Researcher of the month: Maria Lindén
Professor of healthcare engineering with a focus on users
Jan 14, 2015 | Research/Cooperation
Maria Lindén is a professor of healthcare engineering at Mälardalen University (MDH), specializing in medical sensor systems. She is motivated by a desire to solve concrete, practical problems and to make life easier for users.
In the spring of 2014, Maria Lindén was appointed professor of healthcare engineering. In her research at MDH, she works on portable sensor systems used for monitoring physiological data such as pulse, EKG, breathing, mobility and temperature, which can be used in nursing and home healthcare. She has also helped to start the cross-disciplinary research project Arenan för hälso- och välfärdsteknik (‘Arena for health and welfare technology’).
– I am interested in both technology and physics and see great benefits when it comes to using technology in the health area and to understanding how such technology can be used from the user’s perspective.
Research profile develops healthcare technology
Maria Lindén is in charge of the research profile Embedded sensor systems for health (ESS-H) at MDH, comprising some 40 employees. It’s a six-year project that started in the spring 2013 and aims at developing health technology. In total, the Knowledge Foundation, MDH and a number of companies are investing 84 million kronor to support a nationally leading and internationally competitive research environment in the Mälardalen region.
– The region is really interested in and determined to cooperate with us in different ways, and that’s true of municipalities, county councils as well as companies. That makes it extra fun to work at MDH, says Maria Lindén.
Sensor systems help elderly with multiple chronic conditions
Within the ESS-H research profile, the University, together with eight companies, municipalities and county councils, is developing sensor systems to promote health in three different projects.
– The biggest project is about monitoring, with the help of sensor systems, the condition of elderly people with multiple chronic diseases who live at home. These systems can be used by people simultaneously suffering from, for example, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes. The collection of data can be used for direct feedback, for example if somebody has fallen, or to follow health trends over a longer period. In the project, we want to help the participants to a healthier lifestyle and detect deteriorated health conditions early.
Project contributes to safer work environment
The second project is about sensor systems in workplaces in order to create a safer work environment. The aim is to monitor physiological parameters such as stress levels, fatigue, exhaustion and alcohol in different work environments, for example in drivers of different types of vehicles or machine operators. It is about collecting data, reactions to signals and support for decisions in different types of work environments where measuring can be difficult.
– This is something that can be used in contexts as diverse as hospitals and mines.
The third project connects to the other two areas by investigating how data transmission can take place in ways that are both safe and respect the patient’s integrity. If an alarm sounds, it must reach the right receiver without compromising the patient’s integrity.
Funding of two new projects
– We are also working strategically for establishing new national and international cooperation, which just recently resulted in two approved project proposals, says Maria Lindén.
One of them is the AAL (Ambient Assisted Living) project CAMI, which includes eight international partners and is about the use of IT to support the health of elderly people at home. The other project is "Starka distribuerade forskningsmiljöer (SIDUS), a joint project of Örebro University, SICS East, SICS and MDH.
International conference in Västerås
Early this summer, on 2-4 June, the international conference pHealth will take place in Västerås. It’s an annual international conference where experts on portable technologies for personalized health come from all over the world to meet. This year, Sweden and Västerås will host the conference, with Maria Lindén being the main responsible.
– We count on approximately 200 experts within the field to attend the conference, says Maria Lindén.
She got employed at MDH in 1999, when she had a doctoral degree in medical engineering from Linköping University. In her doctoral thesis, she had developed medical technology for measuring micro-circulation with laser.
Facts about Maria Lindén
Family: husband Bengt Stridh (solar energy expert at ABB and researcher at MDH) and the Lusitano horse Unico.
Spare-time interests: Horses, being out in nature, and gliding on the ice of Lake Mälaren on touring skates are among her absolute favourites.
Home: an energy-efficient house with solar collectors and photovoltaic cells in Gäddeholm outside of Västerås.
Background: originally from Nässjö; earned her doctoral degree at Linköping University.