Doctorate in Applied and Engineering Physics
Edition 2017/18  

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Thesis Proposal for the

Doctorate Program in Applied and Engineering Physics (DAEPHYS)

Starting in the Academic Year 2017/2018


Proposal 002


Title:Fiber Optic Sensors for e-Health Architectures
 
Objectives (recommended length: 2000-3000 char):
The proposed research plan focuses on the development of optical sensors for the next generation of e-Health monitoring systems, through the design of a network of fiber optic sensors integrated in equipment to be used by patients, able to monitor their health conditions through the observation of physiological parameters. Thus, vulnerable groups such as patients with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, gait deficiencies / injuries, and even people with a high mobility disability (bedridden people) may have access to instant help with the possibility of a constant physician/caregiver/patient interaction through an e-Health connection.
Sedentary life such as the aging of the population is associated with the reduction of capacity or even locomotive incapacity of citizens. In this sense there is a need to find effective solutions to reduce costs and improve the quality of life of the population. Fortunately, recent developments in electronics and communication networks have redirected the interest of scientific communities towards applications aimed at improving the quality of life of the population. This has led to great interest in areas such as Internet of Things (IoT), Smart City and Data Science, and in particular in the e-Health topic.
In the same context, it is also intended to develop an equipment capable of monitoring the walking pattern and the health conditions of the patient during rehabilitation/diagnosis in rehabilitation platforms (static and dynamic), through the incorporation of a network of fiber optic sensors. The prior art will also be used to develop flexible platforms capable of sensing the pressure exerted by the body of a bedridden person in order to continuously monitor their position as well as other relevant physiological parameters. The fiber optic sensor network will primarily be based on Fiber Bragg Gratings (FBG) technology, but other types of fiber optic solutions that prove to be efficient and cost-effective will also be tested. This sensor network will be integrated with a mobile interrogation monitoring interface and control software.
Despite the existence of insoles and platforms with plantar and vertical pressure sensors in the market, the solutions presented are based on the use of electric/resistive sensors, susceptible to electromagnetic interference, or to failures and accidents in their contact with humid environments, such as, sometimes, the human body.
This proposal is supposed to provide an opportunity to the doctoral student for developing a research project in a business environment, training research work at advanced research labs of a reputed company with long experience working on the eHealth market. Simultaneously, it is expected to contribute significantly to solve specific technological problems identified by the company.
 
Framework (recommended length: 500-2000 char):
The photonic technologies have acquired a vital importance in the development of solutions for monitoring. In recent decades there has been a growing interest in research in this area resulting in the development of new techniques, instruments and sensors. In recent decades, the fiber optic sensors have proven to be a promising technology in various fields of application. Being durable, stable, insensitive to electromagnetic interference, resistant to corrosion, with minimal aesthetic intrusion, electric isolation and low size, they are particularly interesting on the monitoring of structures under high-risk, aggressive or explosive environments, such as hydroelectric dams, nuclear power plants, oil or gas drilling, high sea or submerged structures, etc., where the optical fiber technology offers massive advantages over traditional electronic sensors. Further advantages of using such technology include the no need for electrical power on the measurement site which can be located kilometers from the acquisition site (only an optical fiber connection is necessary) and the multiplexing capacity, allowing to place dozens of sensors on the same fiber optic cable, drastically reducing cabling weight, size and installation costs.
The proposed work plan fits in the activity of the research group "Optics and Optoelectronics" of the I3N-Aveiro, with long time experience on the development and prototyping innovative optical fiber sensors, contributing for its expansion and development. The host facilities are very well equipped, with recent femtosecond and Nd:YAG laser platforms, both able to produce customized FBG sensors.
PLUX has the proper knowhow and long experience about to produce, characterize and test biomedical for commercial use, being the perfect location for the proper implementation several important tasks.
Moreover, although some tasks are mostly completed at one location, the support of the other institution/company with be provided during the full programme.
 
Tasks (recommended length: 1000-3000 char):
T0 - Curricular units of the doctoral program of Physical Engineering (to be conducted at the Aveiro University)
T1 - Review of the state of the art
T2 - Development of an insole with embedded fiber optical sensors
T2.1 Optimization of the optical sensors:
T2.2 Study of the constituent material of the insole:
T2.3 Incorporation / validation of the sensor network:
T3 - Instrumentation of Static/Dynamic Rehabilitation Platforms with fiber optical sensors
T4 - Clinical validation of developed devices
T5- Development of an e-Health application for secure data transmission.
T6 - Analysis of the experimental data
T7 - Thesis writing and preparation for public defense (to be conducted at the Aveiro University)
 
Research centre/lab or R&D unit hosting the thesis project:
I3N-Aveiro
 
University to which the thesis project will be presented:
UA - Universidade de Aveiro
 
DAEPHYS Scientific Domain in which the project fits:
Optical technology
 
Relation of the project to the Scientific Domains of DAEPHYS:
The proposed work plan fits in the activity of the research group "Optics and Optoelectronics" of the I3N-Aveiro, contributing for its expansion and development, also, the host facilities are very well equipped (for instance, a new fiber Bragg grating inscription system and a new femtosecond laser were just installed) for the proper implementation of this proposal. This proposal is about developing new fiber optic sensors, being inherently related to, and perfectly suitable for, the Scientific Domain of DAEPHYS of Optical Technology.
 
Candidate profile:
- Demonstrated experience and know-how in optical fiber sensors
 
Does this proposal involve more than one University?:
no
 
Synergies between the two Universities participating in the proposal:
DAEPHYS strongly encourages the presentation of thesis projects in co-supervision by researchers from two of the universities participating in the Program. In this field, explain the benefits resulting from the proposed co-supervision and the involvement of elements from the two universities, e.g. building critical mass teams, profiting from existing infrastructures or advanced equipments, profiting from expert technical know-how, etc. If the proposal involves only one University, write n/a.
(recommended length: 500-1000 char)
:
 
Does this proposal involve a company?:
yes
 
Proposals involving a company:
DAEPHYS strongly encourages the presentation of thesis projects involving a company, preferably a high-tech company. These proposals have to: 1) be centered on a technological problem in which the partner company has been (or plan / would like to be) involved; 2) have a co-supervisor on the enterprise; 3) include part of the project to be carried out in the company.
(recommended length: 500-1000 char)
: Established in 2007, PLUX creates innovative products for Physiotherapists and Researchers, by developing an advanced biosignal monitoring platform that integrates wearable body sensors such as electromyography (EMG), electrocardiography, respiration, and accelerometers combined with wireless connectivity and software applications to deliver real value recognized by our target markets. Therefore, this research proposal topic is well within the company main focus. PLUX has the proper knowhow about to produce, characterize and bio-sensors for commercial use. Since 2007, the company has a significant track record in the creation of innovative added-value products, examples of which include the work on novel technologies for physical rehabilitation (http://www.physioplux.com) and ergonomics (http://www.ergoplux.com). The latest success case is BITalino, (http://www.bitalino), which in little over four years gathered a 5000+ user base scattered across more than 40 countries worldwide.

 

Supervisor

Name:Paulo Fernando da Costa Antunes
Institution:I3N Aveiro / Departamento de Física da Universidade de Aveiro
email:pantunes@ua.pt
 
link to CV or indication of ORCID ID:
https://www.it.pt/Members/Index/3007

 

Co-Supervisor

Name:Hugo Humberto Plácido da Silva
Institution:PLUX wireless biosignals S.A.
email:hugo.silva@lx.it.pt
 
link to CV or indication of ORCID ID:
https://www.it.pt/Members/Index/1293

 

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