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Fujitsu and Irish research centres to develop independent living aid

3rd July 2013

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

Dublin City University announced this week that they will be working with Fujitsu on a new research project that will assist older people who wish to live independently in their own homes. The project will focus on creating an innovative falls risk management platform, building on successful research undertaken in the CLARITY and TRIL research centres.

A number of existing devices can effectively help people to live independently at home, but whereas aids such as easy access showers are fairly commonplace amongst the homes of older people, the technology to prevent falls and alert certain people in the event of a fall has not yet reached this stage.

This new project is known as the KIDUKU project and it aims to develop technology to allow medical professionals to remotely monitor elderly patients who live independently. The name is based on two Japanese words that are both pronounced as 'kiduku', one meaning 'to construct' and the other meaning 'to be aware'.

Successful research from the CLARITY research centre, a partnership between University College Dublin, Dublin City University and Tyndall National Institute, and the TRIL research centre, which brings together the expertise of professionals in the independent living industry and academic experts to develop technology that makes "longer lives better", will be used in the project. Researchers from both centres will be contributing to the KIDUKU project, which aims to find a way to support older people living independently using ICT.

The project will see researchers monitor the daily lives of patients using a variety of sensors that will be attached to clothing. Whilst going about daily life, data on the psychological, physical, social and physiological state of patients will be recorded. This data can help patients, their family members and medical professionals involved with the patient's case follow up an illness with a manageable and appropriate treatment regime that can be used in the home alongside, and even integrate with, safety stairlifts and other independent living aids. The KIDUKU project hopes to create the ICT necessary for medical staff to be able to monitor a patient living at home, continuing the involvement of the health service with care of the patient even after they have been discharged.

The KIDUKU project will begin this month at a research base in Ireland and will run for 3 years. For those hoping to combine the use of existing mobility aids with a fall management system, a solution that is user friendly and widely available could be only a few years away.

 

Image Credit: Jygh (commons.wikimedia.org)