Insight Communities: NEX Project enabling independent living for older adults

Submitted on Wednesday, 15/06/2022

‘Imagine a future in which we live longer at home with assistance from technology that can enhance communication, assist self-monitoring and securely share information with our network of care givers in order to improve our quality of life. That is the future we are imagining with the NEX system.’

So says Dr Catriona Murphy, Assistant Professor of Nursing, School of Nursing, Psychotherapy and Community Health and one of the project Principal Investigators of the NEX programme.

The NEX project is a multidisciplinary research collaboration involving researchers in the Centre for e-Integrated Care, the School of Psychology, the School of Health and Human Performance and Insight Centre working with leading Irish technology companies Davra and Danalto. Insight member Hyowon Lee explains.

‘The overarching aim of the NEX project is to develop a technological solution that will enable older adults to remain living independently at home for longer and facilitate caregivers to care for their family members or clients/patients in a non-intrusive manner. The innovation of the NEX system is underpinned by the use of a variety of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies in conjunction with Artificial Intelligence (AI) to develop an integrated system that can detect changes of usual routine (periodicity and ADL detection).’

Spanning two deployment phases (seven participants in the “Friendly Trial”, May-Sep 2021; then 22 participants in the “Action Research Cycle”, Jan-Jun 2022),researchers have been visiting individual older adults’ homes, installing the necessary sensor infrastructure and regularly meeting with them and providing feedback on their degree of “routineness” and the patterns of daily activities automatically detected by the system.

Thirty healthy older adults (aged 63-87) are currently involved in the study. They are living independently (alone) with or without one or more stable chronic condition/s, all regularly using a smartphone and some with familiarity with technology.