A platform for scientific research with wearable device data

 

Smartphones, smartwatches and other wearable devices collect a wide range of data: from localisation and activity, to heart rate and sleep pattern. Careful analysis of data gathered by dozens, hundreds, even thousands of patients gives scientists not only more insight into the health status of patients, it also enables early detection of relapse, allowing patients and health care personnel to act quickly and adequately.

RADAR-base was launched in April 2018. The platform enables scientific research with data from Android smartphones and wearable devices and builds on experience gained with RADAR-CNS, a project of a public-private consortium funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI).
Since 2016, The Hyve has been actively involved in RADAR-CNS, developing and integrating the required technologies and making the data accessible. The work was done in collaboration with partners from King’s College London, University of Freiburg, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Lundbeck, Lygature, Vibrent Health, and Intel.

 

Versatile

RADAR-CNS focused exclusively on three conditions of the central nervous system: epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and major depressive disorder. RADAR-base is intended to incorporate studies on a wider variety of maladies, such as Alzheimer’s Disease and different types of heart disease. The open-source platform is designed to be highly versatile and sustainable. New components can be added, and existing features updated independently.
The parties collaborating in RADAR-base are keen to see an increase in the number of people involved with the platform. A community of external research groups and companies could provide useful feedback and contribute to the platform by developing components, sharing code on Github and providing user support.

Patient view in RADAR-base                  Study view in RADAR-base

 

Medical research

The RADAR-base platform is designed for use in scientific research. Medical personnel will recruit eligible patients to a study, provide them with the appropriate wearable device and an Android smartphone (or install the RADAR-base apps on their phone), and allow them to link the smart devices to the RADAR-base platform.

Depending on the wearable devices selected for the study, scientists are able to gather data on heart rate, movement, sleeping patterns, skin temperature, and location. The platform currently supports remote monitoring of participants via these wearable devices:

 

  • smartwatches Empatica E4, Pebble 2, and Fitbit Charge HR  
  • the Bittium Faros (a chest-worn device) 
  • the Biovotion, a smart device that is worn on the upper arm

 

The platform is designed to be extensible, allowing data streams from additional devices to be integrated as soon as supporting software is developed.

 

Collection and analysis

The smartphone collects data both passively and actively via two Android apps. Passive data collection includes real time monitoring of movement, location, audio, calls and texts, and app usage. Active data collection includes the use of questionnaires that might ask patients about their mood, medication intake, or the severity of symptoms.

All in all, the RADAR-base platform collects a lot of raw data. Analysis of the variables, allows scientists to identify patterns and predictive factors. For example, they may find that staying indoors or a lower number of calls and sent texts correlate with the onset or relapse of depression. Or they might discover that specific movement patterns may indicate the start of an epileptic seizure or precede the worsening of multiple sclerosis. 

As such correlations still need to be identified and verified, the wearable device measurements are currently only visible to the scientists and medical staff involved in the study. In the future, however, feedback might be provided to the patient. For example, a warning might be given that an epileptic episode is imminent or someone with bipolar disorder could be advised to go out and interact more with others to prevent the development of a major depression.

Input is welcome

The Hyve welcomes any feedback on the RADAR-base platform. Whether you have suggestions for improvements, want to collaborate in research, contribute to the platform development, or just want to know more about this project, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

Watch our webinar on RADAR-base:

Or read more on RADAR-CNS on our blogs: