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Impressions from the Second ORC Autumn School at FAU

by Katharina Sommer

Posted on 30.10.2017

The three winning teams of FAU’s Open Research Challenge from the UK, Brazil and Switzerland were invited to Erlangen to meet the IMAGINE challengers, get to know Germany, the region and of course the university. During the weeklong visit, there was plenty of time for science and thorough discussions of the medical applications of engineering, culture and lots of exploration in Erlangen and Nuremberg, in short an authentic insight into Franconia.

The visit began with a tour of the university‘s Botanical Garden and an official greeting by Prof. Dr. Leugering, the Vice-President for International Affairs, followed by visits to the Machine Learning and Data Analytics Lab, the University Hospital, tours through the towns of Erlangen and Nuremberg as well as a visit to Munich. The stay culminated in the public presentation of the solutions of the challenge during the “Long Night of Sciences” in the Medical Valley Center. A week packed with science and culture left the teams with plans for further collaborations and many new memories. We thank the teams for their exciting contributions to the Open Research Challenge 2017. Below you will find some of the impressions from the teams’ stay in Erlangen.

Exploring the Franconian jungle in the university‘s Botanical Gardens or how Brazil and the UK are at home in Germany (Image: FAU/ Walter Welß)

Under the patronage of FAU’s eponym the Vice-President for International Affairs greets the teams from the Imperial College in London and Unisinos in Sao Leopoldo (Image: FAU/ Christina Dworak)

Experiencing the history of Medical Technology made in Erlangen at the Siemens MedMuseum (Image: FAU/ Katharina Sommer)

Spending an evening with the complete team of the Challengers from FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg (Image: FAU/ Björn Eskofier)

Discussing the future of innovation through interaction at the Service Manufactory in Nuremberg (Image FAU/ Katharina Sommer)

The three winning teams and challengers in the Medical Valley Center at the Long Night of Sciences (Image: FAU/ Katharina Sommer)

We introduce: Team Gait Up

by Katharina Sommer

Posted on 02.10.2017

The second succesful team in our current challenge comes from Gait Up, a spin-off of the University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV) and the Swiss Institute of Technology of Lausanne (EPFL), founded in 2013. During our Autumn school, Gait Up is represented in Erlangen by Farzin Dadashi, VP Software Engineer.

The Gait Up team, (Image: Karim Kanoun)

How did you learn about the challenge and what did you think you first heard about the challenge?

>> We heard from our colleagues in Erlangen about the challenge. We agree that “Seeing is believing”: there are many measurement gait systems available but only few provide intuitive gait visualization, absolutely necessary for the doctor for a full understanding of the gait impairment. So we thought was a great idea to challenge people to bring innovative tools!

How did you find your partners for working on a submission?

>> We submitted this project alone. Of course, we always take care of including the feedbacks from health care provider and researchers we work with.

What knowledge and experience did you bring to the challenge?

>> This was a complete team’s work: a combination of Farzin’s expertise in biomechanics data analysis to develop the software, combined with Karim’s mobile & embed for the integration of the smartphone application.

What was your best experience during the challenge?

>> The most challenging aspect was to provide real-time gait parameters. This allows to have at the same time the visual evaluation of the patient’s gait as well as a direct objective feedback about the gait metrics.

What are you looking forward to the most when you are coming to Erlangen?

>> We look forward to exchange with different people from all around the world around this topic. Additionally, we are curious to visit FAU, Erlangen and other curiosities around.

How did you approach the problem?

>> The gait analysis software was first developed in Python, than it was translated in C to be embedded in the Physilog sensor. Finally, the application was designed to provide an intuitive graphical feedback in real-time.

How long did you work on the challenge? Were there special moments, like huge breakthroughs or moments  when you were thinking about giving up?

>> It is hard to evaluate the time spent on the challenge as it was different pieces of puzzle (gait software, embedded algorithm, application development) put together for this aim.The time we invested was approximately five one-man working days.The breakthrough is when you test it with the tablet in your hands and see your gait phases displayed in real-time while walking.

What did you learn during the challenge?

>> It was a good opportunity to improve our knowledge about embedded algorithm and real-time mobile application.

How would you describe the topic of the challenge and your solution to a non-expert? What makes your solution special and probably helped you win?

Movement is essential in life, but it can be affected by trauma, disease or ageing. Human gait can be quantified thanks to wearable sensors to assess how people move or who is at risk. This challenge consisted in proposing an innovative visualization of this gait measurements to provide the doctor a visual tool . This could be used in the everyday lifeso that the patient can be evaluated even in the home environment!

Many system focus only on the gait spatial parameters; one of the unique features of our solution is that the temporal parameters are represented, a very relevant clinical information. Also, it is very graphic and intuitive to use, thus easy-to-use and interpret for the clinician!

We introduce: The team from Imperial College London

by Katharina Sommer

Posted on 02.10.2017

And last but not least - the third successful team in our challenge comes from the United Kingdom - more precisely Imperial College London. The team consist of Dr. Benny Lo, a Senior Lecturer and his PhD student Yingnan Sun with whom he was working together.

The team from Imperial College: Dr. Benny Lo (right) and Yingnan Sun (left), (Image: Raphaele D. Raupp)

How did you learn about the challenge and what did you think you first heard about the challenge?

>> We learnt about the challenge from a peer who works at FAU. When we first heard about the challenge, we found that it is a very challenging problem, but it could have great potential in pushing the sensing technology for clinical used.

How did you find your partners for working on a submission?

>> I worked with my student on this submission.

What knowledge and experience did you bring to the challenge?

>> I brought in my knowledge in sensing and visualization to the challenge.

What was your best experience during the challenge?

>> The best experience was working on a very tight deadline on a very challenging problem.

What are you looking forward to the most when you are coming to Erlangen?

>> I am looking forward to meet up the Erlangen team and the other competing teams.

How did you approach the problem?

>> From our experience, we understand that there are certain limitation of the inertial sensors and what we can get from the sensors mounted the shoes. In approaching the problem, we designed the visualization based on the constraints of the human joints and estimated the orientation of each joint angles from the sensor data.

How long did you work on the challenge? Were there special moments, like huge breakthroughs or moments  when you were thinking about giving up?

>> We worked on the challenge for about a week. There were many stressful moments throughout the development process.

What did you learn during the challenge?

>> I learnt that we could potentially do more on estimating the joint angles from a pair of sensors on the shoes.

How would you describe the topic of the challenge and your solution to a non-expert? What makes your solution special and probably helped you win?

>> We have developed a web-based 3D visualization system which can estimate and show the walking gait of a subject based on the data acquired from the inertial sensors mounted on the shoes. 

We introduce: The team from Unisinos in Brazil

by Katharina Sommer

Posted on 02.10.2017

Who are the people behind the three successful submission for our 2017 Open Research Challenge IMAGINE? We asked them some questions about themselves and their work. Today, we start with the answers from Malte and Vinicius from the university Unisinos in Brazil:

Team Unisinos

The team from Unisinos, Brazil: Vinicius (left) and Malte (right). (Image: Rodolfo Stoffel Antunes)

How did you learn about the challenge and what did you think you first heard about the challenge?

>> Prof. Eskofier invited us to participate in the challenge. In our project at Unisinos we are working with different kinds of sensors but are not yet at the stage of data analysis. Therefore, we thought the challenge might give us useful insights in data analysis and visualization. Especially the visualization was a task we have never tackled before.

How did you find your partners for working on a submission?

>> Malte studied at FAU in Germany and Vinicius at Unisinos in Brazil. Afterwards, we both joined a research project at Unisinos, which is where we first met.  

What knowledge and experience did you bring to the challenge?

>> Vinicius’ research activities are cloud computing and high performance computing and therefore gait analysis was a great chance for him to look into another area. Malte worked on gait analysis during his Master studies at FAU and therefore had some prior knowledge in this area.

What was your best experience during the challenge?

>> The most interesting part was to work on the animation since both of us never did animations before.

What are you looking forward to the most when you are coming to Erlangen?

>> We think it is a great chance to get in contact with other researchers. Vinicius is eager to get to know the FAU. Both of us are looking forward to the weather because in Brazil it is too hot currently!

Talking about the IMAGINE challenge: How did you approach the problem?

>> We split the task into gait analysis and gait animation. For the analysis we used Python, because both of us have never worked with it before and were eager to know something about it. We implemented a quite basic approach for the extraction of the trajectory from the available data. For example we did a manual stride segmentation. Afterwards we used this data to create the animation in ‘Blender’.

How long did you work on the challenge? Were there special moments, like huge breakthroughs or moments  when you were thinking about giving up?

>> The time we invested was approximately five one-man working days. We had a breakthrough when we managed to move the shoe in ‘Blender’. The biggest breakthrough was when the shoe moved in a human-like way.

What did you learn during the challenge?

>> We learned python programming and basics of animations. For Vinicius the concept of quaternions and orientation estimation was an interesting insight.

How would you describe the topic of the challenge and your solution to a non-expert? What makes your solution special and probably helped you win?

>> Previous to this challenge, human gait was recorded using sensors. The reconstruction and visualization of the foot movement from the sensor data was the aim of this challenge. In a real-life scenario, this data could be recorded in patients’ everyday life. If it was possible to reconstruct the gait on a computer screen, the physician can rate the gait of patients remotely.

Special about our solution is that three different view perspectives are presented to the physician. This might enable a more detailed analysis compared to a single-view analysis.

The winners of the 2017 IMAGINE Challenge

by Philipp Schrögel

Posted on 19.09.2017

For our 2017 Open Research Challenge IMAGINE, we asked researches around the globe to submit a walking-visualization-tool of gait sequences based on given inertial sensor-based gait recordings. An interesting task which led to several interesting submission! Thank you to everybody, who participated, you all put many thoughts and effort into it!

(image: pixabay, CC0)

However, we had the difficult task to decide on the question, which submissions/teams stood out of the others and are going to be invited to an Autumn School in Erlangen. Our experts from the Pattern Recognition Lab at the Department for Computer Sciences at FAU and the Department for Molecular Neurology of the University Hospital took on this task and we are proud to present the three selected teams:

  • A submission from the United Kingdom: Dr. Benny Lo, Senior Lecturer at Imperial College London together with the PhD-student Yingnan Sun
  • A submission from Brasil: Malte Ollenschläger and Vinicius Facco, both Doctoral candidates at the Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos (Unisinos)

  • A submission from Switzerland: A team around Cléo Moulin from the young company GaitUp, a spin-off of the University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV) and the Swiss Institute of Technology of Lausanne (EPFL)

Congratulations! You are going to learn more about the three teams, as we are going to publish some more information on them and their solutions over the course of the next weeks! 

Thank you for the submissions to the IMAGINE Challenge

by Philipp Schrögel

Posted on 14.08.2017

An impression from the ORC Office - the printer is working: the submitted proposals for the IMAGINE challenge are now collected and under review by the experts. Thank you all for your contributions - we received six submissions. This is great, we are looking forward to have a look at them. We will get back to you as soon as possible. Due to the extended deadline, also the schedule for the review probably has to be postponed a little. We will keep you informed!

Deadline extended!

by Philipp Schrögel

Posted on 06.07.2017

The Deadline for our current challenge IMAGINE is approaching with large steps. Thank you all for your interest and questions regarding the challenge so far!

(image: pixabay, CC0)

We also have received some request asking for a bit more time – as a result, we are happy to announce that the deadline for submitting a proposal for the IMAGINE challenge has been moved:

New deadline for the IMAGINE challenge: July 28th, 2017 

We hope you all can make good use of the additional two weeks and work on your ideas and solutions. If you have any more questions, please contact us any time!

Award for the Open Research Challenge!

by Philipp Schrögel

Posted on 05.02.2017

Great news: the FAU Open Research Challenge has been awarded the  "Hochschulperle des Monats" (roughly translated: higher education gem of the month) by the German foundation "Stifterverband". The jury says: "A wonderful project, which is bringing the topic "cooperation" to life in an exemplary way. It brings together researchers and practitioners from all over the world, to jointly address societally relevant scientific questions and also builds new networks and strengthens the global visibility of the university". Thanks to all who worked with us on the project and all who participated! The official announcement ist available here in German: www.stifterverband.org/hochschulperle

The "Hochschulperle" is awarded to creative and innovative projects in the field of research, education and innovation. Each year, different types of projects are considered. In 2017, the focus of the awards lies on "cooperative universities", looking at projects bringing together research institutions and external partners in creative new ways and thereby delivering new inputs for resarch and teaching. The monthly award is chosen by an expert jury. At the end of the year, a public voting on the twelve awards decides on an overall winner as "Hochschulperle des Jahres".

Stifterverband is a joint initiative started by companies and foundations – the only one in Germany to be devoted entirely to consulting, networking and promoting improvements in the fields of education, science and innovation.

Are you ready for the challenge?

by Philipp Schrögel

Posted on 30.01.2017

You have read our anouncement of the next challenge? You are an engineer, doctor or even a full team including doctors and engineers? You already started thinking about the Open Research Challenge and impatiently wait to get started? Well, then we have good news for you! The new year has started, and with it the start of the competition for the challenge is about to arrive soon!

We are making last preparations and finalize the discussions within in our team on the remaining details of the challenge and then we are good to go! Stay tuned, we will officially launch the challenge within the next weeks.

 (Image: FAU/Harald Sippel)

If you are interested in learning more about the scientific and technical background of the project, we recommend this article by our challengers Jochen Klucken and Bjoern M. Eskofier (with colleagues):

"Current challenges demand a profound restructuration of the global healthcare system. A more efficient system is required to cope with the growing world population and increased life expectancy, which is associated with a marked prevalence of chronic neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease (PD). One possible approach to meet this demand is a laterally distributed platform such as the Internet of Things (IoT). Real-time motion metrics in PD could be obtained virtually in any scenario by placing lightweight wearable sensors in the patient's clothes and connecting them to a medical database through mobile devices such as cell phones or tablets. Technologies exist to collect huge amounts of patient data not only during regular medical visits but also at home during activities of daily life. These data could be fed into intelligent algorithms to first discriminate relevant threatening conditions, adjust medications based on online obtained physical deficits, and facilitate strategies to modify disease progression. A major impact of this approach lies in its efficiency, by maximizing resources and drastically improving the patient experience. The patient participates actively in disease management via combined objective device- and self-assessment and by sharing information within both medical and peer groups. Here, we review and discuss the existing wearable technologies and the Internet-of-Things concept applied to PD, with an emphasis on how this technological platform may lead to a shift in paradigm in terms of diagnostics and treatment."

The full article can be found here: "An Emerging Era in the Management of Parkinson's Disease: Wearable Technologies and the Internet of Things"  IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics ( Volume: 19, Issue: 6, Nov. 2015 )

Impressions from the Autumn School

by Philipp Schrögel

Posted on 02.11.2015

Price awarding ceremony at the long night of sciences. (photo: Georg Pöhlein)In October 2015, the three winning teams of the FAU Open Research Challenge were invited to Erlangen to get to know Germany, the region and the university. During the weeklong autumn school, there was plenty of time for cultural, scientific and social explorations. The week started with an excursion to the "Fränkische Schweiz" (Franconian Switzerland) for a hike on the occasion of the „Day of Open Distilleries“.  The next days included an official welcome by the FAU vice president for international relations, a tour through the university and the towns of Erlangen and Nuremberg, industry visits, time for scientific discussions on the challenges and also a trip to Munich. The final event was the public presentation of the Open Research Challenge during the "Long Night of Sciences" and the official price awarding through FAU chancellor Dr. Sibylle Reichert. After a week packed with a lot of activities, the teams left with many impressions and the plan to stay further in contact. We say thank you for the wonderful days and your great contributions to the FAU Open Research Challenge. Below, you will find some pictures from the autumn school. (photo above: Price awarding ceremony at the long night of sciences. Photographer: Georg Pöhlein)

Hiking

Hiking in the Franconian landscape at the beginning of the autumn school. (photo: Thomas Hoffmann)

Hiking

The excursion was a great opportunity to get to know not only the region, but also the other teams and people from FAU. (photo: Thomas Hoffmann)

Welcome by the vice president

The teams are welcomed by FAU vice-president for international relations - Prof. Dr. Günther Leugering. (photo: Sebastian Hemmer)

Team Optimixtli

Team Optimixti from Mexico is discussing their solution at the Chair of Economics, Discrete Optimization,  Mathematics. (photo: Erich Malter)

Team Tartu

Team Tartu worked on a mathematical decoding of holograms. At the Institute of Photonic Technologies, they also had the opportunity to have a look at the laboratory with experimental setups for creating holograms. (photo: Erich Malter)

team UniSA

Team UniSA is visiting the Applied Forensics Computing Group to discuss the various aspects of digital security. (photo: Erich Malter)

At the Long Night of Sciences, a large biennial science festival in the Erlangen Nuremberg metropolitan area, the Open Research Challenge was introduced and the challenges and solutions were presented to the audience. (photo: Philipp Schrögel)

price awarding

The winning teams were awarded by FAU chancellor Dr. Sibylle Reichert.


[Article updated in February 2016]