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Towards a Mobile Wearable Health Surveillance Product for First Response and other Hazardous Professions

The Vital Responder (VR) system has been developed under the CMU Portugal program between 2009 and 2012. It explores the synergies between innovative wearable technologies, scattered sensor networks and precise localisation to provide secure, reliable and effective first-response information services in emergency scenario management. With this technology based on wearable vital signs and ambient parameter sensing, one can monitor different factors (temperature, carbon monoxide, etc.) that teams of professionals are exposed to and relate them to inner-body physiological responses, such as electrocardiogram (ECG) parameters, body energy expenditure, body temperature or skin sweat level (among others). For example, one can monitor the amount of exposure to high temperatures, carbon-monoxide levels, etc. of fire-fighter (FF) teams and relate them to heart rate variability (HRV) changes, inner-body temperature or other physiological alterations usually associated with stress and fatigue in humans.

Designed for fire-fighters (FF) – the most demanding professional scenarios among first responders –, the VR project has generated a large number of devices, methodologies and know-how that are fostering other newly funded projects for some other hazardous professionals, such as Policemen or Paramedics. Furthermore, sub-sets of the developed technologies had been further applied to city Bus and taxi drivers vital monitoring in the framework of an MIT-Portugal funded project (MISC). These and others “Future Cities” scenarios are now serving as requirement pools for the “Porto Living Lab” FP7 initiative awarded (a 1.7M€ budget) to the University of Porto to design and deploy large scale “Future Cities” test-beds to support innovative ICT projects ( at a city scale.

All these newly initiated projects have shown us that the systems, methodologies and know-how of this multidisciplinary team is highly scalable and adaptable to new scenarios. Following these “sprouting” innovative outcomes from the initial VR project, the goal now is to develop this project to:

• Consolidate the technology developed, improving even further its scalability to a wider set of requirements of a wider set of professions;

• Improve the methodologies, especially the Data Analysis and psycho-physiology indicators to better detect trends and events relevant for health surveillance;

• Converge to a scalable, adaptable, mobile and integrated service-based ICT platform on the cloud that can be configurable to different health surveillance scenarios in different professions. The team believes that pursuing these objectives, by the end of the project there will be an integrated product to address the market of health monitoring and surveillance in hazardous professions.




Biodevices; Hospital de Gaia, Petratex, Future Cities - U.Porto


48 months

“The VR2Market ERI will be the consolidation of an already long and successful line of R&D and will foster the possibility to bring to the international market new results from 5+ years of this consortium joint research.” João Paulo Cunha and Fernando De La Torre

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