Special Issue "Human Health Engineering Volume II"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Applied Biosciences and Bioengineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 January 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Jean Marie Aerts
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
KU Leuven, Division Animal and Human Health Engineering, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
Interests: human health engineering; precision livestock farming; bioenvironmental control
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Thanks to the (r)evolution in sensors and sensing systems (wearable, wireless, and micro-/nanoscale), computing power (ubiquitous computing), algorithms (real-time modeling, neural computing, deep learning, etc.) and a lot of types of (wearable) technology are being developed to monitor the health status of individuals in real-time. The wearable technology developed in the field of Human Health Engineering is not only aimed at patients but also at healthy people. Application areas include but are not limited to patient monitoring in hospital settings, (chronically ill) patient home monitoring, depression monitoring, stress monitoring at work, drowsiness monitoring of car drivers, monitoring of physical condition of athletes, activity monitoring of elderly people, etc.

In this Special Issue, which is already the second on this topic, we invite submissions exploring the development of technology for monitoring the physical or mental status of individuals in a variety of applications. Contributions can focus on sensors, wearable hardware, algorithms, or integrated monitoring systems. Survey papers and reviews are also welcomed.

Dr. Jean Marie Aerts
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • human health engineering
  • physical and mental health monitoring
  • wearable technology
  • real-time monitoring algorithms
  • sensors
  • wearable hardware

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

Article
Interval-Based LDA Algorithm for Electrocardiograms for Individual Verification
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(17), 6025; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10176025 - 31 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 477
Abstract
This paper presents an interval-based LDA (Linear Discriminant Analysis) algorithm for individual verification using ECG (Electrocardiogram). In this algorithm, at first, unwanted noise and power-line interference are removed from the ECG signal. Then, the autocorrelation profile (ACP) of the ECG signal, which is [...] Read more.
This paper presents an interval-based LDA (Linear Discriminant Analysis) algorithm for individual verification using ECG (Electrocardiogram). In this algorithm, at first, unwanted noise and power-line interference are removed from the ECG signal. Then, the autocorrelation profile (ACP) of the ECG signal, which is a mathematical representation of the degree of similarity between a given time series and a lagged version of itself over successive time intervals, is calculated. Finally, the interval-based LDA algorithm is applied to extract unique individual feature vectors that represent distance and angle characteristics on short ACP segments. These feature vectors are used during the processes of enrollment and verification of individual identification. To validate our algorithm, we conducted experiments using the MIT-BIH ECG and achieved EERs (Equal Error Rate) of 0.143%, showing that the proposed algorithm is practically effective and robust in verifying the individual’s identity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Health Engineering Volume II)
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Article
A Novel Artificial Pancreas: Energy Efficient Valveless Piezoelectric Actuated Closed-Loop Insulin Pump for T1DM
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(15), 5294; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10155294 - 30 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1063
Abstract
The objective of this work is to develop a closed-loop controlled insulin pump to keep the blood glucose level of Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) patients in the desired range. In contrast to the existing artificial pancreas systems with syringe pumps, an energy-efficient, [...] Read more.
The objective of this work is to develop a closed-loop controlled insulin pump to keep the blood glucose level of Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) patients in the desired range. In contrast to the existing artificial pancreas systems with syringe pumps, an energy-efficient, valveless piezoelectric pump is designed and simulated with different types of controllers and glucose-insulin models. COMSOL Multiphysics is used for piezoelectric-fluid-structural coupled 3D finite element simulations of the pump. Then, a reduced-order model (ROM) is simulated in MATLAB/Simulink together with optimal and proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controllers and glucose–insulin models of Ackerman, Bergman, and Sorensen. Divergence angle, nozzle/diffuser diameters, lengths, chamber height, excitation voltage, and frequency are optimized with dimensional constraints to achieve a high net flow rate and low power consumption. A prototype is manufactured and experimented with different excitation frequencies. It is shown that the proposed system successfully controls the delivered insulin for all three glucose–insulin models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Health Engineering Volume II)
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Article
Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy for Driving Phobia Disorder: System Design and Development
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(14), 4860; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10144860 - 15 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1090
Abstract
Driving phobia is an anxiety disorder. People are greatly impaired in their daily lives when suffering from driving phobia disorders. The anxieties can be triggered under various conditions, such as driving over bridges, driving at high speeds, or driving in close proximity to [...] Read more.
Driving phobia is an anxiety disorder. People are greatly impaired in their daily lives when suffering from driving phobia disorders. The anxieties can be triggered under various conditions, such as driving over bridges, driving at high speeds, or driving in close proximity to large trucks. Traditional cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy are the most common approaches used in the treatment of psychological disorders, such as anxiety disorder (AD) and panic disorder (PD). This research focuses on virtual reality (VR)-based exposure therapy, called VRET, and describes the design and development of a system which uses alternating levels of fear-based driving scenarios that can be recorded and automatically adjusted to maximize exposure effectiveness without causing the subjects to panic. The proposed VRET integrates an advanced feedback database module for tracing and analyzing the system, along with the user’s bio-data to show the valid data collection of the system and its effectiveness for future use in clinical trials. The research conducts a system’s pre-test analysis using 31 subjects to demonstrate the effectiveness of the system. This research demonstrates the systematic development of the VRET for driving phobia disorder by depicting the system framework, key system modules, system integration, bio-database management, and pre-test data analysis to support our next research efforts in hospital-based clinical trials and for additional VRET development applications for clinical psychology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Health Engineering Volume II)
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Article
Spectral and Nonlinear Analysis of Electrodermal Activity in Adolescent Anorexia Nervosa
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(13), 4514; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10134514 - 29 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 686
Abstract
Anorexia nervosa (AN) is an eating disorder with increasing prevalence in childhood and adolescence. Sympathetic dysregulation is supposed to be the underlying mechanism of increased cardiovascular risk in AN. Thus, we assess the electrodermal activity (EDA) as a non-invasive index of sympathetic cholinergic [...] Read more.
Anorexia nervosa (AN) is an eating disorder with increasing prevalence in childhood and adolescence. Sympathetic dysregulation is supposed to be the underlying mechanism of increased cardiovascular risk in AN. Thus, we assess the electrodermal activity (EDA) as a non-invasive index of sympathetic cholinergic activity using linear and nonlinear analysis in adolescent AN with the aim of detecting potential biomarkers for AN-linked cardiovascular risk. We examined 25 adolescent girls with AN and 25 age-matched controls. EDA was continuously recorded during a 5-min resting phase. Evaluated parameters were: time-domain (skin conductance level, non-specific skin conductance responses), frequency-domain (EDA in very low, low, sympathetic, high and very high frequency bands) and nonlinear (approximate, sample, symbolic information entropies, detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA)) parameters of EDA and peripheral skin temperature. Our findings revealed lower EDA values indicating a decrease in the sympathetic nervous activity in female adolescents with the acute phase of AN. Further, we found higher nonlinear index DFA in AN vs. controls. We assumed that nonlinear index DFA could provide novel and independent information on the complex sympathetic regulatory network. We conclude that the parameters of complex EDA analysis could be used as sensitive biomarkers for the assessment of sympathetic cholinergic dysregulation as a risk factor for AN-linked cardiovascular morbidity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Health Engineering Volume II)
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Article
An Automated Data Acquisition System for Pinch Grip Assessment Based on Fugl Meyer Protocol: A Feasibility Study
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(10), 3436; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10103436 - 15 May 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1087
Abstract
The Upper Extremity Fugl Meyer Assessment (UE-FMA) is the most comprehensive assessment for pinch impairment after stroke. The pinch test of UE-FMA is manually performed by pulling a pincer object away from the patient’s fingers while providing a visual observation that results in [...] Read more.
The Upper Extremity Fugl Meyer Assessment (UE-FMA) is the most comprehensive assessment for pinch impairment after stroke. The pinch test of UE-FMA is manually performed by pulling a pincer object away from the patient’s fingers while providing a visual observation that results in a subjective assessment. In this study, an automated data acquisition system that consists of a linear electric actuator applying automatic pulling to the customized pincer object held by the volunteer was developed. The pinch force was measured such that a strain gauge was placed on the pincer object while pulling force was measured using pulling force load cell connected in between the linear electric actuator and customized pincer object. The pincer object’s slip onset was detected using a displacement slip sensor. The mean pinch and pulling force values at the slip onset were 12.17 and 6.25 N for right hands, while mean pinch and pulling force values were 11.67 and 5.92 N for left hands of 50 healthy volunteers, respectively. Based on the paired t-test, there is no significant difference between right and left hands. The automated data acquisition system can objectively apply a pulling force, detect the slip onset, and measure the pinch and pulling forces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Health Engineering Volume II)
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Article
Compensation of Measurement Uncertainty in a Remote Fetal Monitor
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(9), 3274; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10093274 - 08 May 2020
Viewed by 558
Abstract
The perinatal mortality rate is very high throughout the world. A fetal monitor may be used remotely, and this would tackle the problem of continuous monitoring of high-risk pregnancies. There is evidence that current technology is of low reliability, and, therefore, of low [...] Read more.
The perinatal mortality rate is very high throughout the world. A fetal monitor may be used remotely, and this would tackle the problem of continuous monitoring of high-risk pregnancies. There is evidence that current technology is of low reliability, and, therefore, of low precision to identify fetal health. In medical technological implementation, a safe, efficient, and reliable operation must be guaranteed, and the main problem is that remote fetal monitor gathers just a few samples, so the hypothesis of classical theory is not met. We are proposing an approach that improves the data’s lack of reliability that accompanies the use of a remote fetal monitor. The method refers to how, by using the existing technologies and the initial experimental data, it is possible to apply probabilistic models that are truly representative of each application. This leads to the characterization of properties of the statistics used to generate a representative probabilistic model without the need to consider the hard suppositions. Results show that, for every case study, it was possible to improve estimations of measurement uncertainty. The proposed method is a useful tool to increase the reliability of medical technology, especially for pieces of equipment where a health care professional is not available. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Health Engineering Volume II)
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Article
Feature Assessment of Toe Area Activity during Walking of Elderly People with Stumbling Experiences through Wearable Clog-Integrated Plantar Visualization System
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(4), 1359; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10041359 - 17 Feb 2020
Viewed by 627
Abstract
In this study, we investigated the relationship between toe-area activity and stumbling experiences utilizing our developed sensing system, in order to assess toe-area activity in elderly people with stumbling experiences. The sensing system enables the visualization of the plantar aspect while walking on [...] Read more.
In this study, we investigated the relationship between toe-area activity and stumbling experiences utilizing our developed sensing system, in order to assess toe-area activity in elderly people with stumbling experiences. The sensing system enables the visualization of the plantar aspect while walking on any surface and under any condition. An image of the plantar aspect is received at a reflecting surface and captured by a camera attached to a clog. The toe-area activity was evaluated by comparing the difference between the toe contact areas at heel-strike and push-off. Thirteen young individuals (nine men and four women, age 22.4 ± 2 years) and nine elderly individuals (five men and four women, age 65.3 ± 2 years) participated in the experiment by walking along a straight line wearing the plantar sensing system on their feet. The analysis found that a low value of the mean toe activity for multiple walking cycles was associated with high stumbling risk, irrespective of age, whereas large variations in toe activity was associated with aging. These results indicate that toe activity can predict stumbling risk irrespective of age. We also found that a large value of the maximum toe activity during multiple walking cycles indicates aging, whereas a low value is associated with high stumbling risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Health Engineering Volume II)
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Article
Serious Game Platform with Haptic Feedback and EMG Monitoring for Upper Limb Rehabilitation and Smoothness Quantification on Spinal Cord Injury Patients
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(3), 963; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10030963 - 02 Feb 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1315
Abstract
Cervical Spinal Cord injury (SCI) is a neurological disease that produces, as a consequence, impairments of the upper limb function. This paper illustrates a virtual reality platform based on three serious games for upper limb rehabilitation with electromyography monitoring, providing force feedback to [...] Read more.
Cervical Spinal Cord injury (SCI) is a neurological disease that produces, as a consequence, impairments of the upper limb function. This paper illustrates a virtual reality platform based on three serious games for upper limb rehabilitation with electromyography monitoring, providing force feedback to the patient. In the rehabilitation process proposed, haptic feedback was provided to the patients to strength the arm muscles by means of the Novint Falcon device. This end-effector device was used to manipulate the serious games. During the therapy performance, the system recorded electromyography signals from the patient’s arm muscles, which may be used to monitor muscle contraction. The work presented a virtual reality system developed for spinal cord-injured patients. Each virtual reality environment could be modified in strength and duration according to the patients’ needs and was implemented for recording quantitative data about the motor performance. The platform was validated as a proof of concept in cervical spinal cord-injured patients. Results showed that this rehabilitation platform could be used for obtaining objective information in relation to motor control characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Health Engineering Volume II)
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Article
Clinical Evaluation of Stretchable and Wearable Inkjet-Printed Strain Gauge Sensor for Respiratory Rate Monitoring at Different Body Postures
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(2), 480; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10020480 - 09 Jan 2020
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1240
Abstract
Respiratory rate (RR) is a vital sign with continuous, convenient, and accurate measurement which is difficult and still under investigation. The present study investigates and evaluates a stretchable and wearable inkjet-printed strain gauge sensor (IJP) to estimate the RR continuously by detecting the [...] Read more.
Respiratory rate (RR) is a vital sign with continuous, convenient, and accurate measurement which is difficult and still under investigation. The present study investigates and evaluates a stretchable and wearable inkjet-printed strain gauge sensor (IJP) to estimate the RR continuously by detecting the respiratory volume change in the chest area. As the volume change could cause different strain changes at different body postures, this study aims to investigate the accuracy of the IJP RR sensor at selected postures. The evaluation was performed twice on 15 healthy male subjects (mean ± SD of age: 24 ± 1.22 years). The RR was simultaneously measured in breaths per minute (BPM) by the IJP RR sensor and a reference RR sensor (e-Health nasal thermal sensor) at each of the five body postures namely standing, sitting at 90°, Flower’s position at 45°, supine, and right lateral recumbent. There was no significant difference in measured RR between IJP and reference sensors, between two trials, or between different body postures (all p > 0.05). Body posture did not have any significant effect on the difference of RR measurements between IJP and the reference sensors (difference <0.01 BPM for each measurement in both trials). The IJP sensor could accurately measure the RR at different body postures, which makes it a promising, simple, and user-friendly option for clinical and daily uses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Health Engineering Volume II)
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Article
Improving the Efficiency of Robot-Mediated Rehabilitation by Using a New Organizational Model: An Observational Feasibility Study in an Italian Rehabilitation Center
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(24), 5357; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9245357 - 08 Dec 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1284
Abstract
Robotic rehabilitation is a promising way to restore upper limb function, but new organizational models are crucial in order to improve its sustainability. We aimed to analyze the feasibility of a robot-Assisted REhabilitation Area (robotAREA) equipped with four devices, using a new organizational [...] Read more.
Robotic rehabilitation is a promising way to restore upper limb function, but new organizational models are crucial in order to improve its sustainability. We aimed to analyze the feasibility of a robot-Assisted REhabilitation Area (robotAREA) equipped with four devices, using a new organizational model in which one physiotherapist supervises up to four patients. In 33 days, 60 patients were treated in the robotAREA. Two hundred fifty-five rehabilitation sessions were analyzed, each including two, three, or four patients supervised by one physiotherapist (the R2, R3, and R4 group, respectively). For each session, the duration of (a) setup, (b) training, (c) supervision, (d) session closure, and participant satisfaction were measured. For each patient, upper limb impairment, disability, mobility, and comorbidity were recorded. The time of training in the R4 group was lower by only 2 and 3 min compared to the R2 and R3 groups, respectively, while the supervision significantly changed between the R2, R3, and R4 groups. No differences were observed in satisfaction. Moreover, according to the logistic regression analysis, when the mean disability of the group is moderate, four patients can be supervised by one physiotherapist. These results suggest that the proposed model is feasible, and the mean disability of the group could influence the proper physiotherapist/patient ratio. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Health Engineering Volume II)
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Article
Temporal EEG Imaging for Drowsy Driving Prediction
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(23), 5078; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9235078 - 25 Nov 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 891
Abstract
As a major cause of vehicle accidents, the prevention of drowsy driving has received increasing public attention. Precisely identifying the drowsy state of drivers is difficult since it is an ambiguous event that does not occur at a single point in time. In [...] Read more.
As a major cause of vehicle accidents, the prevention of drowsy driving has received increasing public attention. Precisely identifying the drowsy state of drivers is difficult since it is an ambiguous event that does not occur at a single point in time. In this paper, we use an electroencephalography (EEG) image-based method to estimate the drowsiness state of drivers. The driver’s EEG measurement is transformed into an RGB image that contains the spatial knowledge of the EEG. Moreover, for considering the temporal behavior of the data, we generate these images using the EEG data over a sequence of time points. The generated EEG images are passed into a convolutional neural network (CNN) to perform the prediction task. In the experiment, the proposed method is compared with an EEG image generated from a single data time point, and the results indicate that the approach of combining EEG images in multiple time points is able to improve the performance for drowsiness prediction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Health Engineering Volume II)
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Article
Investigation of the Functional Decline in Proprioceptors for Low Back Pain Using the Sweep Frequency Method
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(23), 4988; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9234988 - 20 Nov 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 839
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to investigate the functional decline in proprioceptors in patients with low back pain (LBP) by evaluating the entire range of response frequencies of proprioceptors. In previous studies, the function of proprioceptors was only evaluated by single frequency [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the functional decline in proprioceptors in patients with low back pain (LBP) by evaluating the entire range of response frequencies of proprioceptors. In previous studies, the function of proprioceptors was only evaluated by single frequency vibrations. However, because it is assumed that individual differences exist in response frequencies of proprioceptors, we developed a method using vibration with sweep frequency covering the entire range of response frequencies of proprioceptors. The center of pressure was determined in 35 elderly patients with non-specific LBP (NSLBP) and 28 elderly individuals with non-LBP (NLBP) during upright stances on a balance board without vision. Local vibratory stimulations to lower leg or trunk muscles were continuously varied between 27 and 272 Hz over 60 s to evaluate the proprioceptive predominance of a body location using the relative proprioceptive weighting ratio (RPW). Compared with the NLBP group, the NSLBP group exhibited a lower RPW value for the Vater-Pacini corpuscles. Thus, the NSLBP group relied more on the input of Vater-Pacini corpuscles in the trunk. A reduction in lower leg sensitivity at the Vater-Pacini corpuscles in the NSLBP group was observed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Health Engineering Volume II)
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