As our life spans increase, more services and care will be needed for the elderly, especially those who live independently. Technology clearly has an increasing role to play in improving home care and health monitoring. The latest developments from German research group Fraunhofer are interesting to cite.

Wearable home care assistance system

In collaboration with the German Ministry for Education and Research, the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems has created a wearable technology that resembles a smart watch.

  • It can be customised to meet the specific needs of an elderly person and is accessed by authorised personnel and carers through an online portal.
  • According to Fraunhofer, the concept system offers support services including reminding users to take their prescription or helping them plan their travels to and from the doctor.
  • Emergency services can be easily called because it has phone and Wi-Fi access, as well as the ability to directly contact support professionals.
  • The large interface (though not quite the largest smartwatch design we’ve seen) contains a few basic symbols for simple operation and is programmed in advance according to the person’s needs.

Home health monitoring platform

  • The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology has created a health monitoring system that employs blood sample equipment and tiny, non-invasive sensors to deliver immediate health analysis that can be sent to a physician over the internet.
  • Fraunhofer claims that the system, which is centred around a unit housing the software and analytical tools, may monitor parameters such as blood pressure, glucose, lactate, or cholesterol level using wireless sensors. One possible way to use this system is to implant a Bluetooth module in the patient’s ear.
  • Additionally, the device is capable of analysing blood samples obtained through a finger prick, identifying markers using a fluorescence sensor, and transmitting this data to a physician for review via a mobile app.

According to Professor Harald Mathis of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology (FIT), “miniaturised sensors in the home unit, which can detect traces of the markers down to the nano level, analyse the blood sample.”

Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems
Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology