Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Easy to use emergency mobile device for people at risk

20.04.2006




Mobile phones can save lives in emergencies, but are not widely used among those considered to be most at risk: elderly people and sufferers of age-related and chronic diseases. A new device gives users the benefits of instant wireless communication, combined with location detection, without the complications of normal mobiles.

Validated for commercial use in the MobilAlarm project with funding from the European Commission’s eTEN Programme, the small and simple mobile device allows users to place a call to a service centre in the event of an emergency, while satellite positioning via GPS provides information about their location with an accuracy of 50 metres or less. Weighing less than a hundred grams and as small as a mobile phone but with four large and clearly discernible buttons, the device is easy to handle and above all straightforward to use.

“The design is very simple, it doesn’t have all the functions of a mobile phone, but that is what trial users most liked about it,” explains Stefan Lilischkis, the MobilAlarm project manager at coordinating partner empirica in Germany.



Though mobile phone penetration among people over 65 has increased sharply in Europe in recent years it still remains far below the rate for the broader population as elderly people struggle to come to terms with the dozens of complex features being packed into modern phones. They often find the small buttons hard to use, and the small text in displays and interfaces difficult to read, limiting the ease and speed with which an elderly person can contact someone when they are in need. Such problems are compounded if they are suffering from age-related frailty or Parkinson’s disease that impairs motor skills.

“The handset has two large buttons on the side that when pressed simultaneously initiate a call to the service centre. For people with diseases such as Parkinson’s this is an important feature because it allows a user to make an emergency call by simply gripping the device, rather than having to find and press a button,” Lilischkis says.

A separate button initiates a call to a pre-programmed telephone number, which could be that of a friend, relative or neighbour, while enhanced audio features mean the device does not have to be held up to the ear. Another button is for cancelling a normal phone call.

“When an emergency call is placed to a service centre the operator who takes the call automatically receives the user’s file on their computer, and, if necessary, can use the GPS tracking to obtain information about the location of the person on an electronic map,” the project manager says. “This is particularly important if emergency services are to find them quickly, especially if the person does not know where they are or are having difficulty speaking.”

Whereas existing mobile devices with location detection capabilities typically transmit GPS data via an SMS message, the MobilAlarm system uses the Care Phone Protocol developed by project partner Attendo Systems that transmits the data through the voice channel.

“This ensures that the information arrives instantly, compared to an SMS message which can take minutes or even hours to arrive depending on network traffic,” Lilischkis notes.

The GSM connection itself was shown to be particularly robust, allowing connectivity for emergency calls in places where normal mobile phones were unable to establish a connection.

The system was tested last year with around a hundred elderly users in the United Kingdom, Spain and Germany who were each given the device for at least three months. “The general response was very positive, they liked the simple design and thought the hearing quality was excellent,” Lilischkis says. “They also liked the peace of mind it gave them.”

Lothar Jennrich-Gügel, the founder of the German Parkinson Self Help Group, which was involved in the trials, notes, for example, how MobilAlarm would increase the quality of life of sufferers of the disease. “Parkinson patients could be very mobile but abhor going out because of the risk of facing a life-threatening situation. Based on this a mobile alarm system is urgently required,” he told the project.

Though elderly people and those suffering from chronic disease are the core market for the system, the MobilAlarm partners also see potential for it to be used by disabled but otherwise healthy people and possibly by victims of domestic violence or people carrying out hazardous jobs in remote locations.

Lilischkis says the commercial roll out of the system will probably target several user groups and involve both the public and private sector.

Tara Morris | alfa
Further information:
http://istresults.cordis.europa.eu.int/index.cfm/section/news/tpl/article/BrowsingType/Features/ID/81530

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Cutting edge research for the industries of tomorrow – DFKI and NICT expand cooperation
21.03.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

nachricht Molecular motor-powered biocomputers
20.03.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>