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­sing Smartphones to Avoid Spatial Disorientation of Elderly

Hotspots identified by researchers in the UPM study.

Technical University of Madrid researchers are using network operating technologies to send alerts to elderly people with mild cognitive impairment.

Credit: Technical University of Madrid (Spain)

Researchers at the Technical University of Madrid (UPM) have turned to network operating technologies to locate and send alerts to elderly people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) during episodes of disorientation.  

The UPM researchers developed a location-awareness service using smartphones that examines such information as seniors' proximity to their homes or places of interest, whether that person is with a relative or using public transport, and certain time intervals.  When a disorientation episode occurs, the service puts the person in touch with their nearest contact to verify if they require help.  

In the study, researchers established safety areas for each user consisting of a series of geographical locations called hotspots, which include the home of the person with MCI or places they typically visit.  Safety areas show where the person conducts their daily life, to distinguish between potentially unfamiliar areas where a situation of spatial disorientation could occur.  

The location service uses a technology called an IP multimedia subsystem, which can be reused by any installed application on a smartphone.  The locating service also can store static information through the profile of each registered user.

From Technical University of Madrid (Spain)
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