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Local case studies

To complement the stories of common citizens contributing to scientific research and the artworks presented in ‘Beyond the Lab: The DIY science revolution’, each venue hosting the exhibition presents a local example of how RRI is or can be applied in research in the field of medicine and healthcare. Sparks partners have worked within local partnerships with researchers, universities, NGOs and citizens to identify the object or the research that would be featured in the local corner of the exhibition.

Bonn Science Shop - Nutrition and Dementia

The local case study was developed in cooperation with the Competence Cluster Diet-Body-Brain (DietBB) of the University of Bonn. The network DietBB investigates the relation between dietary factors and the development of cognition across the lifespan. The LCS showcased the importance of transdisciplinary research as well as the relevance of cooperation with citizens through long-term population studies to document nutritional patterns. For the latter, a new app is being developed to enable the people to easily document their dietary behaviour.

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Photo credit: Wissenschaftsladen Bonn e.V.

London Science Museum - Eye Wink

EyeWink is a device created by PhD students from the University of Essex. It uses an open source brain-computer interface (OpenBCI) to control a smartphone through the electrical activity of muscles contracting when the user winks. The vision behind EyeWink is to change the way in which we communicate and interact with the technology. In the future, this technology could be applied to many different contexts, including controlling an electronic wheelchair or changing the slides in a presentation.

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Photo credit: Science Museum

Copenicus Science Centre Warsaw – Paweł Szczęsny’s research on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

SIDS or ‘crib death’, the unexplained death of infants between 2 and 12 months old, affects about one in 2,000 children. Paweł Szczęsny, PhD, from the Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics (Polish Academy of Sciences) and Warsaw University, intends to accelerate research done by scientists on understanding the causes of crib death through greater openness not only of research results, but of the research process itself, using citizen science to modernly thinking about the responsible conduct of scientific research.

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Photo credit: Agata Steifer

Hiša eksperimentov – Sweet-o-bike

 “Sweet-o-bike” is an interactive tool for diabetes education developed by Hiša eksperimentov in collaboration with Dr. Karin Kanc (Jazindiabetes d.o.o). The rider of the Sweet-o-bike sees virtual food approaching on the screen. S/he has to choose what to eat but in order to stay on the road, s/he has to dose the right amount of insulin. After the ride, s/he will get a diagram of the training: the "Sweet-o-gram" which is part of regular patients’ education at Dr. Karin Kanc's clinic.

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Photo credit: Hisa eksperimentov


Luxembourg Science Centre - The Force-measuring Helmet

After his father had a ski accident, Niccolò, a 16-year-old student from Luxembourg developed the Force-measuring Helmet which allows monitoring the strength of an impact onto the head. Not only does the device tell you whether the helmet is damaged−and thus should be changed−or not, but also helps doctors evaluate the severity of possible head injuries. To develop the helmet, Niccolò got in contact with leading scientists in brain injury research and learned all about the subject he wanted to exploit.

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Photo credit: Luxembourg Science Centre

Tycho Brahe Planetarium Copenhagen – RRI in space research and medicine

Space medicine is a field with great implications in health and body economy from an RRI point of view. Lonnie Grove Petersen (MD. Ph.D. in Anestethics and Cardiology at University of Copenhagen and University of San Diego) is the leading scientist in space medicine in Denmark with a large experience in working with test-persons both on Earth and in Space. She has been willing to discuss all aspects of her research and has been open about the research process from the initial idea to the final publication.

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Parque de las Ciencias Granada – Diálisis 24H app

Diálisis 24H is a mobile application to provide information and support to renal-impaired patients and help them adapting their diet. To develop and improve the app, nurses Ruth Molina and Mercedes Muñoz drew from conclusions and feedback from different stakeholders in the field of health, particularly paying attention to users’ needs, values and experiences.

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Photo credit: Parque de las Ciencias

Blue World Institute – Noise pollution

In the coastal region where the islands of Lošinj and Cres are located, tourism is the most significant economic activity. But it also causes noise pollution in urban areas which lowers the quality of everyday life, affects citizens’ mental health as well as the tourism offer in the area. Together with the local school, the NGO “Idem i ja”, the national Centre for Public Health and the company Vizor, Blue World Institute created a noise map of the town of Mali Lošinj. The initiative led to a collaborative project and helped raise public awareness on how noise pollution affects health on a daily basis.

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European University of Cyprus - Sports for all

The ‘Sports for all’ programme was initiated by the Government of Cyprus and involves weekly sports activities for the elderly. The programme was presented in the context of a reflection about physical exercise as a means of improving health while offering entertainment and inclusion to the elderly. The needs and considerations of the elderly people who participated in the Reverse Science Café at the EUC were taken into account while designing a training programme in close collaboration with pensioners, individuals, specialists and scientists to enable older people to be active, exercise and socialize at the same time.

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Photo credit: European University of Cyprus.


Pavilhão do Conhecimento Ciência Viva – BITalino

BITalino is a ‘do-it-yourself’ kit that consists of sensors measuring heart, muscle or nervous system signals, plus a microcontroller, a Bluetooth connection, a battery and a power management module. No advanced knowledge of electronics or computer science is required so anyone can create projects autonomously and learn how to use their body signals for different purposes. In healthcare, BITalino can be used for heart self-monitoring or as a tool for people with physical disabilities but it is also used by artists, companies, universities and people from different areas, successfully linking science, industry and society.

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Photo credit: Ciência Viva

Norrköping Visualization Center C - Biohacking and chip implants

Non-commercial and curiosity-driven, biohacking is a growing movement of people who work with biological experiments outside the academic world. One of them, Jowan Österlund, is the founder of Biohax International and record holder in the number of implanted RFID chips per day. Chip implants what for? To familiarize the public with this new procedure, Visualization Center C displayed the standard equipment used to inject a chip into a hand, a real-size chip implant as well as the types of objects (cards and keys) that could be replaced by the chip.

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Photo credit: Mariadele Arcuri Rossoni

Neulogy Bratislava

LifeClick is a mobile application aimed at connecting people in health threatening conditions with qualified rescuers, who are close and can provide first aid before the ambulance arrives. LifeClick creates a database of doctors, rescuers, healthcare professionals willing to help in these situations and if help is asked through the app, it will locate the closest possible help and navigate it to the person in need.

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Photo credit: LifeClick 



Ars Electronica - Cinematic rendering

Cinematic Rendering takes 3-D depictions of the human body to the next level of image quality. This project was developed by Siemens Healthcare and shown in Deep Space 8K as a vivid example of how science can benefit from artistic impetus. This medical imaging technique is also used in the museum to teach anatomy to students of the applied medical school. Various aspects of cinematic rendering (art & science benefits, museum as a lecture room and all its implications) were discussed at the Reversed Science Café. The public also experience it during a Science Espresso in Ars Electronica’s Deep Space 8k.

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Photo credit: Magdalena Sick-Leitner


Cap Sciences - SPINE, the online participatory neuroscience laboratory

The SPINE mobile application allows non-scientists take part in neuroscience research by playing at commenting MRI brain images. Trained online, thousands of players can help analyse huge medical image collections, assisting specialists in this time-consuming task thus contributing to answer pressing questions about Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases. The game follows the progression of the contributors to make them take on more challenges proposed by participating researchers from France, USA and elsewhere. This project is carried out by the University of Bordeaux with Brigham and Women's Hospital (affiliated with Harvard Medical School, Boston).

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Photo credit: Cap Sciences

Ellinogermaniki Agogi - Food waste and Mediterranean diet

Based on two Greek innovations, CityCrop - an intelligent indoor garden that lets you grow pesticide-free food all year round - and NutrINsider - the all-in-one supermarket app helping organise daily routines and shopping behaviour at the supermarket - the department of Research and Development of Ellinogermaniki Agogi together with the Healthy Teens team from the Third grade of EA Gymnasium co and experts reflected together on Food Waste, the importance of Mediterranean diet and of the Greek medicinal and aromatic plants for healthier lifestyles in Greece.

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Photo credit: Ellinogermaniki Agogi


AHHAA Science Centre - Lumi

Because her daughter had skin conditions, Helen Hirv started working with researchers, and discovered that it could be controlled by using food grade hemp seed oil, which led her to create LUMI her own natural cosmetics line. The local natural cosmetics company which has turned now into a reputable cosmetics brand showed the relevance of the relevance of citizen science as a community-building and self-realization technique.

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Photo credit: AHHAA Science Centre

Technopolis - Biobanking and informed consent forms

The local case study focused on how medical research institutions like Bimetra (the research department of the hospital of Ghent) can work with the public and gather opinions and research input.

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Esplora - The Malta Genome Project

The Malta Genome Project traces the Maltese genome and the origins of the Maltese DNA. This research provides results such as where do certain rare blood diseases such as diabetes and thalassemia - particularly common in Malta - come from. The local display of the exhibition showcased the process of studying and extracting a DNA strand from a subject as well as a video of an application developed to explain a DNA strand and how we can get plenty of information on our genetics through a single strand of DNA.

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Photo credit: Esplora

Institute of Social Innovation - Aresi Labs' research on benign paroxysmal positional vertigo

About 2% of the population of Lithuania suffers from Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, a disorder of the inner ear. Special exercises that have to be performed by patients to relieve the spinning sensation in their head take physicians a lot of time to supervise. Aresi Labs, together with Vilnius University Hospital, found a way to fix this problem in a cheaper and more effective way. They created a simple VR application to help patients and ease the doctors’ work. The Epley VR app uses a Gear VR headset and guides the patient to perform the manoeuvre using visual clues and audio feedback. Since normally this manoeuvre has to be repeated up to 3 times, this allows doctors to let patients repeat by themselves. The app also measures the manoeuvres accuracy, and notifies the patient and the doctor in case the exercise has to be repeated.

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Photo credit: Aresi Labs


Heureka - Gene tests

The exhibit told about the history of gene technology from Mendel to future. It also explained what kind of gene tests are available nowadays and how the technology has developed so that the tests are available for general public today.

Together with the story panels there was an interactive display where people were given some very simple gene tests.

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Photo credit: Heureka

Discovery Center Continium - iSPEX and MONOCLE

iSPEX is a completely new way to measure particulate matter. By clicking an attachment for the lens of your iPhone you can change this everyday object into a scientific instrument. This instrument measures the properties of small particles in the air: particulate matter.

From 2018 the project will be followed up, by developing equipment and software to measure the quality of water (and air), including smartphones, drones and sensors on buoys. Satellite images often fall short when it comes to charting water quality well. The project is called MONOCLE, and is supported by the European Union. MONOCLE is an international collaboration between knowledge institutions and companies.

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Photo credit: Monocle


Vidzeme Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship - 80 brîvdienas

'80 brîvdnienas' is a smartphone application aimed at reducing tobacco consumption and create interest in a healthy lifestyle.

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Photo credit: Zinoo

Environmental Social Science Research Group - E-NABLE

E-NABLE Hungary is the local group of an international volunteer movement. The members of this group created 3D printed arms for children and adults without fingers or hands. Thanks to the open source designs the group shares information available to anyone, while redefining the borders of the norm in a playful manner. This rapidly increasing network empowers people to join this circle of students, teachers, parents, designers, engineers, artists and makers and provide self-confidence and a healthy body.

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Photo credit: ESSRG


Science Gallery Gamma  - birds online

Environmental research also includes research about the animals that live in a certain ecosystem. This has ceased being a domain reserved to expert since a long time. Thanks to the smart bird rooms project and to Marketa Zarybnicka (Czech University of Life Sciences), schools and the general public can also take part in animal research. 

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Museo delle scienze - GLIFO

GLIFO is the product of a fruitful collaboration between designers, doctors and physiotherapists who worked together to create a support for children with physical  disabilities to help them write and paint.

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Photo credit: Muse


Sapientia University - Air quality in the Ciuc basin

The local case study developed around the role of air quality in public health in the Ciuc basin. This topic is important due to the characteristics of Ciuc basin, where the atmospheric stability has a role in the accumulation of air pollutants and influences their degradation, dispertion and disposition. As an effect of the air pollution, respiratory track and lung diseases' incidence is high.

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Photo credit: unknown

Technical University Sofia - 3D-printed bone implants

Coming soon.


Science Gallery Dublin - The Irish longitudinal study on ageing

The local case study showcased the work of the Intellectual DIsability Supplement to the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (IDS-TILDA) at Trinity College Dublin. This study, first of its kind in the world, directly compares the ageing experience of people with an intellectual disability to the general ageing population.

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Photo credit: Trinity College Dublin