The number of elderly living with cognitive impairment is growing rapidly due to increasing life expectancy. The percentage of those who live alone depends upon the condition, but the majority would like to live in their own home or with a family, provided that it is safe, comfortable, and cost effective. Many commercial applications and research prototypes for automatic fall detection and telecare have been available on the elderly care market for the last couple of years. There is, however, a lack of a fully mobile application without the need of external base station or other device to establish a communication with a caregiver. Mainly, the fall detection sensors (e.g. smart wristbands or necklaces) work within a limited range of a home base station or only in pair with an external communication device (e.g. smart-phone).
The proposed software application is helping the elderly to prolong and support their independent living. The product is a software application that is running on a smart watch that works indoors and outdoors, is practical, intuitive and simple to use. The user interface and all functions of the application were developed for the elderly, however, they can be used by other groups of people (e.g. kids) as well. The main objective of the smart watch application is to give the elderly extra confidence and support with their everyday tasks indoors or outdoors. The main function of the application is automatic detection of falls and coma. If such a situation occurs, the smart watch informs relatives or caregivers by automatically calling them via established mobile phone connection or by sending them text messages with the event description and location of the person. The only limitation for communication of the smart watch is the coverage of the mobile phone network. The use of mobile phone network and possibility of establishment of phone call differentiates this solution from other systems on the market, which mainly work in the range of their in-house communication signal (e.g. Bluetooth or Wi-Fi). The system includes proprietary state-of-the-art technologies and award-winning algorithms for activity recognition. The system was thoroughly tested and evaluated by more than 200 individuals, over the period of at least 3 months each. The reviews and suggestions were then gathered and implemented into a final product (i.e. current version).
Authors of the algorithm are computer science experts employed at the Slovenian institution for research in sciences and technology. They are specialized in the development of proprietary methods and algorithms for analyzing wearable sensor data used mainly in health domain, but applicable to other domains. The team has been among finalists of the global competition for medical diagnostic devices. They have won the international competition for activity recognition (2013 and 2018). They are active in several projects for development of smartwatches and other wearable monitors for independent living of seniors with dementia; detection of falls and abnormal behaviors for the elderly; support older workers in reducing physical and mental stress using wristband and personalized advice and decision support to help patients with heart problems.
The research institute is looking for partners, which develop and produce wearable wireless wellbeing devices with special focus on elderly applications and companies which offer solutions and services for elderly care institutions, nursing homes, residential care institutions and adult day service centers.
The licence agreement is offered enabling partners to install the software in the smartwatches and offer the smartwatches and telecare services to the elderly and caregiving institutions.