Steve Williams, a KESS 2 PhD student at the University of South Wales, is calling for participants to respond to a questionnaire as part of the Smart.Dementia.Wales research project.
Funded by European Social Funds (ESF) through KESS 2, Smart.Dementia.Wales is a research project motivated by the prospect of delivering an extended period of independence and enhanced quality of life for those living with dementia through the means of ‘smart’ technology. It is part funded by company partner SymlConnect Ltd, who design and develop cost-effective smart solutions to facilitate seamless clinical monitoring, addressing the NHS concerns of clinical time efficiency improvement and quality of care giving.
The ongoing study at the University of South Wales aims to develop novel technology with an overriding objective to assist people to ‘live well with dementia’ and preserve independence for as long as possible. As Steve explains:
“The ethics of using technology in tracking individuals who are potentially vulnerable has been debated considerably; many support the use of technology to allow safer-walking, others see it as an invasion of human rights. Persons living with dementia sometimes suffer from sleep disturbance and are prone to – as the Alzheimer’s association put it ‘walk about’. There is an obvious danger associated with this and this can cause great distress to the carer.
There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025. This will soar to 2 million by 2051. 225,000 will develop dementia this year, that’s one every three minutes. Research shows that 40% are prone to wander, 1% suffer from premature mortality while lost.
In response to this, a research prototype has been developed that learns what is ‘normal’ for a person from tracking and Fitbit data. The aim is to further develop the Artificially Intelligent software so that it not only learns, but can recognise when a person is doing something out of the ordinary. Once proven the finished algorithm will preserve the human right to keep information private until such a case. If this happens the location of the person and their physical state may be used in swift recovery.”
The project is publicly inviting participants to complete a questionnaire, the aim is to gather a diverse opinion on the topic of privacy and recruit volunteers that are willing to share their Fitbit and Phone location data. More information here.
Further information about the Smart.Dementia.Wales research project, and about how you can participate, can be found at http://sd-w.ddns.net/