SIXTHSENSE: Wearable Biosensors and Decision Support for Risk Monitoring of First Responders

The Institute DIGITAL continues to expand its expertise in the analysis of human factors and contributes to the international research project SIXTHSENSE for decision support of emergency forces. The MATERIALS Institute is cooperating in the development of minimally invasive biosensor technology. The SIXTHSENSE project "Smart Integrated eXtreme environmenT Health monitor with Sensory feedback for ENhanced Situation awarEness" is co-financed by the European Commission and started this month with a virtual kick-off meeting.

Digital biosensor analysis for real-time interaction in the Human Factors Lab with Michael Schneeberger and Zhanna Bambach.
Digital biosensor analysis for real-time interaction in the Human Factors Lab with Michael Schneeberger and Zhanna Bambach (both Institute DIGITAL of JOANNEUM RESEARCH). Credit: JOANNEUM RESEARCH/ Bergmann

SIXTHSENSE is a multidisciplinary innovation and research activity with the overall goal of developing a wearable health monitoring system with closed loop tactile biofeedback, that enables first responders to assess their current stress status. Predictive models based on multi-modal biosensor data will provide early warning of overload and dangerous situations, which can prevent the imminent loss of operational capability. As a team management tool, the system will enable real-time monitoring of all deployed emergency forces, thus contributing to increased team efficiency and operational safety.

The Project is co-funded within the EU Horizon 2020 program as a 36 months project. It’s consortium coordinated by TECNALIA Research & Innovation (Spain) comprises 21 organizations from 9 European countries: universities - Aalborg Universitet (Denmark), Universidad de León (Spain) and Technische Universität Chemnitz (Germany); European Research and Technology Organisations - TECNALIA (Spain), JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft (Austria), BioNanoNet Forschungsgesellschaft (Austria), Eucentre Foundation (Italy) and Tecnalia Serbia (Serbia); industry representatives - Jobst Technologies (Germany) and Methrom DropSens (Spain) and SME partners Senetics healthcare group (Germany), TeleGroup (Germany), Smartex (Italy), Global Electronic Solutions (Serbia), BiFlow Systems (Germany) with different areas of expertise. The project also counts active participation from first responders’ organizations, as Serbian Mountain Rescue Service, Association of Mountain Rescue Organizations of B&H and four fire fighter companies with different profiles from Gumpoldskirchen (Austria), Postojna (Slovenia), Rijeka (Croatia) and Pavia (Italy), and a fire rescue training and risk management experts – IFR (Austria).

Firefighter skill training of the fire brigade Gumpoldskirchen within the KIRAS research project 3F-MS in Allentsteig. Credit: JOANNEUM RESEARCH/ Almer

Role of Institute DIGITAL

The contribution of the Institute DIGITAL builds upon the developments and experiences in the area of first responder decision support and human factors research. DIGITAL’s “Cognitive Sensing and Interaction Group” led by Lucas Paletta will first investigate stressful scenarios that decline situation awareness in critical decision making being supported by Prof. Wolfgang Kallus (Institut für Begleitforschung). Data from wearable biosensors and mobile eye tracking will be collected in comprehensive field tests in order to estimate the status of human physical and cognitive readiness and provide AI-enabled recommendations for risk minimisation. The “Mobile Computing Group” led by Patrick Luley with its expertise on real-time data communication will focus on the development of innovative mobile decision support for the firefighters.

Role of Institute MATERIALS

The Institute MATERIALS supports the development of the minimally invasive biosensors for first responders by means of computer-aided fluidic simulations. These finite element-based tools will be used to simulate the transport of respective body fluids in the microfluidic components of the biosensors and will give valuable input for design and layout optimizations of the sensors.


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