The Nex Project, a tech-enabled care system which aims to support older adults living independently, has entered its final phase of trials and is being installed in homes across Dublin.
The system, developed by researchers at Dublin City University, is made up of several technological devices including sensors, voice-activated assistants, wearable devices and smart plugs.
These devices collect the user’s data, which is monitored remotely in order to understand a pattern of behaviour, reports TechCentral.
An alarm can be set to notify an outside care team or family member if there is a sudden change in normal activity patterns.
Dr Catriona Murphy, principal investigator of the DCU Centre for eIntegrated Care team, told TechCentral: “If there’s someone who’s always in bed at nine o’clock, and who would never be out after midnight, then you could set an alert if the door opens between midnight and six.”
Wearable devices are worn by the user to monitor their sleep pattern, activity levels and the number of steps they do each day.
Interruptions to activity or sleep cycles can be a sign of underlying illness or infection and this data would be included as part of an overall health assessment.
During earlier trials, the Amazon Echo was found to be a particularly valuable tool in assisting in everyday life and was used to set reminders to take medication and attend appointments, read recipes, set timers and for video calling.
The system is designed so that it can be fully customized to suit individual needs, with one respondent saying: “I can’t wear a Fitbit because I have arthritis in my wrists.”
User data is protected through in-built security within the system and no cameras are used to monitor activity, which was a concern for some respondents.
The system was trialled initially last year during the pandemic where the different technologies needed to be self-installed.
But since restrictions have eased, designated technicians are now available to go into homes and assess the user’s space.
The Nex project, funded by Enterprise Ireland, is a collaboration between the Centre for eIntegrated Care and Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics at Dublin City University and industry partners Davra and Danalto.