More self-determination thanks to smart technologies
More self-determination thanks to smart technologies
Everyone wants to live a self-determined life, but it isn’t always easy to implement – especially if you are an older adult or live with a disability. Fortunately, there are systems that help promote autonomy and independence in your own home. Size doesn’t always matter as even little smart helpers can give users peace of mind and a feeling of security as they navigate everyday life.
We all wish to live independently at home for as long as possible, but it might prove difficult – people with disabilities depend on practical help from others, and as we grow older, there comes a time when we might need a little help from our friends and family. This is when smart assistive technology comes into play: Smart technologies are as diverse as they are useful and complement nearly every aspect of life today.
PatronuSens is a ceiling-mounted sensor. It is inconspicuous and discreet but accurately detects falls and gives users a sense of safety in their own home.
A watchful eye: A ceiling-mounted 3D camera guards you
As we get older, we are at an increased risk of falls. Often the person falls and lies helplessly on the floor, unable to call for help. That’s when a handy tool can come to the rescue. PatronuSens made by Infericsis exactly what its name suggests: artificial intelligence combined with a guardian protector. More specifically, it is a small, ceiling-mounted 3D camera that accurately detects critical situations such as falls. Once the camera identifies the situation, it calls for help.
Like any artificial intelligence, PatronuSens gets trained for this. The technology interprets people lying on the floors as a "fall" and enters the "pre-alarm mode". The person can now turn off the alarm by pressing the button if he/she is able to get back up again. But if that doesn’t happen, the device calls for help. The system can also be trained to spot exceptions. After all, sometimes people may deliberately sit or lie on the floor if they do yoga for example. Users can program pauses for these specific events. If the person is still on the floor after the set time has passed, the device sends an alarm.
PatronuSens can also be set up in the bedroom. "For bedrooms, we can program the device to skip the bed and .monitor the area right next to the bed, which is the area where people are at higher risk for falls," says Ulrike Boll, Sales and Marketing Manager at Inferics. People in bed are not considered at risk, while people lying next to the bed are recognized as having fallen. Bolle explicitly points out that PatronuSens is not designed for vital sign monitoring at night.
An alarm clock is also available in the Lisa product range. It is equipped with various symbols and a light signal that tells users which device is currently receiving a signal while they are still in bed.
Never miss out again: Signaling systems use light flashes
The HumantechnikCompany takes a different approach when it comes to alarms and signals: Lisa and Signolux are just two of the company’s products that make life easier for users. The systems send signals when the phone or doorbell rings. The alerting systems use radio frequency and are easy to integrate into your existing in-home technology.
Each product set has a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter is connected to the preferred devices – your phone, for example – and wirelessly connected to the receiver. The latter is installed in another room. This might be the kitchen if your phone is in the living room, for example. When a call comes in, the transmitter alerts the receiver which then produces an acoustic or visual signal – either a loud sound or flashing lights. There is no interference from neighboring systems since the devices are always individually connected to the receiver.
The receiver can be permanently installed inside your home. Users also have the option of portable receivers that can be easily attached to garments with a clip. This allows them to leave their home but never miss a call. Users can integrate multiple devices into the system, including phones, doorbells, smoke detectors or alarm clocks.
The sensor from the company Abilia is quite thin so that it can simply be placed under the mattress and is not unpleasantly noticeable when sleeping.
Smart helpers make life easier for caregivers
The Swedish company Abiliamanufactures a third type of alarm system. While PatronuSens, and the Lisa/Signolux series are suited for people who want to age in place and maintain their independence, Abilia's Emfit products are primarily designed to make life easier for family members and/or caregivers.
Emfit is an alarm system that registers epileptic seizures of a person lying in bed and alerts family members or caregivers. The sensor resembles a thin mat and is placed under the bed mattress. Since it only measures one fourth of a square meter in length and 1.5 millimeters in thickness, it doesn’t interfere with the user’s sleep as it goes unnoticed. The sensor is connected to a control device that can be mounted onto a wall or placed on a bedside table and sounds the alarm.
The company also offers a "missing person alarm" option that can register when a person gets out of bed or fails to return to bed within a pre-set time and sends an alert to family members or caregivers. The sensor for this option is also a mat and works just like the Epilepsy Alarm. This is a great solution for people who are unable to activate alarms when they need help. Examples include persons with dementia who tend to get out of bed versus calling a caregiver for help.
While it may be crucial to have a caregiver by your side, alarm systems like these can help patients feel less strictly monitored and allow caregivers to be more flexible in their schedules as they can rely on alerts via acoustic signals.
Whether products are designed to maintain independence or to make caregiving routines easier – they all provide new opportunities, boost mobility, and improve safety. "Safety and independence – big words but these smart technologies truly allow users to live life to the fullest or go to work and eliminate the need to use complicated systems," says Ulrike Bolle. In this case, independence goes along with the feeling of safety since users no longer have to constantly worry about everyday life.
Kyra Molinari (Translated by Elena O'Meara) REHACARE.com