Nov. 01, 2019 to Oct. 01, 2022

The joint project ActiVAtE (“Activity Tracking Data to Understand Volition, Attrition and Engagement towards Healthy Behaviors in Diabetic Patients and Controls”) aims to collect data on the physical activity of people with and without diabetes using wearables such as Smartwatches. In cooperation with several project partners, FOKUS will evaluate the collected data which will then be made available for further interdisciplinary purposes.

The use of mobile devices and apps can promote and maintain individual motivation to participate in physical activities in the long term. Healthcare Apps and Smartwatches are already used in many places for the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Within the ActiVAte project, they will be used to collect activity data and motivate up to 3000 participants.

The observation of the test persons' physical activities will be carried out over a year and will amount to a total of about one million human days. Each Smartwatch generates several measurements per minute from different sensors throughout the day. Based on the interaction of these measurements, specially developed algorithms can be used to determine whether the test persons are either sitting, or if they’re currently moderately to highly physically active. Several times a day, this data is sent to the test subjects' smartphones and from there, as soon as an Internet connection is available, to the University of Vechta for storage and processing.

The amount of data resulting from the measurements is too large and complex to be analyzed using manual and traditional data processing techniques. In this project, Fraunhofer FOKUS is therefore responsible for developing an energy-efficient and selective transmission and processing system. In addition, FOKUS will design the applications on the Smartwatches, as well as additional mobile devices through which the data can be selected and collected in an orderly fashion. Fraunhofer FOKUS also created the technical design for data storage and backup.

ActiVAtE is centered on the acquisition and the processing of Big Data – data generated by the activity trackers and combined with individual health data and socio-economic data – with a focus on diabetes and prevention of age-related chronic diseases.

The information obtained on the activity of people with and without diabetes can be used to formulate concrete individualized health goals for physical activity. The research results should enable the recording and maintenance of physical activity for a large number of participants and maximise treatment adherence through new findings in the area of motivation. The data collected in the project will be used to create a comprehensive database on which future projects on health and activity can also draw.

The project is made possible by a cooperation with the University of Vechta, the Vechta Clinic, the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences for Sport and Management and a diabetology practice in Vechta. The Volkswagen Foundation is providing ActiVAtE with a grant of one million euros over three years.