Project: Acquire digiTal biomarkErs in infanCy witH sensorized TOYS for early detection and monitoring of neurodevelopmental disorders

Acronym TECH-TOYS (Reference Number: ERAPERMED2021-309)
Duration 01/09/2022 - 01/09/2025
Project Topic Neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) are a group of frequent (1/10 children) sensori-motor, cognitive, communication, learning, behavioural disorders of multifactorial aetiology, with onset early in life but life-long consequences. Despite advances in our understanding of aetiology, diagnosis and start of intervention are often late (many months after onset of first clinical signs) and not based on quantitative data. Thanks to a multidisciplinary approach, TECH-TOYS aims to develop an innovative technological play setting (i.e., a gym equipped with a sensorized mat, a set of sensorized toys, wearable inertial movement units and cameras), suitable at infant’s natural environment, to provide easy-to-handle quantitative measurements of infant’s neurodevelopment and infant-caregiver interaction. Obtained data will provide a computational Precision Model for early detection of atypical features. Specifically, we will acquire measurements of motor behaviours (such as global motor activity indexes, infant’s grasp, arm movements towards the toys…) and also gaze activities and social competence, in infant-caregiver interaction during interactive play. We will use multimodal machine learning techniques to identify digital biomarkers grounded in Explainable Artificial Intelligence, taking advantage of a combination of previous big data already acquired with new ones collected prospectively during the project. The results will lead to an optimization of early diagnosis, providing a playful technological environment where the infant, playing at home and interacting with his/her mother, will make available quantitative digital biomarkers, crucial to identify, early and timely, the risk for NDDs. Ethical, legal and social aspects (ELSA) of this approach will be also deeply covered. Moreover, parents’ organizations will be part of the Ethics Monitoring Board. Finally, the Health Technology Assessment (HTA), thanks also to a SME as partner, will provide cost effectiveness analysis.
Network ERA PerMed
Call 4th Joint Transnational Call for Proposals (2021)

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 IRCCS Fondazione Stella Maris Coordinator Italy
2 Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry of the Salpétrière Hospital (APHP) Partner France
3 Sorbonne Université Partner France
4 Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU) Partner Germany
5 Khymeia S.r.l. Partner Italy
6 Istanbul Technical University Partner Turkey