Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Euro scientists develop self-help platform for mental healthcare

Steve Rogerson
September 12, 2017
 
A European research consortium is seeking to revolutionise personalised mental healthcare via the development of a digital self-help platform. The international coalition of scientists is launching the AffecTech project, designed to create wearable technology to combat affective health disorders, notably depression, anxiety and bipolar.
 
The four-year project gets underway this month and aims to deliver an effective low cost self-help technology platform to help sufferers of affective health conditions.
 
The €3.88m project will contribute research into wearable systems for emotion regulation and advance understanding of how personalised technology can empower people to understand their emotions better and regulate them in daily life.
 
Led by Lancaster University’s Corina Sas in the UK, AffecTech brings together researchers from institutions across Europe, including Oxford University in the UK, the NHS and Philips Research in the Netherlands, as well as associate partners including Stanford University, Carnegie Melon University and University of California at Santa Cruz in the USA.
 
“Affective disorders, such as stress, depression and bipolar conditions, are estimated to be among the highest ranking causes of disease by 2020,” said Sas. “The potential social impact of wearable health devices for these disorders is vast because emotional awareness and regulation are invaluable for daily functioning. Our project marks a significant shift from current wearable technologies that capture emotional responses that then need interpreting by health professionals, to low-cost self-help technologies for visualising, exploring and regulating emotions that people may be able to use in their daily lives.”
 
More than 33 million people in the developed world have been diagnosed with affective health conditions and the annual associated healthcare costs exceed €100bn.
 
While current wearable technologies are being shown to help people take action to improve their mental health, there is huge potential to scale-up to more easily administered systems, providing not only longer-term benefits for patients, but delivering large-scale cost-savings for health services.
 
AffecTech was established with support from the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network and funded by the European Commission.
 
As well as Lancaster University, the consortium comprises Kungliga Tekniska Hoegskolan, Sweden; Trinity College Dublin, Ireland; University of Oxford, UK; Universita Di Pisa, Italy; Universitat Jaume I De Castellon, Spain; Universita Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore, Italy; Bogazici Universitesi, Turkey; Philips Electronics, Netherlands; Leeds Teaching Hospitals National Health Service Trust, UK; and Plux Wireless Biosignals, Portugal.
 
Associate partners are Stanford University, Carnegie Melon University, University of California at Santa Cruz, University of New South Wales, Ericsson, LifeMote, Dacadoo, Smartex SRL, Biosync Technology, Dovetailed, SilverCloud Health, Centro Clínico de Psicologia, Istituto Auxologico Italiano, and Codasign.