MEET OUR PARTNER: Otilia Kocsis, University of Patras

This week, we had the opportunity to ask some questions to one of our partners from the University of Patras, Otilia Kocsis. Here below the full interview.

What is the main role of the University of Patras in SmartWork?

University of Patras has a leading role in SmartWork project, being the technical and scientific coordinator and also leading one of the core technological work packages, which implements the data-driven modelling of office workers and Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools for decision support in various domains (e.g. well-being, work). In addition, University of Patras is leading many other technical tasks and activities, related to supporting employers to improve team work efficiency and to integration of the SmartWork system.

In the first 18 months of the project we have already delivered first prototypes for a large number of components, including functional, cognitive and work ability modelling tools, prediction tools for risk assessment of chronic health conditions, team optimization and training needs assessment tools, etc. These developments represent the ground for project roadmap towards testing the system with end users, as the deployment in semi-controlled conditions is starting now.

What was the idea behind your participation in this project?

University of Patras participates in SmartWork through its Communications and Information Technologies Laboratory (WCL), established in 1967 at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The WCL and its scientific personnel, in particular the VVR Group, have a strong publication and research track record in the area of telemedicine (eHealth and mHealth), virtual physiological human, acoustic signal processing, decision support systems and machine learning. Some of the most recent projects at WCL include: NoTremor – Virtual, Physiological and Computational Neuromuscular Models for the Predictive Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease; myAirCoach – Analysis, modelling and sensing of both physiological and environmental factors for the customized and predictive self-management of Asthma; OActive – Advanced personalised, multi-scale computer models preventing osteoarthritis.

The participation in SmartWork came as a natural continuation of these past research activities, as we were already working on user modelling, however by keeping it focused to a certain health condition. In SmartWork not only we move towards a holistic modelling framework of our users, but we are also much more interested in early prediction of potential on-set of chronic conditions in order to support the office workers to adopt healthier attitudes and behaviors to delay or avoid the occurrence of such health problems.

What added value do you expect SmartWork will bring to your university and its researchers?

University of Patras is one of the top academic institutions of Greece, with post-graduate studies and research being well recognized in Europe. In particular, WCL is leading the Master programme in Biomedical Engineering at University of Patras, Prof. Konstantinos Moustakas being the Director of the master programme. SmartWork is an opportunity for us to make sure that the training and research opportunities we offer to our students are state-of-the art and innovative, thus they are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to work in the best interest of our society in their future careers.

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