ICT4Life is at home!

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ICT4Life technology has arrived at home! The 3rd of July was the official starting date of the pilot tests in France at the house of a patient living alone, affected by Alzheimer’s at an early stage. Last year the patient had participated in the iterative testing of the ICT4life mobile app and smart TV app and was curious to try the whole system. E-Seniors researchers agreed with him to install the technology in his flat and that’s how a new testing process started for the researchers and for the patient.

The patient has tested for 2 months the main components of the ICT4Life system:

  • the bracelet to monitor his health conditions;
  • the wireless sensors installed at the entrance door and the bathroom door to alert if he leaves the house and how many times he enters in the bathroom;
  • the Kinect camera to monitor his movements;
  • the smart TV app to play games and this way to detect his cognitive abilities;
  • the mobile app to interact with caregivers, health professionals and doctors and to check the personal agenda, doctors and much more.

The whole technology was installed at the patient’s home by one of the technicians of the University of Maastricht. Together with E-Seniors researchers, he explained the patients what all the components are for and how to use them.

After 20 days from the beginning of the pilot test at home, the patient seemed to accept very well the technology. He put on the bracelet by himself and also enjoyed using it: he is a quite active person and regularly went out to have a walk around his house; he felt safer wearing the bracelet and also checked out the number of daily steps that he made. Regarding the smart TV app, the researchers have noticed interesting points. The patient enjoyed playing, but only if the game was played with somebody else. Therefore, the researchers were regularly inviting the patient to play the smart TV games with them, as a moment of sociability beyond the research itself. On the other hand, the results of the cognitive interaction of the patient with the games will be analysed at the end of the pilots.

Nevertheless, the patient showed difficulties and little interest in the use of the mobile app, because his ICT skills level is quite low and he felt upset by the fact that he is not able to use it except when assisted by somebody.

Finally, the Kinect camera did not bother him at all, since it only detected the patient’s silhouette, allowing to keep the patient identity anonymous. The French researchers are currently collecting further feedback from the patient’s interaction with the technology with the support of the development team of ICT4Life and will analyse the results after the end of the pilot test at the patient’s home.

The same process has taken place in Spain: from the last week of May, the home pilots started in two patients’ houses. In this case, the patients are affected by Parkinson’s disease. A caregiver is also taking part in the pilot.

Researchers have noticed a strong interest in the Kinect camera, sensors and bracelets to monitor the health patient’s status.  However, as researchers in France has pointed out, the use of the mobile app is less attractive for them.  Spanish researchers are collecting additional feedback from users in order to analyse data and explain the mobile acceptation between seniors affected by Parkinson’s disease and caregivers.

 

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Authors:

Ariane Girault & Patrizia Papitto, E-Seniors 

– Follow E-Seniors on Twitter @eseniors

Marta Burgos, Asociación Parkinson Madrid

– Follow APM on Twitter, @ParkinsonMadrid

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