Digital Life is a research group at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. Our applied research is focused on empowering the lives of people, especially in the health and wellbeing domain via data-driven systems and digital technologies. Our research topics embrace the challenges in the design and evaluation of human-computer interaction and user-experience research of innovative technologies.



This project is about Collaborative Practices of Digitally Reaching Out (Co-PRODIGY). It explores creative and participatory research methods for wellbeing in times of physical distance.

Digital Trust Infrastructure

This project focuses on the question: ‘How can a data-driven approach to social issues lead to an improvement in quality of life, more safety and innovation?’ Specifically, it is about being able to share information conditionally in emergency situations. Which data exchange scenarios are possible and especially desirable?
This is being worked on in a broad consortium including the Municipality of Amsterdam, the Amsterdam-Amstelland Safety Region and the National Police. Citizen participation and public values – such as transparency, data control and people first – play a leading role.

Growing Roots - Connecting Elderly through Virtual Nature

Loneliness among the elderly is a growing problem with major consequences for health and well-being. Contact with nature can counteract these feelings and encourage pro-social behaviour, but the opportunities for people to visit nature are often limited by reduced mobility and self-reliance. This project investigates the requirements and functionalities with regard to a digital nature environment to combat loneliness without the intensive intervention of care staff and caregivers.

Co-Well: Co-Creative methods for wellbeing at a distance

With the Corona pandemic, physical, social and mental well-being are under pressure. Digital solutions can help to support and bridge distances. However, vulnerable groups in particular run the risk of being digitally excluded. Moreover, face-to-face research and co-creation is now difficult in the new distant society that is brought on by the Corona pandemic. For example in the case of doing face-to-face study and observations in healthcare institutions. The aim of this research is to develop new physical, participatory and co-creative research methods for ‘well-being’ at a distance.

BAAT needs: Tailor-made exercise

Physical exercise is essential for promoting and restoring the physical independence of the elderly. This project focuses on creative user-centred design research for supporting elderly in tailor-made (digital) exercise that best fits their individual needs. A co-creative kit has been developed for the remote investigation of the needs and preferred exercise solution during COVID-19 in context.

FAIR: No words but data

This project explores the more efficient and better use of data by applying the FAIR principles: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable.

The focus in this project is on learning how to apply the FAIR principles and exploring the implementation within the People in Movement (MiB) / Urban Vitality program. In view of the recent circumstances, we also pay attention to the development of FAIR data with regard to the Covid-19 pandemic.

De interactieve woonkamer - Guiding Environment

This project aims to develop an interactive living room that helps people with dementia to live independently for longer. Stimulating the ability to independently perform General Daily Operations (ADL) is the most important focus area in maintaining and increasing the quality of life of this group. The interactive living room to be developed aims to support and stimulate this ADL, mobility and orientation.

Playful Data-driven Active Urban Living (PAUL)

The project ‘Playful Data-driven Active Urban Living’ (PAUL) project focuses on how the physical activity of urban dwellers can be encouraged through the use of personalized app technology. In a collaboration between the University of Amsterdam, Utrecht University, the Federal University of Sao Paulo and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, a team of researchers develops data-driven methods to encourage people to be physically active, for example through feedback on physical activity, motivating messages or games. The project is conducted by a multidisciplinary team from movement science, psychology, artificial intelligence and computer science.


Stimulating and maintaining an active lifestyle is vital to the large group of older people with early functional limitations. The Digital Life Centre develops digital support for a home-training program.

EyeBeacons: Wayfinding in Public Spaces

The EyeBeacons project investigated how new technologies can help people with a visual impairment to navigate in urban space. More specific, we focused on beacon technology, smartphone and smartwatch and different types of feedback (audio/visual/tactile).


The aim of the Simba research is to make children with asthma move with pleasure and confidence. If you enjoy doing something, you will sooner do that more often. That is why we have created the Foxfit app together with children with asthma, which they use to learn how to exercise more in a fun way.

Revealing design: Data physicalization for the 21st century

Can you touch data? How long does a train need to be to have 1 million YouTube-members travel at the same time? The Amsterdam University of Applied sciences (HvA), the Waag Society and students from the St. Jan school together will investigate and create fun and interesting data physicalizations. Those are Physical representations of big data, that you can really actively see and touch instead of on a screen or in a book.

Smart agents for empowerment

This project aims to develop a model with its supplementary design tools and methods for designing smart products for human empowerment. By following a research-through-design methodology, the project intends to tackle which forms, intelligence and behaviors respond to the needs of users and contexts, and under which conditions and to what extent the users are willing to delegate control to smart products.


Co-Care-IT focuses on the iterative development of a system for supporting the care between informal and formal care providers. User-Centred Design is central to this project.


Most of the revalidation after hip surgery is done by patients themselves at home. Within the Hipper project a new protocol for revalidation after hip surgery will be developed that includes sensor technology. The protocol will give patients and caregivers more insight in the progress of the revalidation. This increases the self-management of the patients and allows caregivers to provide a more efficient and effective, personalized treatment.

Smart Play Sets

Every child has it’s own learning curve and pace in acquiring motor skills. It is important to detect children with motor development problems in time, to initiate appropriate therapy. The Smart Play Sets project studies whether it is possible to develop games that detect children with motor development problems.


Maintaining an active lifestyle is good for our health, but not everybody can find the motivation to exercise. Within the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences project BAMBEA we research how beacons with a smartphone app can be used to give motivate outdoor exercise.

Smart Systems for Smart Services

What are the opportunities for sensor technology?
Small and medium enterprises and other institutions will benefit from the use of new technologies that measure people’s activities. The Smart Systems for Smart Services project meets their demand for detailed insights in this area.

Look! A healthy neighbourhood

Slotermeer is a neighbourhood in the Amsterdam district of New-West with a low socio-economic status. The most prominent problems in the area are related to obesity and mental health. The project Kijk! Een gezonde wijk aims to improve the well-being of the residents of Slotermeer area by giving them an active role in mapping out the physical and social problems at the district, which will be used as a basis for devising solutions together with the residents.

Virtual Worlds for Well-being

Well-being is important for both young and old, and in this digital technologies can play a role. This project focuses on the use of virtual worlds and sensors.


Human-Centered AI for Dementia Care: Using Reinforcement Learning for Personalized Interventions Support in Eating and Drinking Scenarios

(2024 )Wen-Tseng Chang, Shihan Wang, Stephanie Kramer, Michel Oey, Somaya Ben AllouchHHAI 2024 download

Back to School - Sustaining Recurring Child-Robot Educational Interactions After a Long Break

(2024 )Mike Ligthart, Simone de Droog, Marianne Bossema, Lamia Elloumi, Mirjam de Haas, Matthijs Smakman, Koen Hindriks & Somaya Ben AllouchHRI '24: Proceedings of the 2024 ACM/IEEE download

Predicting long-term neurocognitive outcome after pediatric intensive care unit admission for bronchiolitis—preliminary exploration of the potential of machine learning

(2023 )Eleonore de Sonnaville, Jacob Vermeule, Kjeld Oostra, Hennie Knoester, Job van Woensel, Somaya Ben Allouch, Jaap Oosterlaan & Marsh KӧnigsEuropean Journal of Pediatrics download

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