Japan’s top telecoms company is developing a simple wristwatch-like device to monitor the well-being of the elderly, part of a growing effort to improve care of the old in a nation whose population is aging faster than anywhere else.
The device, worn like a watch, has a built-in camera, microphone and accelerometer, which measure the pace and direction of hand movements to discern what wearers are doing — from brushing their teeth to vacuuming or making coffee.
In a demonstration at Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp.’s research facility, the test subject’s movements were collected as data that popped up as lines on a graph — with each kind of activity showing up as different patterns of lines. Using this technology, what an elderly person is doing during each hour of the day can be shown on a chart.
The prototype was connected to a personal computer for the demonstration, but researchers said such data could also be relayed by wireless or stored in a memory card to be looked at later.
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