Patients and carers in Bath asked to help develop new health technology

August 22, 2011 by
Filed under: News 

The Department for Health at the University of Bath has developed new interactive technology to help improve the lives of people with dementia, the elderly and disabled people. The academics who have produced the two new applications: In Touch and If Only are now seeking feedback from patients and their carers.

In Touch is an easy to use video communication system developed specifically for elderly users and those with dementia to help them feel more socially included.

It has a touch-screen interface which enables people with dementia to participate in virtual visits with friends and relatives who can’t be with them in person through a two-way video link.

In Touch differs from current video links, such as web cams, as it provides a wide view of the family living room or kitchen, where the person with dementia could, for example, watch and hear their grandchildren playing.

The second application, If Only, is designed for smartphones and encourages users to upload videos and photographs of everyday problems encountered by elderly and disabled people.

For example a person who is only able to use one hand may find it difficult to operate a standard tin opener. These videos and images will then be viewed by designers who will endeavour to create innovative new products to tackle these issues.

The University is now asking people who could use this technology to test the new applications and provide some feedback.

Carers are being asked to comment on design aspects, such as whether they would prefer the system to be integrated with their television set or to remain as a separate screen.

Professor Christopher Eccleston, who led the development of the If Only application, said: “The goal is to bring together people with disabilities, behavioural scientists, and design innovators, and offer them a challenge to find ways to make more relevant and effective products.”

Lisa Austin from the University’s Bath Research & Development primary care consortium added: “Feedback bring us in direct contact with the public, which gives our local researchers encouragement for our ideas to make things better. By sharing thoughts and hearing the views and experiences of the group members, researchers are able to develop more relevant research into problems faced by carers and create innovative design solutions.”

If you are a carer, stroke survivor or chronic pain patient and would like more information, please email Inclusive Design Research Assistant Sarah Rook at or phone 01225 383897       or visit this link

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