Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Adapting technology to elderly people

Date:
February 3, 2011
Source:
Eureka
Summary:
With the numbers of people aged 65 and over growing, the costs to the state to care for or assist them are set to continue rising across the European Union. With this backdrop, two companies have combined their differing expertise, to create a monitoring system with wireless touch screen devices that enables senior citizens to receive help and guidance at home and call for emergency assistance if required.

With the numbers of people aged 65 and over growing, the costs to the state to care for or assist them are set to continue rising across the European Union. With this backdrop, two companies have combined their differing expertise, with the help of Eureka funding, to create a monitoring system with wireless touch screen devices that enables senior citizens to receive help and guidance at home and call for emergency assistance if required.

Related Articles


Massive Art Multimedia in Austria and CoSi Elektronik in Germany have a history of collaboration on successful technical projects. A brainstorming session between their developers produced the idea of bringing together many aspects of the modern computing world and applying them specifically to the one group in society that is least likely to already feel those benefits -- senior citizens. As with so many projects of this nature, the funding for development was out of reach of two SMEs. By facilitating the funding process EUREKA permitted the development of the project now known as myVitali.

It is widely acknowledged that by assisting senior citizens to look after their health at home, their independence can be maintained for longer, providing a higher quality of life for the retiree and lower care costs for the state and family. Therefore, myVitali enables healthcare professionals to monitor and communicate with larger numbers of people and to offer a greater level of assistance to each one.

Massive Art Multimedia's Tom Ulmer explains, "The introduction of computing power into the lives of the elderly can offer reminders to take medicines, dietary advice, immediate access to medical professionals and much more. It also reduces the need for visits to a local doctor. Users can take important measurements such as their blood pressure, weight and body fat and have that information directly uploaded to the system. Any healthcare professional they deal with can therefore have immediate access to their recent health records."

How 'easy' is easy to use?

Since the system is designed for the elderly, there was very little knowledge or skill with computers that could be taken for granted. This proved to be a problem that had to be overcome during development. Tools had to be developed to ensure that the system could be set up by anyone whether they are able to use a computer or not. Considering that the system uses wireless technology, webcams and touch pads, there was a great deal to be done.

Once in use, the system had to take into account such things as possible sight and hearing problems. As CoSi Elektronik's Dieter Martin points out, "Making the user interface friendly enough for elderly people was the real challenge." By focusing on wireless devices, users can be connected anywhere in their home but this creates a requirement for multiple connecting devices, each one adapted for use by seniors.

Every cloud has a silver lining

There were other problems to be overcome during development. The current generation of emergency devices use existing analogue telephone lines. If the user presses a button, a message is sent to a central monitoring location. By using the internet, many more functions can be added to help users, but what happens if a server is down when an emergency button is pressed? Any system had to be completely stable and available one hundred percent of the time.

This stability is created by using a fall back system of servers using cloud computing technology. The servers running the system are in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Serbia and Brazil. Such a range of locations prevents any downtime and enables any problems to be fixed without a loss of service. In fact, different types of messages are sent through the system every minute and the main connection between a user's home and central monitoring is tested every thirty seconds.

A unique system

Whilst the project was originally developed with the elderly in mind, it can have applications for many others. The monitoring and measuring aspects can be used to keep a watch on indoor conditions and then make suggestions for improvements. By monitoring the air quality, light quality, temperature and humidity, the system can help tailor the indoor environment to an individual's preferences.

All this information gathering provides data protection and security issues. Mr Ulmer stresses the importance of protecting users as "vital," adding that "all personal information belongs to the user, and while it may need to be seen by others, medical staff for example, the user is able to limit access at any time."

To safeguard data from the wider world, the system uses the same technology that banks are now using for mobile devices. By storing personal data and generic data on different secure servers, an extra layer of security is added.

Mr Martin continues, "In 2007 and 2008 we could not see any device of this kind on the market, and so we set out to develop one. It took us over two years to complete, but in 2010 we still could not find something similar. As you can imagine, we have high hopes for this system in 2011 and beyond." With over 1,200 accounts already established, myVitali looks set to be the commercial success that everyone hoped for.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Eureka. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Eureka. "Adapting technology to elderly people." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110203081443.htm>.
Eureka. (2011, February 3). Adapting technology to elderly people. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110203081443.htm
Eureka. "Adapting technology to elderly people." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110203081443.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins