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Healthy and sustainable lifestyle

Healthy and sustainable lifestyle

We contribute to the formation of supportive attitude towards healthy lifestyle and sustainable thinking in Estonia as well as to the development and implementation of a social organisation fit for the special nature of a society based on e-services. We act as partners in solving issues related to natural sciences and health, and in formulating recommendations by sharing knowledge and guiding the development of people´s wellbeing and behaviour that supports it.

The focus field is represented by TU School of Natural Sciences and Health, Centre of Excellence in Behavioural and Neural Sciences, Institute of Ecology and Centre of Excellence in Health Promotion and Rehabilitation of Haapsalu College.
The fields of activity and contacts are:

  • motion, health and sport sciences  (Kristjan Port, kristjan.port....at....tlu.ee);
  • didactics of natural sciences and technology (Tõnu Laas, tonu.laas....at....tlu.ee, Ene Lind, ene.lind....at....tlu.ee);
  • natural sciences and sustainable development (Tiiu Koff, tiiu.koff....at....tlu.ee, Rando Tuvikene, rando.tuvikene....at....tlu.ee);
  • psychology and behavioural sciences (Aleksander Pulver, aleksander.pulver....at....tlu.ee);
  • TU’s Centre of Excellence in Behavioural and Neural Sciences (Ruth Shimmo, ruth.shimmo....at....tlu.ee);
  • Institute of  Ecology (Mihkel Kangur, mihkel.kangur....at....tlu.ee);
  • Centre of Excellence in Health Promotion and Rehabilitation (TERE) in Haapsalu (Talis Vare, talis.vare....at....hk.tlu.ee).

The main fields of applied research and development activities are:

  • analyses and expert assessments covering the status of the environment, nature conservation, use of natural resources and ambient air contamination level (including drafting of management plans and related research);
  • research related to wetland (coast, lakes, mires) ecosystems (including sediment analyses, reconstitution of the near-natural status of fens, research on coastal waters and shore, effect studies and drawing of prognoses);
  • development and implementation of methodologies for assessing ecosystem services;
  • urban ecology;
  • consultations for the development of nature trails’ concepts;
  • development of suitable methods of separating industrial value biomolecules from the natural raw material and for their ennobling;
  • chemical composition analyses of substances;
  • preparation of solid materials and metals for microscopic studies, including burnishing, fine polishing, cross-sectioning (incl. hard alloys), microhardness measuring;
  • exposing of materials to high-temperature plasma radiation in order to study the resistance of materials to high-temperature gases and plasma;
  • development of health and environmental services based on smart applications;
  • projects related to the development of urban space following the principles of development supportive of and preserving health and well-being;
  • development of organisations of the sports and motion field in terms of leadership and management (incl. the cost-effectiveness analyses of event organisations);
  • testing of motion techniques (e.g. bicycling, swimming) and technique-improving consultations, performance and work ability analyses (for sportsmen and recreational sports’ enthusiasts, for positions of various fields in an enterprise or any other organisation), development of workout groups;
  • development of active and experience-based learning methods for adventure and team activities’ service providers;
  • planning of recreational areas and services;
  • development projects of health technologies;
  • noise level measurement, spectral analysis of noise caused by noise sources and recommendations for noise level reduction;
  • satisfaction surveys and consultations related to organisational behaviour and communication;
  • preparation of design and prototypes of products, learning materials, displays (e.g. exhibition displays, learning aids, design of service personnel outfit);
  • counselling and service development in art therapies (music, art, drama and dance and motion therapy), including the use of natural materials in art therapy and the development of hands-on activities’ package.

The main partners in development activities are: the ministries (primarily the Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Rural Affairs, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Defence, etc.), Environmental Investment Centre, Estonian Olympic Committee, sports federations, State Forest Management Centre, educational establishments (including environmental education centres, hobby schools), food industries, construction companies, developers, local governments, etc..

Examples of development cooperation:

Product development for a more user-friendly blood sugar meter. Itbit Glükomed OÜ ordered a usability analysis of blood sugar metering device prototype developed by the company. The company’s aim was to assess the prototype before launching the product. The device was analysed in terms of patients’ needs, safety of use and understandability of user manual, as well as the peculiarities and options of the medical device.

Finding suitable sound levels for listeners of various music styles and determining the sound parameters of subjective perception. OÜ Eventech (partners Jazzkaar OÜ and BGD Music OÜ) ordered a project "Research of listeners’ personal preferences and the recommended use of amplification systems”. RGB Baltoc OÜ and ProTone OÜ ordered a project "Research of listeners´ personal preferences in listening music and rock music with heavy electronic processing and the recommended use of amplification systems“.

Development of a body lotion formula. It was studied if polysaccharide (furcellaran) from Furcellaria lumbricalis, a Baltic Sea red algae, is suitable for use as a component of a body lotion containing water, beeswax and vegetable oil, determining optimal content of furcellaran in the lotion. It was determined, if furcellaran has any bioactive and skin toning features that make it suitable for use as a body lotion component.

Development of an outdoors learning aid called "Trail of Discoveries". Trail of discoveries is a web browser application enabling to create different trails of playful activities i.e. interactive guided walks through determined points and activities assigned to these. Trails of discoveries are located in a central server, and can be viewed and compiled via the Internet (e.g. during a lesson) but applied outside in the nature. The learning aid enables to combine the latest technological solutions with the methods of outdoors learning and learning via experience or discovery, while both the technical solution and the application in nature are interesting for learners. The purpose of the trail of discoveries is to encourage players to think about topics related to sustainable development, to notice nature around us and provide an opportunity to walk in interesting places. The goal is achieved by going through the trail and related posts displayed on a mobile device (smart phone, iPad, tablet). The trail of discoveries follows the user’s path via GPS, displaying location of the posts on the trail in comparison with the user’s location. Upon reaching a point, the user is displayed a respective virtual information plate, road sign or assignment. In addition to a textual question, the assignment may include a photo or refer to a sound, animation or short video (e.g. via YouTube or another video environment). Information provided in the game describes both the variety of the area as well as the changes resulting from the human activity, thereby integrating environmental education with economic and social relations. The application was developed in cooperation with the Environmental Board.

Surveys performed with the GPR. The ground-penetrating radar (GPR) emits electromagnetic waves and detects the reflections of the waves from layers of various density. As a result of the modelling of the density of reflected waves, different sediment layers as well as anomalies can be seen. GPR measurements also provided the basis for calculating the volume of mud accumulated in Saesaare reservoir. Our measurement results were formed into a digital elevation model, which enables to show the look of the area after the termination of the reservoir and the removal of mud. One of the tasks completed in 2015  was located on the corner of Tuukri and Pikksilma Street, involving the determination of exact sizes and locations of ca 700 years old ships (before excavations) which were found there. This information was important for the construction company, who then based the excavations timetable on our knowledge and begun the search for technical solutions for removing the ships from the construction site. GPR helps to locate foundations of old buildings, cellars, caves, Soviet fuel tanks, etc.

Making of tactile books/plays/models, etc. and counselling on the production thereof. Examples: cooperation with Estonian Library for the Blind in making tactile books for children with visual disability to enrich the library’s collection, making of tactile books/ exhibits for Estonian Healthcare Museum, making of tactile books for Tallinn Helen’s School, making of tactile books on Estonian folk calendar holidays for Estonian Open Air Museum’s Kuie School for blind children’s educative events, making of tactile exhibits for Estonian Open Air Museum to introduce the museum to people with a vision impairment.

One of the examples of innovative product development in the area of rehabilitation is the reclining chair for vibroacoustic therapy. The purpose of the chair is to ease muscle strain and headaches. It combines sound and vibration, which is significantly more effective than either form of therapy taken separately. The reclining chair is compact, so it can be easily transported and relocated in the room. The chair was tested in Värska Wellness Centre.  The Centre of Excellence in Health Promotion and Rehabilitation set it up and supervised its use. The reclining chair was also presented for the Awards Programme of the Industrial Designers Society of America.