MSc thesis project proposal

[2022] Ocular movement tracking in hospitalized infants by means of EOG

Sleep is the most important brain activity in infants. Babies sleep up to 18 hours a day (infants born preterm even longer). In contrast to older children and adults babies spend most of their sleep in REM (rapid eye movement) states: dream sleep.

Across all animal species REM sleep (also called active sleep) is linked with early life brain development. However, REM sleep (active sleep) is often not recognized by caretakers and is often disturbed by (elective) hospital care.

We need a safe way to measure sleep in infants admitted to the neonatal ward continuously to be able to adjust our care to the individual sleep needs of vulnerable babies. Using vital signs (heart rate / breathing rate / blood oxygenation) we have developed an automated sleep recognition algorithm (sleep well baby), however, to improve its performance we would like to add eye movements. For this, we need eye tracking of infants.

Tracking eye movements (in adult sleep studies) is done using Electrooculography (EOG). EOG is a technique for measuring the corneo-retinal standing potential that exists between the front and the back of the human eye. The resulting signal is called the electrooculogram.

Because we would like the EOG recordings in infants admitted to our hospital, with long-term safe recordings we need to optimize the sensors. Infant monitoring has very specific sensor requirements (including very sensitive skin of the babies, preferable wireless sensors for optimizing care, safe sensors, small size, dealing with many disturbances from the neonatal intensive care machines).


1. Investigate the feasibility of incorporating small, safe, wireless EOG sensors in a neonatal mask (for instance a mask now used to protect the eye from the therapeutic light for hyperbilirubemia, which many babies have: see photo above)

2. Explore possibilities for smart fabric materials incorporated in a headband allowing eye tracking in babies admitted to the hospital.

3. Explore the additional value of adding EOG measurements to current Sleep Well Baby sleep detection software based on vital signs.


Student in Biomedical Engineering, Medical Devices track, with an interest in prototyping and signal processing.

Contact Wouter Serdijn

Bioelectronics Group

Department of Microelectronics

Last modified: 2023-03-06