Development of an Open-source and Lightweight Sensor Recording Software System for Conducting Biomedical Research: Technical Report.

Single, Michael; Bruhin, Lena C; Schütz, Narayan; Naef, Aileen C; Hegi, Heinz; Reuse, Pascal; Schindler, Kaspar A; Krack, Paul; Wiest, Roland; Chan, Andrew; Nef, Tobias; Gerber, Stephan M (2023). Development of an Open-source and Lightweight Sensor Recording Software System for Conducting Biomedical Research: Technical Report. JMIR formative research, 7(e43092), e43092. JMIR Publications 10.2196/43092

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Digital sensing devices have become an increasingly important component of modern biomedical research, as they help provide objective insights into individuals' everyday behavior in terms of changes in motor and nonmotor symptoms. However, there are significant barriers to the adoption of sensor-enhanced biomedical solutions in terms of both technical expertise and associated costs. The currently available solutions neither allow easy integration of custom sensing devices nor offer a practicable methodology in cases of limited resources. This has become particularly relevant, given the need for real-time sensor data that could help lower health care costs by reducing the frequency of clinical assessments performed by specialists and improve access to health assessments (eg, for people living in remote areas or older adults living at home).


The objective of this paper is to detail the end-to-end development of a novel sensor recording software system that supports the integration of heterogeneous sensor technologies, runs as an on-demand service on consumer-grade hardware to build sensor systems, and can be easily used to reliably record longitudinal sensor measurements in research settings.


The proposed software system is based on a server-client architecture, consisting of multiple self-contained microservices that communicated with each other (eg, the web server transfers data to a database instance) and were implemented as Docker containers. The design of the software is based on state-of-the-art open-source technologies (eg, Node.js or MongoDB), which fulfill nonfunctional requirements and reduce associated costs. A series of programs to facilitate the use of the software were documented. To demonstrate performance, the software was tested in 3 studies (2 gait studies and 1 behavioral study assessing activities of daily living) that ran between 2 and 225 days, with a total of 114 participants. We used descriptive statistics to evaluate longitudinal measurements for reliability, error rates, throughput rates, latency, and usability (with the System Usability Scale [SUS] and the Post-Study System Usability Questionnaire [PSSUQ]).


Three qualitative features (event annotation program, sample delay analysis program, and monitoring dashboard) were elaborated and realized as integrated programs. Our quantitative findings demonstrate that the system operates reliably on consumer-grade hardware, even across multiple months (>420 days), providing high throughput (2000 requests per second) with a low latency and error rate (<0.002%). In addition, the results of the usability tests indicate that the system is effective, efficient, and satisfactory to use (mean usability ratings for the SUS and PSSUQ were 89.5 and 1.62, respectively).


Overall, this sensor recording software could be leveraged to test sensor devices, as well as to develop and validate algorithms that are able to extract digital measures (eg, gait parameters or actigraphy). The proposed software could help significantly reduce barriers related to sensor-enhanced biomedical research and allow researchers to focus on the research questions at hand rather than on developing recording technologies.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research
10 Strategic Research Centers > ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research > ARTORG Center - Gerontechnology and Rehabilitation
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW)

UniBE Contributor:

Single, Michael Andreas, Bruhin, Lena Carolina, Schütz, Narayan, Naef, Aileen, Hegi, Heinz, Reuse, Pascal, Schindler, Kaspar, Krack, Paul, Wiest, Roland Gerhard Rudi, Chan, Andrew Hao-Kuang, Nef, Tobias, Gerber, Stephan Moreno


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment




JMIR Publications




Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

20 Feb 2023 13:19

Last Modified:

26 Feb 2023 02:16

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Uncontrolled Keywords:

biomedical research digital measures on-demand deployment sensor platform sensor recording software



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