Recognition of stress situations in bedridden patients with severe dementia: intelligent sensor system for the biomonitoring of distress

Changing demographics have led to a substantial increase in patients with dementia who require care. The impact on self-determined living and quality of life of those affected is often significant. As the illness progresses these patients are often no longer capable of seeking help in critical stress situations such as pain, breathing difficulties or panic attacks. This helplessness in turn puts pressure on carers and relatives who often have problems being able to provide the intensive care that the bedridden patients need. The non-invasive sensor systems which will be develped in this project will support carers in their work. The sensor system will monitor bedridden patients for critical and stress situations and, when necessary, send an early alert to the carers. Thus, the carers do not need to be constantly present but can, if necessary, react quickly in a critical situation. Additionally, it will increase the quality of life and reduce unnecessary suffering on the part of the patients with advanced dementia, by identifying treatable critical situations.

Sub-project: Sensor technology and signal processing

Furtwangen University's role in the project is to develop the sensor technology and algorithms necessary for the sensor systems, as well as to realize the interface of the sensor technology to the higher level information system (analysis unit and visualization unit). Firstly we will work together with hospitals to identify the relevant patient parameters which reveal stress situations. The second step is to record over the sensor unit the patient parameters which indicate stress situations, such as heartbeat, breathing frequency, temperature and the production of sweat, as well as movement, acoustic signals/noises or stress-related bed-wetting. To do so, suitable sensors, which we may develop ourselves, will be integrated into a flexible sensor array which will be stretched, for example, over the matress. The recorded sensor signals will be immediately analyzed and clinically evaluated in an analysis unit in the vicinity of the sensors. The visualization unit, e.g. a smartphone application, will on the one hand alert the carers to the critical sitation, and on the other, will enable the patient data to be used for medical analysis.

Project Partners

ART+ COM AG, Berlin
Dorner GmbH & Co.KG, Müllheim
EasierLife GmbH, Karlsruhe
Finke Elektronik GmbH, Waldkirch
Furtwangen University
Universitätsklinik Freiburg (joint project coordinator)
Zentrum für Psychiatrie Emmendingen

Duration: 3 years, 04/2016 – 03/2019

The project is funded by the BMBF under the IKT2020 - Innovations in Care for People with Dementia FKZ 16SV7546 funding programme.


Prof. Dr. Dirk Benyoucef
Faculty of Mechanical and Medical Engineering
Dean of Studies Electrical Engineering (Bachelor)
Tel: +49 (0)7723 920-2342
Furtwangen Campus, Room B 2.05
Email: bed(at)

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Mescheder
University Executive, Faculty of Mechanical and Medical Engineering
Vice President Research and Development, Technology Transfer
Director of Institute for Applied Research
Tel: +49 (0)7723 920-2232
Fax:+49 (0)7723 920-2633
Furtwangen Campus, Room B 1.10
Email: mes(at)