Next Generation eHealth Workshop

On the 28th of January 2016, the University of Vienna held a workshop at their facilities in Vienna on the topic of eHealth which included more than thirty people with a multitude of backgrounds, ranging from industry to public insurance or governmental institutions. One of the key goals of this workshop was to disseminate the results of our project, and to create potential opportunities for exploitation of our app and ecosystem. The workshop consisted of three parts: a lecturing part including live demos from our system, an interactive part where people were asked in groups to either design their own health or medial app or analyze potential stakeholders in this domain, and lastly a hands-on part where people could test the PRECIOUS app themselves. The feedback was overwhelming, and we believe that this workshop greatly increased the visibility of our project. Below are a few impressions of the workshop.




















Heart rate sensors testing

Since the validation of the PRECIOUS system is a critical point of the project, experimental plans to perform it in the best conditions are in progress. Telecom Bretagne have designed an experimental protocol using questionnaires to compare the respective acceptability/usability of the heart rate sensors candidates for the PRECIOUS system. PULSEON, SUUNTO ambit3 and FIRSTBEAT Bodyguard2 will be tested by super users of different categories previously determined: Students, single worker, family unit and retired couple. After having used these sensors and app for 3 days, super users will complete a questionnaire. At the end of the project, the results of this study should reveal which sensor is the most appropriate for people using the PRECIOUS system.
Please keep checking our website and social media to keep up to date with our progress. New information will be available soon…


PRECIOUS Living Lab Demo @Experiment’HAAL

The living lab Experiment’Haal (Human Ambient Assisting Living) is used in PRECIOUS to realize end-users tests.
A living lab is a laboratory where innovations are proposed to users in a controlled environment.
Experiment’Haal offers an ecosystem to the PRECIOUS project in order to test individual component such as environmental sensors, body weight scale, user feedback, etc.

Below a short video to show the results of our first deployment. Enjoy!

Demo Precious project in the Experiment’HAAL living lab from ptanguy on Vimeo.

Social Media Mood Predictor


Nowadays many people worldwide use social media like Facebook, Twitter and the like. They post, comment and share information about themselves or topics they are interested in.

In the context of PRECIOUS we investigate: Can this data be used, to tell more about a person’s mood?

For instance in [2] a web-based tool called ‘MoonPhrases’ was created to enable Twitter users to reflect about their mood and well-being. A similar approach was taken in [1], it was investigated to improve the classification of Tweets in either positive, neutral or negative sentiment. Moreover in [3] and [4] messages of Twitter users were interpreted to find out how users talk about depression in Tweets and how the usage of sentiment words of a depressed person differ from a not depressed person.


Therefore our primary hypothesis is that it is possible to leverage mood/emotions from social media messages. The first step consists in collecting emotionally classified messages to build a classifier. As the range of possible emotions is very wide, it is important to choose predefined emotion classes, to limit the resources needed for data collection and processing of the classifier.  For example the emotion stress is very important in context of cardiovascular diseases, which are in the focus of the PRECIOUS project. Therefor a big focus is on collecting messages classified as stressed or not stressed. These classified messages are used to train a statistical model, which can determine if the writer of the message was stressed. Furthermore as a general indicator for well-being the emotions happy and sad, which correlate well with the pleasure dimension of the circumplex affect model, are in the focus here for emotion recognition.


[1] Hagen, M.; Potthast, M.; Büchner, M. & Stein, B.,Hanbury, A.; Kazai, G.; Rauber, A. & Fuhr, N. (Eds.), Twitter Sentiment Detection via Ensemble Classification Using Averaged Confidence Scores, Advances in Information Retrieval, Springer International Publishing, 2015, 9022, 741-754

[2] de Choudhury, M.; Gamon, M.; Hoff, A. & Roseway, A. Osmani, V.; Campbell, A. T. & Lukowicz, P. (Eds.), “Moon Phrases”: A Social Media Faciliated Tool for Emotional Reflection and Wellness, Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare (PervasiveHealth), 2013 7th Int. Conference on, 2013

[3] de Choudhury, M.; Gamon, M.; Counts, S. & Horvitz, E., Predicting Depression via Social Media, Seventh International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, 2013

[4] Minsu Park, Chiyoung Cha, Meeyoung Cha, and Yoorim, Kweon. Depressive moods of users portrayed in twitter. Telecommunications Review, Jun. 2013.



mHealth apps have become ubiquitous in many aspects of our lives over the past three years. This has been fueled by the widespread availability of smartphones, tablets and laptops. Nowadays, thousands of health, wellness, self-help or even medical apps are available and can be downloaded to Android or Apple devices from different online stores.

This huge market holds promising beneficial effects especially for users. However, around 75% of apps are abandoned just three months after being downloaded. What possible causes can explain this lack of engagement?

Many apps try to engage all users in the same exact way. Huge mistake. This strategy is going to fail sooner or later. People are different and consequently, they are motivated by different things on many fronts including their health.

mHealth apps with gamification features provide psychological incentives for users to participate by appealing to their sense of achievement and enjoyment. A reminder alone may not be a compelling reason to, for instance, go to run, keep a healthy diet, or take one’s medication over time; yet, when given rewards for complying, users have been shown to participate at a higher rate. However, sustained motivation is a tricky issue and not just a matter of dangling a carrot in front of people…


Extracted from:

Therefore, when trying to hit the right note to engage users with their health, a wide variety of strategies is necessary, in terms of:

  • Messages and notifications: some people respond more to messages reminding benefits of engagement; others might be more motivated by being pushed to act, or by hearing of the consequences of non-engagement, etc.
  • Graphics, images, and media in general: some people like numbers and graphs; others might feel overwhelmed by statistics and prefer just images regarding health, achievements, etc.
  • Motivators: users can be motivated by competition, by helping or coaching the others to succeed, by being rewarded for the achievements and some of them, by sharing results socially, by being challenged, etc.

Additionally, a good motivational framework should be able to cover the following principles:

  • Known where you are going
  • Write your goals down
  • Look at others
  • Track your progress
  • Remember why you are doing this


Extracted from:

In brief, the best approach is to build a solid motivational framework and also, to be able to catch the differences of potential users and to treat them differently.

PRECIOUS approach takes into account all these factors and adapts to users by generating a virtual individual model, by asking them for their outcome goals from the very beginning and by remembering in a personalized manner progresses, achievements and meaning of actions.

In this sense, users will establish their outcome goals from the very beginning and these will be linked to health behaviors (e.g., physical activity, healthy diet, sleep, stress). PRECIOUS will met their needs by offering them different apps which will guide the users to success.

Thus, the comprehensive motivational framework of PRECIOUS put the user in the center of the action and promotes adherence, empowerment and health self-management by creating a joyful journey for the users. All of this is expected to promote and contribute to maintain long-term motivation for behavior change.


Sharing Experiences in Design of a Health-care Wearable Device

Monitoring and recommendation of healthy lifestyles is often challenging and requires the correlation between different health-related parameters for a particular individual. On the one hand, some of the lifestyle and biometric data inputs are only possible to be determined by 24/7 monitoring, such as physical activity tracking, sleep quality or food intake nutritional information. On the other hand, it is a big data problem as the correlation between all the inputs is rather challenging and time-consuming to be done by a human being.

Wearable devices are increasingly becoming one of the most common options for continuous monitoring and extraction of an individual’s biometric, lifestyle and activity data. Accelerometer sensors integrated in a wearable device can be used to track the daily physical activity or sleep quality while built-in gyroscope sensor can recognize pattern, such as eating, drinking or taking a bite. Furthermore, heart-rate sensors track the physical activity level or detect stressful situations. Moreover, built-in cameras are able to take a photo of a food and send it to the cloud for further processing, detection and recognition.

A wide range of commercial wearable devices now exist in the market and they are expected to be a booming industry over the next few years. There is also in increased trend of wearable platforms created for developer communities and researchers. Within the PRECIOUS project we have also initiated the design and fabrication of an experimental wearable wristband device to be able to integrate sensors which may not be available in commercial offerings and have full control to the data from the sensors in the wearable. In this article we share for the wider community some of the processes in the development of the PRECIOUS project´s wearable device.

It all started by testing the sensors on a prototype board like the one on Figure 1. The data was processed with an Arduino microcontroller board and sent to a smartphone via Bluetooth. Once the operation of the first prototype was verified, the development was taken into the next step: the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) design and fabrication of the wearable.


2015-10-28 10.13.14

Figure 1 Wearable device circuit on a prototype board

The electronic circuit layout of the device was designed and fabricated in home environment for verification. The circuit was then redesigned twice, ensuring the proper operation of the final device. Finally, the PCB of the wearable was fabricated in a laboratory environment in the Aalto University Design Factory and all the components were soldered (see Figure 2).

layout_v102a2015-10-29 15.17.22

Figure 2 Wearable sensors on printed circuit board (PCB layout shown on the left)

In order to update the software of the wearable and perform some tests, temporary wires were directly soldered to the heart of the device (the microcontroller) as shown in Figure 3.



Figure 3 Microcontroller programmer hooked to the wearable sensor board.

Finally, a custom-made strap was attached to enable the wearable device to be attached to the wrist as shown in Figure. The device operation was tested by sending all the collected data (heart rate, accelerometer etc.) from the sensors to a smartphone via Bluetooth connection. The experience of this wearable design process has shown that such devices can be conveniently produced by researchers and hobbyists using relatively low-cost components (total cost if the components here was around 20 euros), whilst producing useful readings for research and for those with curiosity in this aspect of quantified self.








Figure 4. Demonstration of the final design of the PRECIOUS wearable prototype.

From data to understanding yourself

In recent years, the world has lived in the “wellness boom”. People have increasingly been interested in self-measurements and in the market a huge amount of products and applications that allow people to try to feel better has become available. Pedometers, activity trackers, heart rate monitors, optical pulse devices, smart watches etc. allow the collection of more and more continuous knowledge of human behavior. Quantified Self activists have been at the forefront of testing new devices and applications, and bringing these noticeable to the general public.

However, diseases associated with unhealthy lifestyles such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases have shown a steep slope upward in western countries. The question is how the potential of today’s technology can be translated into real benefits, and the thoughts of lifestyle changes into concrete actions. Another important factor to acknowledge regarding measurement data is also its reliability to be really useful. Studies have shown that the devices may show very different values, and for a consumer it can be difficult to know how reliable and accurate the readings in different applications are. Still, only on the basis of reliable data, the conclusions may be relevant and right.

To have a tangible change, we must remember the old but still highly relevant cliché about how the human being is by nature a psychophysiological and social creature, if not even more complex. Consequently, we need a comprehensive grip on what exactly I should do today to be good to myself and why. The PRECIOUS will be a system that is built on reliable sensor data. There the physiological, measured data is combined with knowledge of the user’s psychological condition and motivation. Behind everything is the virtual model build with advanced mathematical and signal processing methods from the person’s autonomic nervous system regulation as measured from heart rate variability. The heart, the most important organ to preserve life, can provide us huge amount of knowledge when it is constantly adjusting its function based on the body’s internal and external needs, day in day out for the whole journey of our lives. This knowledge, among other sensor data, is turned into observations of individual lifestyles, threats, and supportive elements of the user’s well-being. The information further affects the operation of the PRECIOUS mobile application so that the right kinds of challenges and tasks can be provided to the person at the right time, all built on proven psychological methods to support lifestyle changes.

As the development of technologies continues its fast pace, it eventually becomes possible for a person to follow his/her own well-being related parameters 24/7/365 rather ubiquitously. This makes it easier to reach also the most important goal for measuring and collecting data – to learn about ourselves. Because in the end that is what wellbeing is about: knowing and understanding ourselves and the small choices and actions we make today and tomorrow.

Human intervention study investigating the usability of mobile health tools to monitor food intake and physical activity for different user groups.

As part of the PRECIOUS project Campden BRI are conducting a study to investigate the usability of mobile health tools to monitor food intake and physical activity for different user groups.

Project timescale: From 01 August, 2015 to 30 January, 2016

Source of funding: European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 611366.
Aims: The objective of this intervention study is to investigate the usability of two freely available mobile health tools currently on the market, and one mobile health tools currently being developed through a EC-FP7 project. The study will look at the factors that affect the usability of each mobile health tool for different user groups.

Research project description: This intervention study is being conducted as part of the wider project ‘PREventive Care Infrastructure based on Ubiquitous Sensing’ (PRECIOUS), which has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 611366. Overall, PRECIOUS aims to provide a preventive care system to promote healthy lifestyles, and as part of this PRECIOUS aims to develop a new monitoring tool, and use motivational techniques for educating the user about healthy eating practices. The objective of this intervention study is to investigate the usability of two freely available mobile health tools currently on the market, and one mobile health tools currently being developed through a EC-FP7 project. The study will look at the factors that affect the usability of each mobile health tool for different user groups (Age 18 to 35 years, with no children living at home, Age 18 to 65 years, with at least one child under 18 years living at home, Age 36 to 60 years, with no children living at home, and Age 61 to 75 years, with no children living at home) in order to improve the design of the EU PRECIOUS mobile health tool. In total three hundred respondents will be recruited (100 per mobile health tool) to complete a 7 day user trial of one of the three mobile health tools. They will then be asked to complete an on-line survey about the usability of the mobile health tool. The outcomes from the study will be used to improve the mobile health tool currently being developed by PRECIOUS.
Results of the study will be reported on the PRECIOUS website;
For further information on the study, please contact:

Miss Charlotte Holmes
Chief Investigator
Campden BRI
GL55 6LD
01386 842257

Toward a transparent sensors/actuators layer at home

At home, the PRECIOUS system will offer services to end users: monitoring of the home environment factors (e.g., air quality), gathering data from “health & wellbeing” devices (e.g., body weight scale) and sending feedbacks on home devices (e.g., lamp blinking, messages on TV screen or computer screen, etc.).

However, one of the key issues in the home automation domain is the interoperability between heterogeneous devices and protocols. It might be a problem for end users but also for developers of new applications or services like in the PRECIOUS system.


Nowadays, there is a lack of standardization in the home automation systems. In the past ten years, a lot of initiatives, alliances or standards appeared like ZigBee, EnOcean or Z-Wave but they still do not propose interoperability with other alliances or standards. In the same time, the Ambient Assisted Living domain has proposed different solutions mainly based on IP to fight interoperability issues between heterogeneous devices. For more details, we refer the reader to the deliverable D4.1 of the PRECIOUS project.

Telecom Bretagne has proposed xAAL in order to allow the communication between different home automation devices (sensors/actuators) in a home area network. xAAL is a distributed infrastructure for heterogeneous ambient devices. The communication between devices is realized by a lightweight xAAL messaging protocol working on the so-called xAAL bus. The whole infrastructure is based on well-known existing protocols: multicast IPv4/IPv6 UDP.

xAAL will offer the opportunity to use together devices from different manufacturers and technologies. xAAL will also provide a transparent sensors/actuators layer for developers of applications, e.g. well-being application with PRECIOUS. The multiplicity of low-level home automation protocols are hidden by an upper-level generic interface.

How to share information between a smart home and the PRECIOUS platform

The interaction between a smart home and the PRECIOUS system is organized in the two directions: the communication from the user’s home to the PRECIOUS server (uplink), and the communication from the PRECIOUS server to the user’s home (downlink). To realize this uplink/downlink communication, a publish/subscribe protocol is mandatory. For this task, MQTT, a M2M communication protocol, appeared to be well adapted.

The uplink allows to push all data considered as useful (by the user) to the PRECIOUS system. The figure below describes the architecture. The MQTT-xAAL relay sends data from the smart home. The MQTT broker allows to dispatch data to subsribers, e.g. the PRECIOUS server. Then, the MQTT-logger stores data in the PRECIOUS database.


The downlink will be used by PRECIOUS to activate the scenarios inside the user home or to advertise the user with notifications also called user feedbacks. The MQTT-xAAL relay “subscribes” to PRECIOUS home-scenarios (i.e. topics) . The PRECIOUS scenarios are for example : « blink lamp in the living room », « PRECIOUS notification on TV screen », etc. The MQTT-actuator is a component in the PRECIOUS Cloud Server allowing activating PRECIOUS home-scenarios from PRECIOUS applications.


xAAL is a solution open to the community. For more details, please have a look to our project webpage:

Public access on our repository:

svn co

Motivated contributors are invited to contact us for a read-write access on:

svn co

Finally, all developments for the project will be shared on the githbub repository of the PRECIOUS project: