Extensible Sensing Platform

PI: Chuang-Wen You

Project Objective: 

This study used criteria provided by experts in psychiatric nursing to develop a flexible sensing and feedback system aimed at facilitating the provision of nursing care in psychiatric hospitals. It was determined that (1) psychiatric nurses are primarily preoccupied by the need to conduct their rounds; (2) technologies are required to easily manage patients’ mental conditions, e.g., tracking patient’s sleep to adjust medication; and, (3) abnormal behavior is generally associated with particular areas of the facility. These themes were used to guide the design of customizable devices of our extensible sensing and feedback platform for the monitoring of vital signs and activity in specific areas. To further design the technology solution, we will hold other co-design workshops with psychiatric nurses in the future. Based on the design application scenarios identified in the future co-design workshops, we can develop a sensing and feedback system that can be extended and configured by medical workers to monitor early warning signs in acute inpatient units.

We can envision that this extensible sensing platform can be applied in a few potential application scenarios, such as detecting problematic behavior in specific areas or inferring the mental condition of patients.

First, medical workers can apply the proposed devices in a variety of scenarios. Inpatients confined within a locked psychiatric unit often perform abnormal behavior in specific areas, such as sleeping poorly on the bed at night. The proposed devices make it possible for medical workers to detect the presence of patients in particular areas. For example, attaching a bandage device to the neck of a patient makes it possible to infer sleep conditions through the analysis of respiration patterns while lying in bed, which is specified as an area of interest by medical workers through dynamically deploying the attachable device. Second, medical workers are usually only able to probe the mental condition of patients only by communicating with them. The proposed system makes it possible to monitor their mental state using physiological signals based on the correlation between emotion and heart rate variability [8] and breathing rhythm [9].


We are looking forward to prototype this system as an assisting tool and to collaborate with nursing experts in recruiting patients to conduct clinical trials in acute psychiatric units. (updated in Feb, 2017)