Health, Innovation, Manufacturing - a project-based specialisation

Specialisation taught in 2023/2024, no longer available from September 2024


Measuring dehydration in the elderly is key to avoiding severe health consequences. However, no simple and inexpensive way to measure patient hydration currently exists.

It is technically possible to physically and precisely measure the distribution of water in different parts of the body, and in particular extracellular and intracellular water excluding fat mass, using impedancemetry.

The objective of the project carried out within this specialisation is to create a simple and autonomous measuring device to monitor hydration levels in the elderly, applicable, in particular, on a large scale in hospitals, using impedancemetry.

The data will be used to warn elderly patients and healthcare professionals when a critical dehydration threshold is reached and to trigger appropriate water intake in real time.

The general product concept - which has already been defined via two projects in the Engineering for Health option - consists in developing an armrest, which can be added to accessible toilets in care homes or patients' home, with impedance monitoring integrated into the handrails.

This project-based specialisation is offered in partnership with the Nantes University Hospital and Nantes University, Inserm, Itert and the ITUN, as part of an innovative project led by Professor Magali Giral (ITUN, Nantes University Hospital) and Doctor Sophie Brouard (Inserm). A French firm, specialised in the measurement of patient impedance, will provide support to the Centrale Nantes project team.

This year, the focus is on putting a prototype into production. Classes will focus on the choice of materials, production methods, sustainable production, and design (mechanical, electronic and IT) for production. To this end, practical work will be carried out at the Jules Vernes Manufacturing Academy.

In March 2024, the project team will have to present an industrial prototype to Nantes University Hospital, and establish how and how much it will cost to put it into production.

Contribution to sustainable development goals

Learn more about Centrale Nantes' commitment to the 17 sustainable development goals

International students can follow this specialisation, taught in French, via:

  • A double degree programme - Open to international students selected by our partner institutions. Selected students spend two years studying courses from the engineering programme at Centrale Nantes. This usually includes one year of the common-core engineering curriculum followed by one year of specialisation. Double degree students are typically accepted after successfully completing two or three years of higher education in their home institution.
Course Content

The project-based specialisation will be open to a group of 12 students maximum, working almost full-time on the project from September through to March.

The project team will have to develop expertise in the health sector in design, prototyping, materials, IT development (data restitution on an ergonomic application for carers), and entrepreneurship. Course content is therefore geared towards acquiring or furthering these skills.

2023/24 academic year

Autumn Semester (S7 or S9) Spring Semester (S8 or S10)
Materials selection in mechanical design Expertise on the project
Managing and project undertaking Internship
Sustainable production
Summary: healthcare and impedance
Project framing
Development and production of a HM interface
Process control and industrialisation
Factory choice
Project: industrialisation, protection and valorisation

Download syllabus

The specialisation includes:
  • project work supervised by the programme supervisor
  • scientific courses based on the essential themes to be mastered in order to carry out the project, provided by teachers and external speakers
  • scientific follow-up with by internal and external contributors (Nantes University Hospital).
Project Schedule

1. Scope and skills acquisition:   

  • Each student is interviewed individually to understand his or her skills and abilities and to jointly define learning objectives
  • The project team defines its governance, scope, schedule and the risks to be monitored
  • The project team follows scientific courses to develop the project

2.  Design, development and intellectual property

  • 3D product design, choice of materials
  • Development of the data restitution application for healthcare professionals and the patient,
  • Preliminary work on industrialization design constraints

3.    Industrialisation

  • Ordering of materials, assembly and construction of the prototype
  • Calibration, tests and measurements
  • Product definition. Final choice of materials. Definition of manufacturing range. Definition of machine requirements. Workshop implementation.
  • Promotion of the work, communication, interaction and presentation at Centrale Nantes, Nantes University Hospital and to the general public

4.    Handover and reporting

  • Finish the industrialisation package: costing
  • Feedback and project follow-up
  • Skills assessment, satisfaction of the project team and partners with the work carried out.

Student feedback

(in French with English subtitles)
Published on March 14, 2022 Updated on April 17, 2024