ID 2359: Ubiquitous Investigation of Overall State of Health based on Palliative Care Patients’ Toothbrushing Behavior

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Master’s thesis/Bachelor’s thesis/Project


A major issue in modern palliative medicine is the lack of objective and continuous assessment of the health status of patients. This status can be classified by measurement tools such as the Karnofsky index or ECOG (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group) score. The suitability of patients for certain therapies is influenced by this measurement. The score of a patient within these scales is largely determined by the ability to perform so-called activities of daily living (ADL).

At the moment, physicians largely rely on questionnaires to assess performance of those ADL. However, this bears the risk that the examination is not representative, as it is collected at a single moment and the patient’s statement may be influenced by the presence of the doctor, and only reflects one point in time.

In order to be able to get a more accurate and detailed overview of the current state of health, a passive and continuous assessment of these conditions would be beneficial.

Previous works within the Machine and Data Analytic Lab chose a novel ubiquitous approach to measure some of these activities. One of the selected activities was toothbrushing, which was as- sessed with a “smart” toothbrush. The device incorporates low power microcontrollers and sensors (accelerometer/gyrometer). Thus, the device passively records toothbrushing behaviour.


  • Continue development of the existing toothbrush prototype
  • Improvement of study design
  • Conduction of study for healthy participants as well as patients (on the hospital ward)
  • Data evaluation

Your profile/your previous experiences

  • Some previous Arduino/IoT experience (C)
  • Basic data science skills (Python)
  • Very good (C1) German skills (You will be involved in a study on a hospitalward and you will need to talk to German-speaking patients, nurses, and doctors)
  • Physical presence in Erlangen during the project/thesis (you will need to regularly visit the palliative care station in Erlangen West/Europakanal)

Please include 2-3 sentences about your motivation, information about previous experience in Arduino/IoT development, a CV and transcript of records in all applications.


Michael Nissen, M. Sc.

Researcher & PhD Candidate

Please contact Michael either directly or use the application form to apply for the topic. We will then get in contact with you.