Persona technology support for elderly people:
Building a technological platform for new services
There are many services under development to make everyday life easier and safer for elderly people. The Norwegian Centre for Telemedicine is now involved in developing a package of such services, based on a common technological platform.
This means that it is also becoming important to develop solutions that can help elderly people to live a good life with the least possible dependency on help from public and private health services. "Smart houses", in which sensors detect and alert health staff if the resident falls and needs help, provide one example of such services.
Now, the researchers want to take a step further in the EU project Persona (PERceptive Spaces prOmoting iNdependent Aging), in which they will develop a variety of new services.
The aim is that elderly people will be able to live at home longer, lead a healthy lifestyle and maintain their social contact with family, friends, and the community around them.
Creating scenarios to identify needsCommon to all the new services is that they are based on a common technological platform, which is being created with open-source code. This will make it possible to customize the various services according to local variations.
"The idea is that elderly people, the public health service, and other public and private service providers all over Europe will be able to introduce these services. We should use the technology to ease the pressure on the public health service and improve the quality of life for elderly people," says Ernst Kloosterman at the Norwegian Centre for Telemedicine.
Researchers at centres including the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics in Germany are in full swing with building the technological foundation to be used. At the same time, the researchers at the NST together with their colleagues in Denmark, Spain and Italy are creating scenarios to find out which types of services will be most useful.
A scenario might describe part of a day in the life of an elderly person. For example, they might measure their blood values themselves in the morning. The data from the measurement is recorded, and users receives a response to tell them to take more or less medicine to regulate these values so as to avoid illness.
To be tested in 2008Services will also be created to make it easier for people to keep track of what is happening in the cultural life in the neighbourhood or the town in which they live. What about an electronic calendar telling you that today an art exhibition is opening two blocks away from you?
It should be possible to build up all these services on the same technological platform. The Norwegian Centre for Telemedicine is responsible for developing the methods to find out which services should be developed, based on scenarios created by the researchers.
"Next year, we will run the first tests of the prototypes of such services in Denmark and Italy, among others. This will provide us with a good overview of how we should build up the final products and services," adds Kloosterman.
More information about PersonaIf you would like to know more about this project, you can contact Siri Bjørvig, telephone +47 971 64 725 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also read more at the home page for the project:
Article last updated: 2007.11.28