Sustainable Services for Wellbeing - Häme University of applied sciences
Sustainable Services for Wellbeing
Ihmisiä portaissa

Sustainable Services for Wellbeing

Sustainable services promoting wellbeing and inclusion

The research area Sustainable services for wellbeing focuses on developing services that improve wellbeing in a sustainable manner based on the needs of service users. Inclusion is fostered by involving service users and service providers in the development of services. At the moment, we focus on the following themes:

  • Smart wearables and human-centred robotics
  • Multisensory environments and assistive technology
  • Smart solutions for wellbeing

We cooperate at many levels and with various partners in the Tavastia Proper region and elsewhere in Finland, such as other actors in social welfare and health care, research and development organisations and businesses, without forgetting international partners. As far as HAMK’s Schools are concerned, we develop education and integrated digital services and conduct applied research particularly with the social welfare and health care sectors and other HAMK Research Units. The research area personnel also actively participates in the teaching and development of it.

Check out our themes and projects from the tabs below!


Smart wearables and human-centred robotics

Smart wearables and human-centred robotics are new areas of development that interest research institutes and companies. The term smart wearables refers to passive and active textile materials, technology and service solutions that can be worn and made use of at work, in rehabilitation and leisure activities. Human-centred robotics refers to robots  that assist  users socially or physically in social interaction or in cooperation with humans.

HAMK’s projects in smart wearables integrate new and intelligent textile materials, sensors, actuators and software. The projects develop cooperation between companies in the region and aim to build a strong centre of expertise in smart wearables in the Tavastia  region. We work together with experts in Finland and abroad, and we also develop Master level education related to smart wearables.

In the area of human-centred robotics, we strive for a strong position as developers and instructors of service and rehabilitation robotics. We engage in national and international cooperation and also develop new physical and virtual learning environments.

Research theme contact person: Kimmo Vänni

Ongoing projects

Developing competence in smart wearables

The aim of the project is to develop expertise in smart wearables, so that companies in the textile, technology, software and service sectors can utilise the technology to design and produce new material solutions and products for the growing international market. The project creates operating models and tools for the design and marketing of smart wearables. After the project, companies will know how to mass customise their products and how to exploit the methods of platform economy for marketing them.

Project website (in Finnish)

Digital culture

The objective is to promote the potential and competence of personnel of organisations to use digitalisation, and to guide and coach them in developing the organisation’s digital culture, productivity and wellbeing at work.

Among other things, the aim is to provide organisations with greater insight into the development of their digital strategy and operating methods in order to make use of digital technology. We also seek to guide employees in shaping their work tasks and opportunities to make use of digital technology in their work, and to meet the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the requirements of the future society, Society 5.0.

Project website (in Finnish)

Multisensory environments and assistive technology – MATEC

Solutions based on smart technology can overcome cognitive obstacles encountered in everyday activities and learning. On one hand, it is possible to overcome functional limitations by firstly assisting and increasing the person’s communicative competence, and secondly, by improving interaction between the person and their operating environment. The solutions are largely based on the utilisation of multimodal properties. On one hand, this can be done by strengthening the identification and reception of appropriate stimuli, and on the other, by assisting people in the interpretation and operational utilisation of information. For example, mobile applications can help people identify, receive and use multisensory data. Tags and sensors integrated into the operational and learning environments can be used to strengthen the multisensory detection and usability of data. See an example of ILSI-project’s results on the video below.

MATEC conducts cross-disciplinary research and co-creation in an ecosystemic manner based on the Triple or Fourth Helix model. The research is carried out in real-life environments, test beds and Living Labs. Read more about the Triple Helix model from this article: Filtering cube – Identifying heterogenity driven innovation potential

MATEC aims to create smart assistive technology solutions and innovations to strengthen multisensory properties and their detection. The research focuses on high-technology solutions that promote learning and support independent coping, such as location- and direction-aware mobile device services, multimodal 3D indoor maps that enable the multisensory experience, and combinations of different technologies. The study is based on multimodal learning solutions, user-driven mobile applications, indoor and outdoor navigation solutions, next-generation haptics in mobile devices, 3D audio maps, soundscapes and multimodal signage.

MATEC contact person: Merja Saarela

By investing in accessibility, we create equal opportunities for all students to study at a higher education institution, says Merja Saarela, Principal Research Scientist from HAMK Smart Research Unit



TINEL – Towards Inclusive eLearning: Improving Accessibility of Learning in Higher Education from Universal Design for Learning perspective

The purpose of the TINEL project is to promote Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Due to the accessibility directive for public digital services, we apply UDL thinking particularly to eLearning. The project generates new information on three levels:

  1. the best practices of inclusive eLearning and the use of UDL to meet the needs of different higher education students at national and international level
  2. innovative pedagogical and technical skills and a mentoring network for teachers
  3. a model for sensitising faculty and staff to issues related to the planning of inclusive eLearning in the context of UDL

The objectives are:

  1. to map and explore inclusive practices of eLearning and possibilities of implementing the UDL approach in higher education institutions
  2. to develop an evaluation tool and an educational model for improving eLearning accessibility from the UDL perspective
  3. to develop the pedagogical and technical competence of staff for improving inclusive eLearning from the UDL perspective

TINEL website

DigiCampus – Accessibility sub-project

The project develops technical and pedagogical solutions for higher education institutions to improve the accessibility of learning environments and systems of higher education institutions. The accessibility of all sub-projects and the digital learning environment is ensured by using the Design for all method. The sub-project analyses the current situation, identifies the key development objectives, and models accessible digital learning environments and an accessible study path for students.

DigiCampus website

DigiCampus – Accessibility website (In Finnish)

Shift2Rail IN2STEMPO

The aim is to support the objectives of Shift2Rail and, for example, to reduce the life-cycle costs of railway infrastructure, improve the reliability and punctuality of operations, and to increase capacity, as well as to improve interoperability and passenger experience. HAMK’s share of the project in Finland concerns an inventory of the service level and usability of small stations along the main railway line from the passengers’ point of view. Particular attention will be paid to accessibility and the services and appropriateness of waiting facilities (WP8 work package: Improved accessibility to trains – Platform train interface).

Project website


SPEDUCULT (2017-2020)

The purpose of the SPEDUCULT-project was to increase knowledge and understanding of various sociocultural aspects of multisensory environments’ (MSEs) framework in the culturally versatile Nordic and Baltic countries. The aims were: 1. To survey current MSE-cultures to improve quality and innovation of studies and practices for lifelong learning: in higher education, in adult education and in special education at primary school in the participating countries. 2. To provide new practical ideas for designing sensory activity of arousal and calming with best practices of applied MSE. 3. To strengthen and expand the SPEDUTEC network with new partners, institutions and organizations. 4. To disseminate current knowledge and practices for a broader audience interested in MSEs in the Nordic and Baltic countries.

Learn more about the project and the results from the SPEDUCULT webpages.

Poluttamo – Adaptable Learning Paths (2016–2019)

The aim of the project was to provide support for students in upper secondary education in clarifying their personal study path, making progress in their studies and for professional growth and development. Based on digital footprints and the possibilities offered by learning analytics, the project developed a model for monitoring progress in studies, a visual personal study plan and workshops for peer mentoring and coaching. The project also created a model for the demonstration of competence through a multimodal portfolio. Read more about the project results, publications and articles here. (Mostly in Finnish)

Project website

ERÄS project (2016–2017)

The aim of the project was to promote the fire safety and rescue operations of special groups in Finland. In the case of special groups, multimodal guidance solutions that enable the reception of information in a multisensory manner are emphasised. Multimodality refers to the packaging of information in different formats and sharing it through different channels. The project examined how the Evacuation of people with Disabilities European Guideline (CFPA-E Guideline No 33: 2015 F) currently materialises in the signage solutions and instructions for a safe exit from public buildings. On the other hand, the project also explored what kinds of development needs and solutions that support multisensory detection were revealed by the survey and piloting. Emergency exit solutions consistent with the guideline were tested on the 3rd floor of Ruskis School at the Valteri Centre for Learning and Consulting. New solutions based on mobile technology were also developed. The effectiveness of the solutions was simulated using the Pathfinder simulation tool and the exit risks were assessed using the Fire Risk Assessment Method for Engineering (FRAME). The study resulted in a model for the promotion of emergency exit safety: 1) Providing information in advance (Website containing information on multisensory guidance solutions; A multisensory map for exit routes; Safety walks and advance training), 2) Providing information through multiple channels (visible and audible) during an emergency, 3) Static signs for all senses, and 4) Real-time guidance and instructions for all senses. In addition, development needs were identified in areas such as the placement of alarms and signs, indicating the opening direction of doors, and marking the safe evacuation facilities.

Project summary. (In Finnish)

Read more about the project and the results in the final report of Smart fire safety. (In Finnish)

Competence is the key (ORA) project (2015–2017)

The aim was to promote the equality, accessibility and employment prospects of students in need of special support at HAMK. The project had three objectives: 1 to strengthen the competence in support of young people’s employment prospects and to make this competence visible 2 to diversify the cooperation between the higher education institution and the world of work, taking into account the needs of students requiring special support 3 to develop new guidance practices that promote the employment prospects of students. Two open learning environments were established for strengthening competence that promotes the employment prospects of students in need of special support, and for making such competence visible. The learning environments were called workshops. In the career workshop, the students were encouraged to present their own competence through career coaching and a multimodal portfolio. The workshop of assistive technology familiarised the students, experts by experience and HAMK’s staff with the solutions of digital assistive technology that are useful in learning and information work.

To learn more about the project results, visit the website of the Assistive technology workshop. (In Finnish)

Research and development of the Multisensory wayfinding method and signage alternatives as part of improving the accessibility of public transport in public transport terminals (M-WAY) (2015-2016)

The aim of the project was to study and develop the Multisensory wayfinding method and signage alternatives as part of improving the accessibility of public transport in public transport terminals. The aim was to create instructions for the planning and implementation of accessible routes to complement the EU rail guidelines in connection with the guidance of visually impaired passengers. The testing of the method and the signage alternatives resulted in the drafting of instructions for planning and implementation. The instructions include alternative design principles and manufacturing techniques for the planning and implementation of uninterrupted multisensory guidance. Other results include an MWay model for static and dynamic signage solutions that enables a seamless travel chain experience.

Read more about the project and its results in The development project for a multisensory navigation method and signage system that serves people with visual impairments. And the Testing the system in public terminals in Tikkurila and Itäkeskus final report. (In Finnish)

ILSI Project "ITIS" (2014-2015)

With ILSI project (Itsenäistä liikkumista sujuvoittavat tienlöytämisratkaisut) we attempted to develop smart multi‐sensory way‐finding solutions

  1.  that would ease VI person’s independent translocations and way‐finding indoors
  2. that would increase independent mobility and travelling with public transport.

Piloting was done at Itis Shopping Mall in East Helsinki. The most important result of the project was the identified way-finding potential of iBeacons on strengthening landmarks detecting with sounds and verbal messages. iBeacons transmitted three-level messages helped to recognize contact points and environmental features, and to confirm person where they were on the way to the destination.

See the video of the indoor navigation model in practice.

Read more of the results of the project in article Solving way-finding challenges.

SPEDUTEC (2014-16)

Nordplus Horizontal -project SPEDUTEC was focusing on promoting learning and development in multisensory environments with assistive technology solutions. The Nordic-Baltic project goal was two-folded:

  1. to increase understanding of theoretical, pedagogical and technological practice on learning through assistive technologies (ATs) in multisensory environments (MSE) by sharing knowledge and experiences
  2. to build a new Nordic-Baltic network on the topic.

In result, network was built, and several issues were found to need further attention in creating AT within MSEs in Nordic-Baltic levels:

  • a need to advance co-creation and collaboration with end-users of product and service designers
  • to develop interdisciplinary approach and cross-disciplinary communication, especially in learning and technology accessibility, and social aspects (e.g. inclusion and social interaction, independence and self-confidence)
  • to develop competence among professionals working in education, health and social sector, as well as among teachers in higher education in these areas.

Learn more about the project from SPEDUTEC webpage.

Producing and mapping accessibility information on cultural and leisure services in a communal manner through mobile technology – KUPS! (2013–14)

The project developed new ways and a new participatory operating culture for the production and evaluation of information on the accessibility of services. During the KUPS! pilot, 3 blind people and 3 people with reduced mobility learned to use smartphones (iPhone5) and mobile applications to collect observations on service accessibility. We used various different mobile applications, such as the game-based Foursquare, BlindSquare for visually impaired people, the Mbraille mobile braille keyboard for visually impaired people, the Tap TapSee identification application and the Dragon Dictation programme. The pilot was implemented at the Verkatehdas Culture and Congress Centre in Hämeenlinna, and particularly at Hämeenlinna Art Museum and Bio Rex. The project resulted in a mobile-based “standard model” for collecting information on accessibility and defining the accessibility path.

Read more about the project results in the summary: KUPS – closing seminar.

SPEDUREG (2012-2014)

Nordplus Horizontal -project SPEDUREG - ”Aren’t we all special? – How to meet the educational needs of all children in a classroom? Competence, procedures and attitudes in a multi-actor and cross-sector regional perspective”. The purpose of the project was to exchange knowledge and experience on innovative regional cooperation solutions to address special education/learning needs within an early intervention and cross-sector, “multi-helper” perspective, which builds on regional collaboration between different actors. Exchanged case studies comprised of three activity elements: a field visit, a partner workshop, and an open seminar. The field visit was build around the local solution, constituting the “case” (benchmarking). A more “theoretical” presentation of the case and its elaboration was the core of the partner workshop. The seminars at the end of each partner meeting (case-study) were open to an audience beyond the network partnership in the hosting institute, i.e. students and staff and relevant actors in the region. In result of the project, the SPEDUREG-network was build and best regional practices were exchanged and applied into practice.

Learn more about the project from SPEDUREG webpages. 

Smart solutions for wellbeing

Technological solutions support interaction between people by introducing services based on solutions relying on big data with the help of artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics. In cooperation with technology companies and various organisations, we support parties that provide wellbeing services, such as health care experts and their customers. Each solution developed by us is tailored to meet the customer’s needs.

We usually start the development by analysing the current status and by genuinely understanding the customer’s needs. We involve providers of wellbeing services, experts by experience, and customers of wellbeing services in the development process. The technological solutions are integrated into normal operational activities and training is provided for the users of the smart solutions to ensure that the solutions bring added value to both the service providers and their customers.

Applied research supports

  • Our partners (companies, public organisations, the 3rd sector)
  • Regional, national and international development
  • Planning and conduction of Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes offered by HAMK


Value -based service models to promote young people’s mental health
HAMK Smart research unit coordinates a project that aims to develop a digital, easily accessible action model that promotes mental health of young people. The target groups of the project are the young people aged 13-19, their families and professionals in mental health services. Intrinsic motivation of the young people is achieved by including them in the development of the model. It is essential to allow the young to monitor and assess their own mental health and review the accumulated information independently and in collaboration with professionals in mental health services. The intention is that the accumulated subjective and objective data can be utilized with help of artificial intelligence. The developed solution can assist in the collaborative decision-making by the young and professionals in mental health services to promote mental health of the young. In addition, the accumulated anonymized data can be used in administrative decision-making when developing mental health services at organisational or municipality levels. Project website (In Finnish).

Piloting fundus imaging with Optomed’s portable Aurora IQ -camera.
HAMK Smart Research Unit is investigating the benefits of using Optomed’s portable Aurora IQ camera in connection with screening of diabetic fundus imaging at the Hämeenlinna main health station.  Project website. (In Finnish)

Research theme contact person: Pia Karumaa

  • Pia Tamminen
  • Pia Karumaa
  • Principal Research Scientist
  • Tel. +358 504707 558
  • Possibility-driven design, inclusive service development, service design, digital processes, smart solutions for wellbeing
  • Jaana-Maija Koivisto
  • Jaana-Maija Koivisto
  • Principal Research Scientist
  • Tel. +358 504485 503
  • Serious games, Gamification, Game-based simulation, Game design, Healthcare digitalization, Healthcare education, Virtual Reality, Learning, Teaching
  • Päivi Sanerma
  • Päivi Sanerma
  • Principal Research Scientist, tenure track
  • Tel. +358 505745 144
  • Home care and services provided at home, digitalisation of health care, integrated and digital services in primary health care and the development of implementation models for such services. Implementation and renewal of education in the social and health care sector, development of educational models, new learning environments and pedagogy.
  • Gert Hattingh
  • Gert Hattingh
  • Senior Research Engineer
  • Tel. +358 503105 418
  • Research Design, Electronic design (Basic), Sensors, Data management, Data Analysis, Practical applications of sensors, Prototyping