Principal Investigators

Prof. Dr. Michael Feldhaus




Prof. Dr.-Ing. Andreas Hein

Automation and Measurement Technologies


Co-Principal Investigator

Prof. Dr. Gesa Lindemann

Sociological Theory



Associated Researcher

Dr. Rebecca Diekmann

Nutrition and physical function in older adults


H1 Impact of using Autonomous Lifesupporting Systems in Ambulant Intensive Care on the Social System Family


H1 investigates the implementation and acceptance of autonomous life-supporting systems in ambulant intensive care in the family system. Due to innovations in technical development and the demographic change life-supporting systems and homecare gains more and more importance. Development processes of medical devices (the focus is on artificial respiratory systems and parenteral nutrition systems) are nowadays mainly focused on the reliable and safe support of physical functions of the patient. In this regard, autonomy for the patient as well as for other family members plays an essential role. According to the “Uncanny Valley Effect” (Mori et al. 2012) the acceptance of, respectively, the trust in technical systems increases not linear with the alikeness to healthy people, but falls down to a valley by human similarity: High-maintenance patients who are artificially extended by life-supporting systems become more machine-like (visible hoses, cabling, masks, technical sounds by pumps, but also limited and unnatural mobility by systems) and would fall into the Uncanny Valley by this theory, so that disturbances of familiarity with relatives could be expected. At this point it remains unclear which dimensions of technical realization of autonomously life-supporting systems can be implemented in the familial context and how it changes family dynamics. 

Research Questions and Objectives

This research project explores the social embeddedness of mechanically ventilated patients in the context of the social system family.


Theories and Key Concepts

From a technical perspective, the research involves developing a monitoring system with ambient sensors to gather data on social interactions. These sensors aim to ensure patient privacy while providing valuable insights. Additionally, an android robot-patient is designed to train medical staff and relatives in communication skills with critically ill patients. These initiatives seek to standardize and improve training by simulating real patient scenarios.

The social dimension of the research delves into the interactions between mechanically ventilated patients, their family members, and caregivers. It incorporates insights from family theories, care situations, and existing research on home care for mechanically ventilated individuals. Ethnographic research methods, including participant observations and interviews, are used to understand the intricate social dynamics at play in these care settings.

Current Status and Key Findings

The current status of the project has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, limiting access to real-life intensive care scenarios. Instead of ethnographic studies, the empirical analysis is based on 18 qualitative interviews that were conducted with parents, in most cases mothers. However, promising findings from the testing of sensors, the development of an android robot-patient, and data on social interactions in home care settings have been obtained. These findings contribute to a deeper understanding of the social aspects of caring for mechanically ventilated patients and their families. The research highlights the tremendous dedication of parents who provide intensive home care for their ventilated children, despite significant sacrifices, to ensure a high quality of life and maintain family solidarity.



  1. Murken, Michelle (2024): Familienalltag mit beatmeten Kindern und Jugendlichen in der häuslichen Intensivpflege. (In Progress)

  2. Jan Hendrik Röhl; Alexander Gerka; Rebecca Diekmann; Andreas Hein (2020): Social interactions of invasive mechanical ventilated patients in intensive care - an example of a monitoring system. In: The Tenth International Conference on Ambient Computing, Applications, Services and Technologies (AMBIENT 2020).

  3. Feldhaus, Michael, Murken, Michelle, Schlegel, Monika. Agency von Kindern und Jugendlichen in der außerklinischen Beatmung (Paper accepted in Zeitschrift für Soziologie der Erziehung und Sozialisation)

  4. Feldhaus, Michael, Murken, Michelle, Röhl, Jan Hendrik, Hellmers, Sandra, Diekmann, Rebecca, Hein, Andreas. Die Einbeziehung technischer Artefakte zur Unterstützung der familialen Kommunikation bei heimbeatmeten Kindern. (In progress)

  5. Röhl, J. H., Klausen, A. D., Feldmann, N., Diekmann, R., Hellmers, S., Günther, U., Hein, A. (2023). Android Robot-Patient for Teaching and Training of Delirium Assessment Instruments: A Pilot Study. 2023 IEEE International Conference on Advanced Robotics and Its Social Impacts (ARSO), 78-83. doi: 10.1109/ARSO56563.2023.10187448

  6. Röhl, J. H., Hellmers, S., Diekmann, R., & Hein, A. (2022, August). Concept of an Observation-driven Android Robot-Patient with individualized Communication Skills. In 2022 9th IEEE RAS/EMBS International Conference for Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics (BioRob) (pp. 1-7). IEEE. Online:

  7. Jan Hendrik Röhl, Andrea D. Klausen, Nicole Feldmann, Sandra Hellmers, Rebecca Diekmann, Andreas Hein, Ulf Günther. Pilot Studie zur robotischen Schulung eines Delir-Assessments. In DIVI 2022 Abstract book. Online:

(Stand: 05.02.2024)  | 
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