Irish broadcaster RTE recently aired a very interesting documentary on the aging population and the drastic effects the shifting demographic will have on society.
Narrated by Prof. Rose Anne Kenny of TRIL, the documentary delivers a powerful message on why people are living longer, the challenges this presents, and the consequence this will have on the current healthcare system. She concludes the documentary by reviewing some of the current research in the area that seeks to address the future challenges that lie ahead.
See excerpts from the documentary via the following video:
Keep up to date with the latest news and announcements:
The TRIL Centre (Technology Research for Independent Living) is currently conducting a programme call Stepping Stones using Shimmer (a wearable wireless sensors system) and BioMOBIUS (an open shareable software platform).
Stepping Stones is a short term high intensity programme of physical exercise to improve fitness levels in healthy middle-aged people (55-65 years). A complete home / work technology platform has been developed for the project. This facilitates effective monitoring and biofeedback during exercise whilst enhancing end-user motivation and involvement in the process.
Shimmer was chosen over existing commercial products such as the Wii Fit due to its ability to provide greater contextual information. With real-time digital signal processing Shimmer provides comprehensive instantaneous feedback on movement, and biophysical parameters as opposed to intermittent data provided by the Wii Fit (data only provided when the participant is on the step).
Shimmer takes Kinematic data (Accel + Gyro) via two ankle worn units, and Biophysical data via a Shimmer ECG connected to a Polar chest strap. This benefits participants by providing:
The data captured during each exercise session is then sent back to remote servers to be viewed by clinicians. This allows clinicians to monitor the participant’s adherence and progress through the programme, if the person is performing the exercises correctly, and if the participant is reaching the right intensity / target zones during exercise. The historical data is also being analysed to identify if the programme needs to be altered to match an individual’s capabilities, and to establish changes to biomarkers and a participant’s health and well being over time.
Read about the Stepping Stones programme on the TRIL website.
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The TRIL centre has recently published an article outline their work in developing an Alertness Training Programme. The programme is aimed at improving the attention and alertness of older people, which is seen to have a significant effect on how well they function at home and in their communities, and ultimately on their ability to live independently.
The device which was designed specifically with the end user in mind utilises a Shimmer GSR (Galvanic Skin Response) sensor to indicate and record levels of alertness by the user. The Shimmer GSR is integrated into a cushion like design which makes the device appear less medical or technical and therefore more approachable to non-technically inclined older adults.
Two leads protrude from the device, and Velcro loops with embedded sensors are worn on the fingers. When the device is switched on, it takes a baseline GSR reading. The user presses the grey button before self-alerting, and the on-screen graph spikes upward to indicate a higher level of alertness, as measured by galvanic skin response. The GSR data is recorded to a micro-SD card, for later analysis.
To read the full article, please select the following link
TRIL’s Building Bridges research project which incorporates the SHIMMER platform featured on Irish TV station, TV3 on Tuesday 10 February 2009. TRIL’s Co-Director Prof Paddy Nixon and one of TRIL’s Building Bridges participants were interviewed during the feature. The TRIL feature appeared on TV3’s morning programme, Ireland AM.
The full feature can be seen on this link:
The TRIL (Technology Research for Independent Living) Centre is a coordinated collection of research projects addressing the physical, cognitive and social consequences of ageing, all informed by ethnographic research and supported by a shared pool of knowledge and engineering resources.
A detailed look at an older person’s experience of going through the TRIL Clinic is described in the TRIL featured story entitled ‘The TRIL Clinic – Supporting Health Aging’.
To read the article follow this link to the TRIL site.
DUBLIN, Ireland and NEW YORK, New York, July 16, 2008—
Ireland-based Realtime Technologies, a leading provider of electronic manufacturing and design services, today launched Shimmer™, a hardware research platform designed for wearable health sensing in both connected and wireless environments.
Read the full story here.