Special: These theses that change life

It is a recognized fact that PhDs bring undoubted talents and innovative skills to the world of enterprise. UTC has chosen to present - in text, videos and humoristic photos - some theses that have led to highly beneficial applications in our day-to-day life. We’d like to think that you, the entrepreneurs will be inspired to trust PhDs as recruiting officers do all around the world nowadays!

Special: These theses that change life

Sensor networks us to monitor critical situations

Following his first degree studies in computer sciences and their applications, Abdelkrim Hadjidj registered for a Master’s degree “just to see what is was”. After a 6 month placement with a Paris-based start-up, he decided to improve his personal knowledge base and was looking for a research laboratory to do a combined medicine and computer science thesis. He was attracted by the subjects covered at the UTC-Heudiasyc Lab: so in 2009, he register and started his thesis on ‘sensor networks us to monitor critical situations”.

The title evokes one of the promising areas of medicine tomorrow. “We looked at the possibility of having patents carry smart sensors”, he explained. Factors such as cardiac rhythms in sync or not with breathing, arm movements to detect falls … the system is light, collects and forwards the data in real time to a central monitoring station. “If a problem occurs, the monitoring staff call the emergency medical crews or suggest an immediate treatment”.

The technique is not new but there were several technical challenges to be overcome if it was to be developed. “Autonomy is a key factor, to avoid having the patient go and recharge the system battery too often”, details Abdelkrim Hadjidj. “Likewise, the system must remain reliable even if one of the sensors fails. Lastly, there must be a provision to safeguard and protect the data transmitted”. Thanks to the communication protocol he created and use made of recent ‘cloud computing’ facilities, Abdelkrim Hadjidj was able to propose a more reliable system offering far better quality of service.

A demonstrator was equipped to test the possibilities. Several UTC laboratories (BMBI, Roberval …) set up an interdisciplinary project on the theme of function rehabilitation of patients. “The sensors record the speed, the acceleration and the direction of the patents’ limb and body movements during the rehab. programme”.

All the data is safely and securely forwarded via a smartphone using Abdelkrim Hadjidj’s protocol downloaded to a simple Smartphone.

In 2012, after successfully defending his thesis, Abdelkrim Hadjidj was recruited as Project manager by a SSII (computer science company) to work in the area of e-health services. He then decided to launch his own start-up to develop software packages used to process medical images.