Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NFC aid for the visually and hearing impaired

09.02.2012
VTT technology lends product packaging a voice

As the proportion of senior citizens grows, their special needs are gaining momentum. Human eyesight, for example, weakens with age. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has been developing new NFC-based applications that make life easier for the visually impaired. A group of affected persons recently tested an innovative, speech-based item identification system and new "talking" packaging for medicine and food.

Solutions that link products and digital product info are becoming ever more common. They offer a range of possibilities for both the normal-sighted and the visually impaired. Food packaging, for example, can include links to information relevant to the individual customer, from the origins of the product to ecological aspects and possible allergy risks.

The HearMeFeelMe project, a collaborative effort by VTT, TopTunniste (Finland) Tecnalia (Spain) and Demokritos (Greece), introduced five different applications for acquiring medical information, all of them based on NFC technology (Near Field Communication). By touching the info code on the packaging with his or her mobile phone, the user downloads product and dosage information which can be heard on a phone or computer. End users participating in the project represented the Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired (FFVI), the Caritas Foundation, Joutsen Pharmacy 6 in Oulu and SSI, a Spanish provider of geriatric services.

Speech tagging application finds most favour

The testers' favourite was Top Tunniste's Touch 'n' Tag demo, a mobile phone application that enables visually impaired users to identify everyday items, including food, with the help of voice memos. The phone must be equipped with an NFC reader. To record a memo tag, the user touches the NFC label on the packaging and dictates the information into the phone. The recording can then be listened to by touching the label again with the phone. The test run indicated that the application was most commonly used to mark food packaging. According to the majority of users, it was useful in recognising items and recalling product information. Additional benefit was seen in the possibility of recording the desired information in the user’s own words.

Another demo application was developed during the HearMeFeelMe project, completed at the end of 2011. This was the so-called speaking medicine packaging. When touched, this provides spoken dosage instructions and other important information. The data was stored on the NFC chip by pharmacy staff and could be listened to by the user at home. The demo version was only available for PC, but the application is designed to run on programmable smartphones equipped with an NFC reader and a code scanner.

Not yet tested by end users was an almanac demo designed to ensure properly-timed medication, using the elderly person's own social network. This enables e.g. nurses and family members to remind the patient of scheduled doses of medicine or meetings. The user receives the reminder as a message on his or her mobile phone and replies with an NFC acknowledgement, e.g. by touching the pill dispenser with the phone, to inform the nurse or family member that the medicine was taken.

In the future, visually impaired people may use NFC applications for a variety of purposes, including item recognition, spoken product information on food or medicine packaging, personal reminders, calendars or spoken manuals for home appliances.

Latest NFC applications not yet supported by current phone models

According to VTT, transforming written information into speech is easy in technical terms and would be of great benefit to old people and visually impaired persons of all ages. However, most current mobile phones do not support advanced NFC applications. The new solutions are designed for platforms not yet on the market.

Mobile devices are usually unbeatable when it comes to everyday IT-based services, since they are always flexibly at hand and the threshold for using them is low across all age groups. Solutions designed for devices that are already part of everyday life, become popular fastest.

Additional information

VTT
Research Professor Minna Isomursu
Tel. +358 40 843 3871
minna.isomursu@vtt.fi
Research Scientist Marja Harjumaa
Tel. +358 44 515 9439
marja.harjumaa@vtt.fi
Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired
Development Manager Juha Sylberg
Tel. +358 50 596 5025
juha.sylberg@nkl.fi
press release on web:
http://www.vtt.fi/news/2012/18012012.jsp?lang=en
Further information on VTT:
Sakari Sohlberg, Manager, External Communications
Tel. 358 20 722 6744
sakari.sohlberg@vtt.fi
www.vtt.fi
VTT - 70 years of technology for business and society
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is a leading multitechnological applied research organization in Northern Europe. VTT creates new technology and science-based innovations in co-operation with domestic and foreign partners. VTT’s turnover is EUR 290 million and itspersonnel totals 3,100.

Sakari Sohlberg | VTT Info
Further information:
http://www.vtt.fi
http://www.vtt.fi/news/2012/18012012.jsp?lang=en

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University

nachricht The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>