ESR13: Agile development of unobtrusive sensing technology to support caregivers in caring for patients on a distance

Work package 3
ESR Nikita Sharma
Supervisor Dr. Jan Hendrik Croockewit
Co-supervisor Prof. Lisette van Gemert-Pijnen & Dr. Annemarie Braakman-Jansen
Host institution NEDAP, the Netherlands
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Objectives: This project focuses on innovative sensing technology, which is ready for upscaling and use in different settings. With the implementation of unobtrusive sensing technology, we will monitor and coach older people to support caregivers to be able to be involved and care at a distance.

A frequent problem encountered in informal caregiving is that caregivers are living at a distance, which makes it difficult to be involved in the daily caregiving process. Other caregivers live more nearby, but care for a person with severe problems, that ask for more direct or constant surveillance. These kinds of situations are often very stressful for caregivers. At the moment the University of Twente and Nedap Healthcare Company are building an unobtrusive sensing system, based – among others - on Wi-Fi signals, which for example will be used to signal walking, gestures and vital signs (e.g., voice, breath) and emotional states (e.g., voice, pitch). This system will be used to identify and follow daily behaviour of patients to install a channel of communication between the care recipient and caregiver. This knowledge of the behaviour and emotional states of the care recipient will enable the caregiver to support the patient in setting simple goals, comfort them and take decisions about visiting and/or calling others to help out. By and large this will improve the caregiving and potentially reduces stress among caregivers and increase their satisfaction with the caregiving provided. The first prototype system will be developed and researched by the University of Twente in coop with Nedap Healthcare. The agile development approach will be used to co-create a working prototype to be implemented in Nedap Healthcare. The University of Twente and Nedap work together, using the findings of a Dutch grant (ZonMw), which was given under the condition of a public-private partnership, and will be ready for prototyping in 2019.

Expected Results:

The ESR of this ITN project will test for upscaling and will examine facilitators and barriers in further dissemination. Moreover, this project is seen as a case, which will test new technology, but also enable us to think about future possibilities taking into account the obvious ethical constraints, technical opportunities and the care needs of those involved.


Vuijk, J. G., Klein Brinke, J., & Sharma, N. (2023). Utilising Emotion Monitoring for Developing Music Interventions for People with Dementia: A State-of-the-Art Review. Sensors, 23(13), 5834

Sharma, N., Braakman-Jansen, L. M. A., Croockewit, J. H., Oinas-Kukkonen, H., & Van Gemert-Pijnen, L. (2023). Communicating Care: Identifying Information and design requirements of Informal Caregivers of Older Adults with Cognitive Impairment in changing scenarios. 11th International Conference on Behavioral Change Support Systems (BCSS 2023).

Sharma, N., Le, D. V., & Havinga, P. J. (2023). Exploring the Impact of Locations and Activities in Person-wise Data Mismatch in CSI-based HAR 19th International Conference on Distributed Computing in Smart Systems and the Internet of Things (DCOSS-IoT) (pp. 232-239)

Sharma, N., Braakman-Jansen, L. M., Oinas-Kukkonen, H., Croockewit, J. H., & Gemert-Pijnen, J. V. (2023). Exploring the Needs and Requirements of Informal Caregivers of Older Adults With Cognitive Impairment From Sensor-Based Care Solutions: Multimethod Study. JMIR aging, 6, e49319DOI:

Nikita Sharma. (2020). Implementation of Unobtrusive sensing systems to support Informal caregivers in Elderly care.

Sharma N, Brinke JK, Gemert-Pijnen JEWCV, Braakman-Jansen LMA (2021). Implementation of Unobtrusive Sensing Systems for Older Adult Care: Scoping Review JMIR Aging 2021;4(4):e27862.


Host Secondment supervisor Aim Duration
University of Twente, the Netherlands Prof. Lisette van Gemert-Pijnen and Prof. Paul Havinga A sensing system was developed and tested in simulated home setting (e-health house) 3 months
University of Oulu, Finland Prof. Harri Oinas-kukkonen For the effective implementation of the sensing systems, an online platform will be prototyped 3 months