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Research & Innovation

Crowdsensing becoming a health aid

Sensors in smartphones are now capable of capturing all types of information on their users, permitted the users have agreed to have their data collected. Experts are working to use so-called crowdsensing to gain medically relevant insights.

28 Dec. 2017
Source: Elvira Eberhardt
Source: Elvira Eberhardt

In collaboration with researchers from Konstanz, experts from the University of Ulm have developed apps that, for example, record stress levels during pregnancy. In another project, they surveyed child soldiers in Africa on their experiences with trauma and violence by means of digital questionnaires. "The experts would have never managed to get paper questionnaires across the border," states Professor Manfred Reichert, head of the Institute of Databases and Information Systems at the University of Ulm. By contrast, data captured digitally is available online for analysis immediately.

The experts relied on generic methods and concepts to make the user interfaces simple and just right for the respective questions. Smartphone users also benefit: Data gained can help them better assess their own health situation when they are sick, enabling tailored information on specific treatment options.

As part of its high-tech strategy, the German government is also researching crowdsensing technologies, for example to assess risks attendant on major events. "Even if only 3% of visitors to crowd events agree to pass on their data, this is enough to determine where a potential risk may lie," revealed a Release in 2014.