ERA PerMed 2021 - Multidisciplinary Research Projects on Personalised Medicine – Development of Clinical Support Tools for Personalised Medicine Implementation

Acquire digiTal biomarkErs in infanCy witH sensorized TOYS for early detection and monitoring of neurodevelopmental disorders – TECH-TOYS

Submission summary

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 lifelong 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.

Project coordinator

Giovanni CIONI (Fondazione Stella Maris)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


Fondazione Stella Maris
ORIGYNE DMU APHP.Sorbonne : Femmes Mères Enfants (Obstétrique Reproduction Infertilité Gynécologie Enfants)
SU Sorbonne Université

Help of the ANR 1,141,334 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: August 2022 - 36 Months

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