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 Second cause of hidden hearing loss identified
20.02.2017 | Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

nachricht Prospect for more effective treatment of nerve pain
20.02.2017 | Universität Zürich

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate

21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Use your Voice – and Smart Homes will “LISTEN”

21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>