Two research bodies have allocated £10 million to 14 university led projects to develop technology solutions for health and care in people’s homes.
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, and the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), have allocated the money as a step towards helping people live independently while receiving support.
EPSRC director for cross-council programmes, Dr Kedar Pandya, said: “Peoples’ needs and preferences, and those of their families and communities, must be at the heart of research to create good housing that maximises independence and prevents ill health.
“The projects announced today bring together a wide range of partners, crucially including those with lived experience, to deliver on EPSRC and NIHR’s shared ambition to invest in research that is transforming health and healthcare, supporting healthier living in the UK.”
Strengthen social care
Professor Martin Knapp, NIHR’s social care spokesperson and director of the NIHR School for Social Care Research, said: “We are committed to funding and supporting research that expands and strengthens the way that social care is provided.
“We hope these studies will provide high quality evidence that will empower people to stay independent and well at home with their families and in their communities.”
ESPRC and NIHR highlighted a project led by Professor Wei Liu of King’s College London and the Professor Yu Shi at the University of Chester that aims to develop a monitoring and communication system with electronics built into clothing and home furniture. The system will measure loneliness levels in older people.
They also flagged up that a team led by Professor Kevin Lomas of Loughborough University will work with housing providers and developers, local authorities, and government departments to determine the key environmental factors in sleep degradation, how people can achieve better quality sleep and the refurbishment of homes to reduce energy demand and improve comfort in summer.
Other projects are as follows:
- Researchers at the University of Southampton, led by Professor Peter Worsley, aim to develop new interactive technology that will help with their self-management of posture and mobility to build and preserve the strength needed to maintain healthful independence at home.
- Healthcare wearables for independent living, led by Professor David Clifton at University of Oxford.
- The PROTECT project, involving predictive approaches in managing long term conditions, involving remote monitoring data and digital biomarkers – Professor Payam Barnaghi, Imperial College London.
- Home heat health, dealing with sleep in the city – Professor Kevin Lomas of Loughborough University.
- Facilitating health and wellbeing by developing systems for early recognition of urinary tract infections – Professor Kia Nazarpour, University of Edinburgh.
- Incidental interaction, which covers novel technology to support elders-as-athletes through augmenting everyday interactions – Professor MC Schraefel at University of Southampton.
- Intelligent multimodal assessment and coaching through identification of vulnerabilities in older people – Professor Alessandro Di Nuovo, Sheffield Hallam University.
- Digital PhysioOT, a home digital physio and occupational therapy technology for reversing frailty and keeping people moving – Professor Helen Dawes, University of Exeter.
- Engaging users in smell self-care at home – Professor Marianna Obrist, University College London.
- Smart sensors for a wearable-free and contactless virtual ward at home – Professor Khalid Rajab, Queen Mary University of London.
- Transforming Parkinson’s disease clinical management with integrated digital health technologies – Professor Marloes Peeters, Newcastle University.
- Multifunctional flooring: design for independent living – Professor Iman Mohagheghian, University of Surrey.