Scientists in Britain are working to develop a high-tech sensor – capable of being worn on clothing and jewelry or being implanted in the body – that could help doctors or caregivers monitor the health of vulnerable patients, Medical Daily reported.
The system, called Sensor Platform for Healthcare in a Residential Environment (SPHERE), could be used to assist patients who suffer from obesity, depression, stroke, frequent falls, cardiovascular or musculoskeletal diseases.
"Families, carers, health and social services professionals involved in all stages of care will benefit from the system," said lead researcher Professor Ian Craddock, director of the Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration (IRC). "SPHERE will address real world challenges by developing a practical technology to monitor people's health in the home environment."
The technology will compile data by recognizing patterns transmitted through the sensor, detecting minor changes in a patients’ behavior, posture and even whether or not they had taken their medication, Medical Daily reported.
Researchers have been awarded a multi-million dollar grant to develop this inexpensive, accessible system, and they have partnered with technology companies like IBM and Toshiba.
Some British residents have expressed concern over privacy issues related to the device, Medical Daily reported, but researchers insist the technology will offer huge benefits for the country’s aging population.
"Information from these sensors will monitor and track the signature movements of people in their homes and trigger a response in accordance with health needs," Professor William Harwin in the School of Systems Engineering at the University of Reading said. "This will enable health care experts to respond as appropriate."