Technological expertise

Plymouth Institute of Health and Care Research (PIHR) represents technological and research expertise in a range of areas including:

  • robotics and artificial intelligence
  • virtual and immersive reality
  • mHealth and telehealth
  • cybersecurity
  • big data and health informatics
  • assistive music technology
  • machine learning
  • technology implementation and behaviour change
  • evaluation and health policy.

Robotics and artificial intelligence

We are investigating the development and use of humanoid and companion robots, and other digital devices, such as voice activated assistants, to transform the provision of health and care, from assistive living and health monitoring to cognitive training and social engagement. 

Enabled by artificial intelligence and machine learning these technologies are able to interact with and respond to people, adapting to their behaviour, emotions and needs to better support their health and wellbeing. Examples include the use of functional electrical stimulation mediated by iterative learning control and robotics to improve arm movement for people with multiple sclerosis and use of machine-learning to identify undiagnosed dementia.

Virtual and immersive reality

We have strong capabilities in the development and application of virtual, augmented and immersive reality technologies, with their use in health and care a particular strength, from design and software development to implementation and clinician / patient / public experience of using such technologies. Examples include a comparison of virtual reality with on-screen presentation of an analogue trauma to test interventions applied to PTSD.

mHealth and telehealth

Our research and innovation on the design, development, evaluation and application of online and mobile digital technologies, products, services and digitally enabled approaches across health, care and wellbeing. 

From remote monitoring of health conditions and patient self-care management to supporting lifestyle behaviour change and managing appointments we work with NHS, care organisations, businesses and patient groups to deliver digital innovations of relevance to the needs of clinicians, patients and public.

Cybersecurity, big data and health informatics

The University of Plymouth’s Centre for Cyber Security, Communications and Network Research, Big Data and Medical Statistics teams’ are actively engaged in a range of health technology related projects and initiatives. From development and evaluation of medical information systems, health network cybersecurity and healthcare software to health data analysis and interpretation, including medical imaging and use of machine learning to analyse clinical patient data for decision-making and diagnosis.

Assistive music technology

We are a pioneer in the development of Brain-Computer Music Interfaces (BCMI) to enable people with severe motor-impairment to make music by means of brain signals. 

We are championing the development innovative intelligent systems that can monitor affective state, and induce specific affective states through music, automatically and adaptively. 

We are harnessing Artificial Intelligence to adapt and personalise live radio, by seamlessly remixing live digital broadcast, with the aim of transforming life for people living alone with dementia. Listeners will receive personalised reminders, information and music according to monitored behaviour and real-time physiological measurements.

Technology implementation and behaviour change

Research into behaviour change and the implementation of technology is central to the successful design, development, validation and adoption of health technologies, from human-computer interaction and patient experience to imagery, motivation and understanding barriers to adoption. Our strengths in this area are reflected in the training of our students in the healthcare professions to be digital health champions.

Evaluation and health policy

From evaluation of technology usability and efficacy to healthcare systems, policy implementation and health economics we work with NHS, health and care providers, businesses, patients / end users and research organisations to facilitate the development, validation and adoption of health technology innovations.

Centre for Health Technology

Bringing together digital health and health technology expertise from across the University to drive the development, evaluation and implementation of innovative technologies, products, services and approaches to transform health and social care.

Find out more about the Centre for Health Technology