A garment-integrated artificial intelligence-based sensor system for early detection of stress in people with impaired cognition

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Brief description

We will develop a garment-integrated sensor system for stress detection in people with intellectual disabilities and dementia.


Dr. Hanneke Smaling, senior researcher, UNC-ZH/LUMC
Dr. Franka Meiland, senior researcher, UNC-ZH/LUMC
Esmee Adam MSc, junior researcher, UNC-ZH/LUMC       


Dr. Hanneke Smaling

Start study

1 June 2021                     

Expected completion

1 June 2023 


People with intellectual disabilities and dementia are sensitive to stress and may have limited verbal abilities. Their caregivers are faced with the challenge of reading and regulating their care recipient's stress level and mood based on non-verbal signals. Late recognition of stress can lead to challenging behaviour, such as aggression.

Challenging behaviour reduces the quality of life, makes care and support more difficult and more expensive, and the burden on caregivers leads to higher-than-average workplace absenteeism and staff turnover. It is therefore crucial to develop aids that increase the quality of care while also reducing the burden on caregivers.

In this project, we will develop a prototype that can determine the build-up of stress in a person based on physiology measurements and behavioural models. The device uses information from sensors worn in clothing. The device makes it possible to identify early signs of stress build-up in people with intellectual disabilities or dementia. It warns the caregiver before stress levels reach a critical point, which enables the caregiver to respond to the needs of the client better and more quickly. This may prevent escalation of the situation, thereby reducing the amount of care needed, improve quality of life, reduce the burden on caregivers, and lower healthcare costs.

In collaboration with

Mentech Innovation BV
Technische Universiteit Eindhoven
Tilburg University, Academische Werkplaats Leven met een verstandelijke beperking
's Heeren Loo Zorggroep


ZonMw (10-10400-98-20003) / Health Holland (LSHM21001)