Birmingham to use smart tech to combat isolation among over-65s

Last updated on: June 13, 2016, Author: R Sahota

Birmingham City Council will test out wearable devices to help the elderly. The EU City4Age_project is based on a collaboration between academic and public and private sector partners from Madrid, Athens, Montpellier, Singapore, Lecce (Italy) and Birmingham.

Birmingham will be the testbed for capturing data on individuals’ behaviour through wearable technologies and smartphones. Devices will be deployed among frail elderly people or those with mild cognitive impairments to help detect behavioural changes, monitor location and safety in the home and community, and reduce loneliness.

While the details are being finalised, one proposal is to deploy street-based beacons around the city to push messages to participants’ smartphones about discounts and local events. By tracking participants’ mobility patterns, the project team will understand where they go, and deploy measures to combat isolation, such as introducing a ‘buddy’ system.

The technology could also be programmed to trigger alerts if wearers have not left their home for several days, which may indicate a risk of isolation, or a healthcare issue, such as a fall.

Project members are: The consortium of the City4Age project is formed by Politecnico di Milano IT (coord.), Universidad de la Iglesia de Deusto ES, GeoMobileGmbH DE, Comune di Lecce IT, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid ES, Consorcio Regional de Transportes de Madrid ES, DAEM S.A. (Municipality of ATHENS) EL, Università di Pavia IT, Athens Technological Centre S.A. EL, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique – IPAL lab (City of SINGAPORE, City of MONTPELLIER) FR, BELIT d.o.o. RS, Università del Salento IT, MultiMed Engineers srl IT, University College London – Centre for Behaviour Change UK, Birmingham City Council UK, and Future Cities Lab ltd.

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