DiaGame Update January 2020

When did the researchers start the project?

The project has started in October 2019 and is in the first phase. Van Riel and others are actively recruiting researchers. Currently we are finalizing the hiring of one researcher an have two open vacancies for PhD students in Machine Learning, A.I. and biomedical engineering with a strong knowledge of mathematical models.

How and where do you start a project like this?

The current project is the next step of a previous project. That project focused on game simulations for patients with Diabetes based on mathematical models. That project has taught us that the data and information within the gaming environment needed to be personalised to have a greater effect on the patients. Most of the patients are 55 years of age or older and of the lower social classes. This requires a different approach when it comes to how the game is designed and displays information for the patients.

How did the public-private consortium come about?

The previous project that has spun-off into the current project had a consortium of private companies behind it. During the planning for the next phase medical professor Harm Haak and partners had collected funds for a company that would continue with the products and research. The Data2Person call for proposals came at the right time to further deepen the research within a consortium. Via this the TU/E project called Gamebus is involved as the platform to collect all the data from the patients.

You are doing data research. Where do you get these data from?

The patients, which are recruited by partner Maxima Medisch Centrum, are being tracked by wearables that mostly consist of their smartphones. We try to use existing platforms as much as possible to lower the barrier of entry and limit the use of new apps or technology for the patients. Movement data for instance is being tracked via services like Apple Health of Google Fit and synced to the Gamebus platform. Patients also regularly get a notification that asks them about the for their psychological state. A sensor is being applied where each patient has continuous monitoring of their blood sugar levels, a main indicator for the game. Each patient needs to keep track of their bodyweight and diet as much as possible. Next to keeping a written log they will be motivated to photograph or film everything they eat and upload it to the Gamebus platform. The images will be analysed to get a more accurate number on the individual calorie intake. Twice per year the patients have to visit the hospital for a more complete medical check-up which will involve blood count tests. Patients will be asked about their experience and knowledge of the disease and symptoms they have.

Do you work together with the private companies?

The project actively and intensively works with the partners in the project and foremost with the hospital. They are instrumental to the project with recruitment and access to patients, professor Haak plays a large role in this collaboration. Currently the team and hospital collaborate on the first large hurdle of the project of developing and getting approval for the medical and ethical research protocol.

Do you have regular contact with persons/organizations from other NWO projects?

The Commit2Data project meetings provide access to other projects and researchers. Within TU/E we are in contact with another research that has funding through the Commit2Data program and we are in contact with a research project at Twente University for the same patient group/disease profile.

What is your ultimate goal with the project?

Through this project and research we would ultimately improve the quality of life for people with Diabetes disease.

Updates of the project can be found at the following website: https://diagame2.wordpress.com

Professor Natal van Riel shares insights on his Twitter profile: https://twitter.com/nvanriel

A website that keeps users and the public updated in more laymen terms is coming in the nearby future.

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