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Meet WP 7: Our Devices and Platform research team

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Our Devices and Platform team work closely with our clinical teams across the RADAR-CNS project. Their expertise is in bioinformatics, software development and engineering. Richard Dobson, Professor of Medical Bioinformatics (picture far left) at King’s College London, oversees the group.

At the start of the project the team worked closely with our Patient Advisors on choosing the devices used and explored various options before choosing the FitBit tracker (for the depression study and the MS depression study), THINC-it app (for the depression study and the MS depression study), Empatica E4 and Biovotion Everion (for the epilepsy study), and eMotion Faros 180 (MS Study).

RADAR-base

They developed the RADAR-base platform, an open source platform to use data from wearables and mobile technologies. The main focus of RADAR-base is seamless integration of data streams from various wearables to collect sensor data in real time and to store, manage and share this data with researchers for retrospective analysis. It provides both passive and active data collection via two applications.

RADAR-base is used across all our studies. For our MDD participants, for example, who are not in a hospital setting, data is collected as part of their daily lives. Besides the sensor data from smartphones and wearables devices, participants also answer questionnaires via the RADAR-CNS app, which provides information about their mood, social environment, stress, and daily activities. The RADAR-CNS questionnaire app collects a couple of validated measures of depression and self-esteem.

RADAR-base is now being used by other projects including studying patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate, in Alzheimer’s Disease in the RADAR-AD project and in people recovering from psychosis in the UNFOLD study.

Professor Dobson says, “The RADAR-base community continues to grow and demonstrate the usability of the platform in areas other than the central nervous system. With its use in the MI2 BigData@Heart project it lets the cardiovascular community collect data types that are complementary to clinical data, which will deepen the understanding of cardiovascular phenotypes and disease mechanisms.”

Dr Amos Folarin, lead software developer, adds, “We’re currently using RADAR-BASE on a research project called Covid-Collab. We’re hoping to see how we can use digital signals from wearable devices and smartphones to track respiratory disease (such as COVID-19) in the population.”

The award-winning platform won the ‘Best of show’ award at the Bio-IT World Conference 2018 in Boston, USA.

This article first appeared in the Summer 2020 RADAR-CNS Participant Newsletter.

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