To develop a comprehensive elder care system and increase Taiwan’s industrial competitiveness in the global marketplace, ITRI has created a smart elder care verification and testing field at its GuangFu Innovation Campus in Hsinchu, Taiwan. The field is divided into three areas based on the needs of the elderly at different stages, all the way from being able to walk freely to bedridden status. These areas include Physical Ability Tests, Non-Contact Disability Monitoring, and Integrated Solutions for Dementia Care. Companies are welcome here to test their products and collect trial data via the integration with ITRI’s fitness or healthcare technologies. Medical or healthcare facilities can also come and see if any technological innovations fit their needs.
The following are some highlights of ITRI’s R&D achievements at the smart elder care verification and testing field:
Full Body Gait Analysis & Fitness Measurement System
The Full Body Gait Analysis System is designed for elders who can walk freely to track their changing gait and posture, and has been adopted by Hsinchu Veterans Home for early detection of walking abnormality or functional decline. The Fitness Measurement System, for its part, can further provide elders with fitness tests including muscle strength, muscle endurance, flexibility and balance. By integrating these data, physiotherapists can recommend personal exercise plans, including frequency, intensity and duration for seniors. The system can be applied to communities to record and analyze individuals’ data, creating a reference database which can provide important indicators for future study or government planning in medical care and welfare for the elderly.
ITRI’s Full Body Gait Analysis System can track and analyze the changing gait and posture of elders.
With fitness test results, physiotherapists can recommend personal exercise plans, including frequency, intensity and duration for seniors.
ITRI has tapped into AI visual recognition technology to develop a smart muscle assessment system Mirror Fit for the elderly. Without the need for any wearables, the system is able to test seniors on various functional abilities by instructing them to complete specified series of movements under the guidance of a coach or physical therapist. A full-length screen will display the movements in real-time and then provides muscle evaluation and exercise regimens for users to focus on certain body parts or postures during training or regular exercise.
Mirror Fit provides smart muscle assessment for the elderly.
Data Integration Board
The digital board integrates the data collected by remote and non-wearable detection technologies, such as a WiFi physiological measurement system, an infrared posture recognition system, smart bed sheets, and smart lighting, providing a concise summary of the person’s breathing, heart rate, temperature, activity, sleep, and nocturia on monitor screens. The integrated system is able to rapidly grasp the status and location of the elderly, thus enhancing efficiency in responding with the appropriate care. For example, when an elder goes to the bathroom at night, the system provides fall or idle detection which can immediately alert medical staff for emergencies.
Physiological Status Monitoring Platform
The Platform integrates data from ITRI’s wearable sensing technologies including a smart body temperature patch, a wristwatch oximeter & heart rate monitor and a chest-strap for wireless respiratory rate detection. Its three major characteristics are smart recognition, lightweight wearables and quick deployment. When the monitoring data show irregularity, it will trigger an alert on the platform and generate real-time assessment of the subject for medical staff, therefore improving medical service quality.
ITRI’s Physiological Status Monitoring Platform monitors elders’ vital signs and can alert medical staff when irregularity occurs.
ITRI’s Personal Companion Robot for Older People Living Alone (PECOLA) employs ambient intelligence technology in caring for its elderly companions. It can record physiological information including emotion, activity, diet and sleep condition. The analysis report has an accuracy of 85% and is equipped with two-way video sessions to enable remote care and bolster the elder’s family relationship and social ability.
Citrelax Essential Oil
The essential oil is made from natural ingredients that are non-irritating and proven to ease depression based on animal testing. The oil can, along with exercise, healthy diet and lifestyle, help reduce stress and create relaxation.
To bring more players into the smart elder care platforms, ITRI has joined hands with various partners including nursing homes, medical suppliers, tech developers, furniture retailers, fitness centers, construction businesses, security companies and academic institutions to form a smart elder care consortium. The consortium featuring system integration, field applications, cross-industry innovation and advisory consulting is expected to co-create total solutions and new business operation models while fostering Taiwan’s first smart elder care industry chain. All these efforts are made to improve seniors’ life quality, which echoes the aim of ITRI’s Quality Health application domain.