The Alexandra Institute // About Us // People // Jacob Andersen

Jacob Andersen

I have a Master’s degree in computer science from Aarhus University in 2007 (with a Minor in mathematics and some subsidiary subjects in physics). Subsequently, I took a PhD degree at the same location in March 2010. The topic of my doctoral dissertation was Medical Sensor Network Infrastructures.

A major challenge for sensor networks is that they have very limited resources: Limited energy, limited processing power and memory. Most often, there are also limits to the cost of producing the sensor, and maybe even the physical size and/or weight of the sensor. If the technology should be used in the healthcare sector, it must be reliable, robust and secure, for example by ensuring patients' privacies when the sensor data are processed. At the same time, technology must be easy to use correctly for the user. On the other hand, it must be difficult to make mistakes. These requirements are apparently difficult to reconcile with each other. This is what makes it exciting and challenging.

After completing my PhD the majority of my work has been conducted in the fields Medical Sensors, Sensor Networks and Network Infrastructures.

Medical sensors and medical devices
I have worked on how to measure various physical and physiological parameters of the body – and for that matter also on everything else. The work involves physical measurements such as signal processing and signal detection. Within the theme of medical devices I have also worked with the legislative requirements for quality assurance (primarily software) for medical devices.

Sensor networks and embedded systems
My primary interest and focus is on small autonomous devices with minimal resource consumption (energy, memory etc.). Secondary the focus of my work has been to create solutions that are both secure and easy to use – without compromising too much on resource consumption.

Network Infrastructure - IoT, protocols and interoperability
When it comes to network protocols, I work with virtually all layers of the OSI stack. Near the bottom of the stack, it may be link layers, which are based on wired or wireless links, e.g., an ultra-low-power transceiver with protocols for low-power-listening and mesh routing. Slightly higher in the stack it is for example BluetoothLE, ZigBee, LoRaWAN and 6LoWPAN (IPv6 Internet for limited small embedded systems). Even further up the stack, it is about interoperable data exchange as well as messaging and document formats. Here I focus particularly on the telemedicine applications and the Danish reference architecture for collecting health data from citizens. This reference architecture ensures that an observation from a sensor can be transmitted all the way through a collection system, via the Internet etc. and be delivered safely to for example an EHR system at a hospital without having the observation’s meaning distorted, lost or disputable.

I work primarily with hardware problems, such as small embedded systems, sensors and sensor networks. I also work with communication protocols – including communication of medical data; and finally I work with digital signal processing and analysis of sensor data.

Health and welfare
In the health area, I work primarily with use of telemedical data collection in the citizen's own home, which means the collection of measurements and questionnaire data (PRO/Patient Reported Outcome). I work with the standardisation of interfaces and ensuring interoperability at the overall system level. In this context, I am involved in standardisation work in Personal Connected Health Alliance (also known as Continua) where I participate actively in the technical task group. Additionally, I am a member of HL7 Denmark as well as the IEEE-SA task group that provides the IEEE 11073 standards.

Internet of Things
My main focus is to ensure that the "Internet-of-Things" does not become the "Internet-of-things-that-are-either-plugged-in-a-socket-or-constantly-require-new-batteries" . Therefore, I work mainly with projects that focus on communication technologies and algorithms that are designed to minimise energy consumption to a degree, so it can potentially run for years on a small battery or on energy harvested from the environment (e.g. from a solar cell)

My core competence is to navigate the cross field between software, hardware and the physical world. I have a great interest in how sensor technology can measure the reality – including the body. At the same time, I find the "difficult" problems most interesting.

As a computer scientist with many interests and private projects, I have obviously been far and wide, so a complete list of languages and tools that I know of would be both impossible to assemble and useless to the reader. Instead, I have listed the languages and (database) tools I have used to solve the major tasks in the past few years. I find it particularly interesting when a task needs to be resolved within a very limited space (RAM / ROM) and energy budget (button cell batteries or solar cells).

Programming languages
nesC (a variant of C for embedded systems), ANSI C, C++, Java, OCaml, Standard ML, Objective C++

Database systems
MySQL, PostgreSQL, MS-Access

Embedded microcontrollers, e.g. MSP430, Atmel ATtiny / ATmega / ATxmega etc. I work as platform-independently as possible, such as ANSI C, if necessary with POSIX standard libraries. I also have some experience with app development for both iOS (Objective C++) and Android (SDK and NDK), and web development (primarily Java-based backend, such as Apache Tomcat). And once in a while I develop an application for Windows or OSX.

I have no formal engineering education, but in return I have approx. 25 years of experience in designing and building electronics (analog as well as digital).

During the last few years, I have worked extensively with sensor networks and embedded systems based on microcontrollers from Texas Instruments (MSP430) and Atmel (Mega and XMega) and various radio transceivers (CC2420, RF231, nRF24). So I have a very good knowledge of these devices – with regard to software as well as hardware.

Health IT
For many years, my primary focus has been on equipment for use in the citizen's own home - either as part of telemedical therapy or simply for private use. In this context, I work particularly with interoperability and international standards for data exchange, including: HL7 v2.6 messages, HL7 CDA documents HL7 FHIR messages and documents, and Personal Connected Health Alliance (Continua) profiles.

I have also worked a lot with the demands from Danish legislation and an EU directive on medical devices and software, including quality assurance in accordance with EN ISO 13485 and EN 62304.

Senior Software/ICT Engineer
+45 61 70 43 05
Aabogade 34, 8200 Aarhus N
Hopper building, 3rd floor room 326