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element14 sets engineers a potentially lifesaving challenge

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element14 Pty Ltd  is inviting design engineers on its Community to develop an intelligent solution for people living with cognitive impairments and other long term conditions to help change their lives.

Project Nocturne, run in conjunction with the Bath Institute of Medical Engineering and Armley Helping Hands in Leeds, UK, hopes to find a reliable solution that will alert a relative or carer if their loved one is not safely in bed at night, or fails to get up in the morning.

Pendant or wrist alarms are commonly worn by people with long term conditions to alert their carer or family member about their condition, but cannot be relied upon completely. Telecare solutions such as Bed Occupancy Sensors (BOS) that are built into mattresses can also be problematic due to technical issues.

In the UK alone there are many thousands of people over the age of 70 years who live independently at home with many of them having some form of disability, or long term condition such as stroke, arthritis, diabetes or heart failure. At increased risk of a fall or a sudden illness, they may be unable to get to a telephone when they need to summon assistance.

Members of the 160,000-strong element14 Community are being asked to collaborate on ideas that will lead to a real, workable solution, which will make a significant difference to the lives of elderly or vulnerable people.

Drawing upon the experience and expertise of engineers, Project Nocturne will continue till a suitable solution has been found. element14 will then partner with the Newcastle based telecare and telehealth solutions provider TyneTec to assess the commercial viability and potential for manufacture and production. 

Design engineers can get involved in the project and offer their help and advice to develop a workable solution on the element14 Community. Throughout the project engineers will blog about their progress and ask for advice to any challenges that they may face from fellow community members.

While initially focused on the UK the technology being developed could benefit many elderly or vulnerable people around the world.

Dianne Kibbey, Global Head of Community, element14 is confident that the Community will work together with the Bath Institute of Medical Engineers to find solutions for people living with serious conditions and make a real difference to their lives.

Nigel Harris, Director of the Institute observes that the collaboration with the element14 Community is a novel design approach to a challenging engineering problem and looks forward to the insights and experience brought in by members to help develop a successful product expected to benefit many thousands of people worldwide.

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