As elderly often refuse to wear any additional sensors to activate alarm calls, FEARLESS will visually and acoustically detect and handle risks by contacting the relatives or care taker organisation (e.g. TES or SAM) automatically – without the need of any user intervention. This is done by using only one single type of sensor making the system affordable for everyone. It increases the feeling of safety, reduces fears, enhances the self-efficacy and thus enables elderly to be more active, independent and mobile in today’s self-serve society. However, the focus does not only lie on developing a new technology, but also on realistic dissemination. Hence, important parts of the supply chain have to be integrated – the cooperation with a big network of electricians and electric shops assures that people get to know FEARLESS as well as a widely distributed installation.
FEARLESS does not only enhance the mobility by reducing fears but also triggers an alarm, if significant behavioural changes (e.g. less mobility, change of health condition and many others) are detected. Thus, relatives or care taker organisations are able to ensure the physical and psychological well-being of the primary end users. The overall goal of this system is to provide end users help, whenever help is needed – not only due to safety critical incidents but also if they need help to improve their well-being. To accomplish this, not only technical and social, but also psychological factors as well as protecting privacy are taken into consideration. The user are involved throughout the entire project, as their needs and wishes are examined in regular feedback intervals – as well as their feasible concerns about their privacy.
FEARLESS is a project designed to detect a wide range of risks with a single sensor unit, enhancing mobility and enabling elderly to take active part in the self-serve society by reducing their fears. Another main focus of this project is the lack of expertise at the supplier side and thus the integration of important parts of the supply chain (i.e. network of electricians and electric shops).
It will utilise the flexibility of vision based sensors and combine it with acoustic event detection. This combination will significantly enhance the reliability of the overall system. The potential dangers, which can be detected with FEARLESS include smoke/fire, flooding, falls or sudden changes in daily life caused by a deterioration of the health condition. The overall aim of this project is the reduction of barriers (i.e. fears and concerns), which impedes the mobility of elderly people, often suffering from dementia or light loss of cognitive activities.
Expected results and impact
The social alarm technology is increasingly deployed to provide non-institutionalised care and to promote an independent lifestyle for the elderly population. The actual low penetration of the technology is expected to offer growth opportunities to information and communications infrastructure providers, social alarm equipment suppliers as well as community service providers.
The following technologies are proposed in the actual market:
First-generation Alarms: These devices consist of a simple telephone unit and a pendant with a button that can be triggered when help is required by the user. The monitoring centre systems receive the call, which displays the caller’s identity and location, thereby enabling care staff to provide immediate response based on the level of urgency.
Second-generation Alarms: This segment, otherwise known as telecare refers to the use of sensors such as smoke, fire and flood detectors, among others, which enable the care staff to respond to a crisis by providing immediate response in case of emergencies.
Third-generation Alarms: This refers to a more advanced type of telecare service, which collects activity data automatically through various sensors on a continuous basis through the detection of various movements.
At present, the most mature market in the field of ICTs and ageing concerns social alarms (first generation). FEARLESS is an enrichment of the current home care services covering the third generation alarms market.