Ulster University joins major assisted living technology research project

  • Ulster University has joined a major inter-disciplinary health research project to develop tech to support Europe's ageing population.

    The average age in countries around the world is rising thanks to advances in medical technology that's able to keep us healthy longer, but old age comes with its own set of challenges that can prevent people from leading happy and independent lives. A number of local tech companies have taken on the challenge of helping older people lead more independent lives through technology, such as Kinsetsu with its HomeHug IoT sensor system.

    Ulster University and the Northern Health and Social Care Trust's Medicines Optimisation Innovation Centre have now joined a major inter-disciplinary research project with the goal of helping to keep Europe’s ageing population active and independent. The Smart and Healthy Ageing through People Engaging in supportive Systems (SHAPES) initiative is a collaboration between 36 partners across 14 European countries.

    The scheme was funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme and is one of the largest of its kind, with €21m EUR invested in the four-year scheme. The programme is being led by the Assisting Living & Learning Institute at Maynooth University, making it the largest EC-funded research grant for health ever to be led by an Irish university. Ulster University's participation makes it another example of a successful cross-border European project.

    The goal of the scheme is to develop assisted living technologies for older people that can be integrated into their homes and communities in order to improve their quality of life.. These technologies will focus on combatting issues such as cognitive impairment, physical frailty, management of chronic medical conditions, and sustainability of health and care systems as the population ages.

    Professor Dewar Finlay, Engineering Research Director at Ulster University said: "Ulster University is a recognised leader in data analytics and healthcare technology research. Caring for an ageing population is one of the biggest challenges we face as a society. Smart technologies are helping to move care out of hospital and into the home, reducing pressure on the healthcare system."

    Ulster University's role in the project will include data analytics, business model development, impact assessment, and UX engineering with older people in mind. They'll also be collaborating on the development of health technology standards and interoperability guidelines to help different medical technology systems work together well.

    Source: Ulster University

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    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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