastructure allows for extensive motion and gait analyses within several domains such as sports, ergonomics, orthopaedics and rehabilitation, as well as in clinical and pathological research. The infrastructure has a line-up for motion and gait analysis, in which subjects can be filmed in high speed by 4 cameras from different angles. The lab also allows for dynamic 3D-scanning of the foot and optical measurement of the human back (spine included) through the Diers Formetric 4D to both healthy subjects and patients.
Overall, the MOBILAB & Care – Motion lab is equipped with:
Area of Work: Health & Wellbeing
Physiotherapists, engineering technology experts and more.
The following user groups are accessible to participate in research activities in Thomas More MOTION lab:
Researchers granted Transnational Access to LiCalab’s MOBILAB & Care – Motion lab, may access the following services:
→ Networking and Capacity Building: Capacity building; Panel management; Stakeholder (and partner) analysis and mapping.
→ Project planning and management: Intake and matching; Temporary research funding; Legal, regulation and safety standard support; Living lab project planning and management; Panel management.
→ Market and competitor intelligence services: Competitor and market analysis and benchmarking; Stakeholder (and partner) analysis and mapping. Planning to offer: Access to data.
→ Co-creation: Co-creation session; Expert opinion and advisory services; Stakeholder (and partner) analysis and mapping.
→ Testing and validation: 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.
→ Advisory Services: Expert opinion, and advisory services.
Visit our Living Lab Harmonisation Wiki Page for detailed descriptions of the Research & Development services that Living Labs offer.
Researchers at MOBILAB & Care – Motion lab have access to the following technologies and devices:
→ Activity Tracking/Monitoring
→ Biometrics (Heart rate)
→ Biosignals (EEG, ECG)
→ Environment/Context (Indoor movements)
→ Virtual reality/interactive technology
Visit our Living Lab Harmonisation Wiki Page for more details regarding Living Lab technologies and devices.
Researchers from the following domains have been identified to be the best match to conduct research to MOBILAB & Care – Motion 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.
→ 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 rehabilitation (physical, cognitive): Physiology, physiotherapy, occupational health research, rehabilitation and prevention. Cognitive diseases assistive technology, neuromuscular rehabilitation assistive technology.
→ 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).
Regarding researcher proposals submitted for Transnational Access to MOBILAB & Care – Motion lab, LiCalab is mostly interested to accept proposals regarding collaborations or extensions to the Joint Research Activities: Studies that can be performed within or can extend the Belgian small scale study for JRA (Joint Research Activities) ‘Rehabilitation supported by technology’.