Smart Caring Cameras for Safe and Independent Living of the Elderly: A Non-Wearable Technology and Service for Fall Detection
by Ahmed Nabil Belbachir, Ferenc Vajda, Tommi Lunden and Erwin Schoitsch
In the frame of CARE, a co-funded project within the first call of EC-AAL (Ambient Assisted Living) joint programme initiative, we have developed a new technology with on-board fall detection for elderly safety at home. The system includes a visual sensor and a wireless communication module integrated into the already-established product “Everon caring system”. This new sensor technology allows real-time detection of a person’s fall by permanently monitoring, analysing and interpreting elderly activity at home, and automatically sending an alarm in case of falls. The system takes advantage of the strength of visual sensing without intruding on the individual's privacy.
Europe is ageing. The percentage of the population that is 65 years or older, and the life expectancy is rising. The number of elderly people will be more than double by 2050 and the proportion of people living alone will increase. One of the highest risks for elderly persons living alone or spending much time alone is falling down (Figure 3) and being unable to call for help, especially in case of loss of consciousness. The main challenge in installing ICT-based monitoring systems is finding the balance between surveillance and privacy, ie, home safety versus ethics. Since privacy is a fundamental human right, any means of improving safety in the living environments of elderly persons need to respect and ensure privacy. Falls can occur in all home locations and situations. Wearable tools currently used for monitoring are often not continuously used by elderly persons, rendering them of little use for detecting potentially hazardous situations. As a consequence, “smart ambient” approaches, like vision-based surveillance, appear to be more appropriate for that purpose. This CARE initiative is an end-user driven R&D activity where end-users represent major players in AAL activities in the context of safety and independent living. The consortium is well balanced two research institutes (AIT, Budapest University of Technology and Economics), two small and medium enterprises (Everon, SensoCube) and two end-users (Senioren Wohnpark Weser in Germany and Yrjö & Hanna homes in Finland). Selected elderly homes of the partner end-users are used for the evaluation and demonstration of the CARE concept.