“Among other things, measurements of sensors at home, for example in a chair or a refrigerator, give an insight into someone’s daily routines”, explains Marcel de Pender. He leads the HELICOPTER project, which works on a system that monitors the health of senior citizens from a ‘helicopter perspective’. The idea is to support them with focused feedback on their lifestyle habits, and help to pre-emptively react when changes occur that could indicate problems. This also helps family care givers and healthcare professionals. “The invasion of privacy is minimal”, emphasizes De Pender. “Besides, it is a conscious choice to trade a small bit of privacy for more safety.”

Main themes

Other than ‘ambient intelligence’ in the home environment, the HELICOPTER-system is also fed by other information sources like: portable sensors, medical equipment, and the existing medical knowledge on the user. “The challenge lies in extracting the most important themes from all this data; for which we are now developing algorithms.” Regular evaluation of the health condition, in combination with behavioral analysis, provides the material for feedback; a warning or an encouragement – just what is needed. “HELICOPTER complements other services that help sustain an independent lifestyle, and may even replace routine medical checkups in the future.”

Landing in Eindhoven

HELICOPTER is a European project in the context of the AAL-program. Partners in Italy and Romania supply hard- and software, a Swedish company contributes with analysis systems and a business model for data analysis, and Brainport Development is responsible for the implementation. “HELICOPTER will land firstly in Eindhoven, in a ‘living lab’. I expect in a year or two. The critical factor is not necessarily the technology, but adjusting the processes and systems to one another. Where possible, we will hook on to the existing infrastructure for ‘remote care’. And in Eindhoven we are close to where it’s happening – think of the Centrale24 care post.”

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