As people get older, they experience physical and cognitive declines which are natural and expected. Unfortunately, these conditions also make people more likely to be affected by dementia.
Despite research efforts, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) continues to be the most common type of dementia, affecting a large percentage of the older adult population. Because this neurodegenerative condition is swift, caregivers, especially informal, need to dedicate a great deal of their personal strength and time to care for their afflicted relatives.
Mobile devices have become ubiquitous, combining a great deal of functionality that allows researchers to collect knowledge from data and leverage various tools as a means of attempting to monitor and stall AD’s advances. However, with the advent of Bluetooth low energy, there are new ways to explore the advantages of external sensors and use them to keep track of AD-affected people, transparently and in a non-intrusive way.
In this project, we position the dementia-affected person at the forefront of advances and developments to try and monitor the disease’s condition and minimize its reach. The main goal was to explore the possibility of using (and possibly building) a custom sensor device, such as a necklace or belt, integrating with it useful sensors such as: temperature, humidity, pressure, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, GPS (Global Positioning System), GSM (Global System for Mobile) and Wi-Fi.
By taking advantage of these (and other) sensors, we explored the possibility of tracking sleep patterns and changes (which is important in AD-affected people, because their condition causes sleep disturbances), measuring temperature in various divisions of the home or day care center, to alert caregivers for the fact that there may be extreme heat (e.g., forgot to turn off the oven) or freezing temperatures (which may cause hypothermia), among others.
Author: Ana Barreto
Type: MSc thesis
Partner: Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto