Centre of Expertise Health Innovation

Research Group Technology for Health Care

A long, healthy life is what we are all hoping for. Thanks to advances in medical knowledge and a higher level of medical technology, the average life expectancy continues to rise. Yet all of these technological possibilities do not automatically lead to a better quality of life. Strong social cohesion is equally as important. Technology needs to serve the patient and promote interpersonal contact, whether this involves the use of care robots, 3D printing, domotics or other devices.

About the research group

Worldwide about one in four people experiences limitations in daily functioning. These can be mild but also very radical or drastic and complex, for example after a stroke, spinal cord injury or when living with dementia. Despite the diversity of limitations and causes thereof, there is one thing these people have in common: they all face all kinds of barriers in society that prevent them from being able to participate like everyone else.

The number of people that experience functional limitations is growing. As a consequence the need for adequate support and care also grows. Not only in The Netherlands, but worldwide. That is not acceptable, certainly not when realizing that this division based on functional limitations partly coincides with socioeconomic and cultural division lines in society. Technology can play a major role as a tool for an inclusive society, and contribute to the sustainability of health and social care. That’s why, in our research group, we focus on (further) developing technology that can be used in the medical field and healthcare sector.

Medical Delta

Research and development activities are carried out in collaboration with partner institutions and companies from the Medical Delta region (Leiden-Delft-Rotterdam): TU Delft, LUMC, Erasmus MC, Sophia Revalidatie, Pieter van Foreest, Parnassia, Intespring, AdjuvoMotion, Robot Care Systems, RD Mobility, Totem Open Health, Westland Orthopedie, OIM, Ordina and numerous others.

About the professor

Luc de Witte

Luc de Witte is a professor of Technology for Healthcare at The Hague University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. Until the end of 2021 he was a Chair in Health Services Research within the Centre for Assistive Technology and Connected Healthcare (CATCH) at the University of Sheffield.

Originally trained as a medical doctor, Luc has always worked on practice oriented research in the field of rehabilitation and long term care, including elderly care, care for people with mental or physical disabilities and care for people with chronic diseases. Earlier in his career he was Professor of Technology in Care at Maastricht University and Zuyd University of Applied Sciences and in the Netherlands, and director of an innovation centre (EIZT) connecting about 35 partners in healthcare, industry and academia. He also chaired the national Centre for Care Technology Research (CCTR) in the Netherlands.

Luc has been involved in a large number of research and development projects. They all had a practice oriented character and aimed to generate knowledge to support care practice and policy. Main themes in his research are: assistive technology service delivery, development and evaluation of e-health applications, care robotics, technology-supported care innovations for low resource settings. His work is largely international. Luc has successfully supervised 35 PhD students and co-authored over 300 publications in international journals.

Additional functions Luc de Witte

  • President of the Global Alliance of Assistive Technology Organisations (GAATO)
  • Active member of the Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe (AAATE)
+31 (0)6 4324 1102
l.p.dewitte@hhs.nl
Projects

Projects

Assistive technology for longer independent living (AW Technology for Home)

Assistive technology for longer independent living (AW Technology for Home)

Assistive devices are of great importance in supporting and improving the users' independence, quality of life and participation in society. With the right aids, people who experience limitations in daily life can also live independently at home for longer. They are also needed to meet the growing demand for care. By using aids, a lot of care can take place in the home situation. The Academic Workshop: Technology for Home* will conduct research that will help to use aids intelligently and effectively in the home situation.

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Robot vacuum cleaners in home care

Robot vacuum cleaners in home care

The workload in home care is high and technological innovations, such as a robot vacuum cleaner, can make a valuable contribution to reducing that workload and the amount of work done by home helpers, among other things. Not enough research has been done on the use of robot vacuum cleaners to be able to say this with certainty. Therefore, in April 2022, a large-scale pilot project was started in the municipalities of Amsterdam and The Hague, in collaboration with the care providers Axxicom Thuishulp, Cordaan Thuisdiensten (both part of Incluzio) and Tzorg, to measure the effect of a robot vacuum cleaner within the Household Help (HbH) domain. During this pilot, 100 robot vacuum cleaners will be used for a year at clients' houses in the municipalities of Amsterdam and The Hague.

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3D printing of lightweight structures (ENLIGHTEN)

3D printing of lightweight structures (ENLIGHTEN)

3D printing provides so many possibilities for product design that it is a highly suitable method for creating customised products. It also makes it possible to print porous and therefore lightweight structures. This provides opportunities for various sectors. The Technology for Health research group is involved in the ENLIGHTEN project. Researchers, designers, machine builders and materials experts from companies and knowledge institutes are working together in this project to resolve the challenge of how to create unique, functional and high-quality lightweight products with 3D printing.
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Functioning as a family with a child with multiple disabilities

Functioning as a family with a child with multiple disabilities

The presence of a child with multiple complex disabilities has many consequences for family life. Many parents say it is difficult to find a balance between providing intensive care for the child and their desire to lead a ‘normal’ life as a family and as a person. Arranging for appropriate support and aids is often complicated and time-consuming. The Technology for Health research group studies what parents need in order to function well as a family.
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Smart Teddy taking care of senior citizens

Smart Teddy taking care of senior citizens

A smart teddy that keeps you company and watches over you can mean that the elderly can live at home longer and need less care. In view of the ageing population and the pressure on healthcare, these types of products are very interesting to use for elderly care. In the 'Smart Teddy' project, the Data Science and Technology for Healthcare research groups are developing and testing an interactive cuddly toy.
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Publications