Information technology, general care  

€12m European SOPRANO project to develop technology for independent living for older people

13 February 2007

The Service Orientated Programmable Smart Environments for Older Europeans (SOPRANO) project will develop affordable, smart IT-based assisted living services aimed at promoting independence for older people, improving quality of life and addressing the issue of an ageing population across Europe.

The SOPRANO project is partly supported by a €7m grant from the EU under the Sixth Framework Programme. It will run for three and a half years and combines the expertise and knowledge of over 20 partners from six European countries, including university research institutes, public bodies and industry experts.

The project will demonstrate how telecare technology, IT and mobile communications can be harnessed to develop new community-based models of care and support. Research is expected to strongly advance global knowledge in semantic IT, RFID location, remote diagnostics, radar and integration architectures. Large-scale viability in real homes will be demonstrated with 600 users.

Led by UK telecare and telehealth solution provider Tunstall, the research will seek to develop new ways of integrating assistive technology, telecare and telehealth solutions into users’ homes to provide co-ordinated and proactive assistance. It will also investigate the motor, sensory and cognitive difficulties experienced by older people and the most effective vision, voice or sensory-based means of communicating with users.

By integrating assistive technology with advanced telecare and telehealth solutions, SOPRANO will develop a fully networked home environment. Integrated appliances and devices will support users in carrying out everyday activities, and advanced telecare and telehealth solutions will monitor health and well-being and ensure assistance is provided when required.

Mike Hodges, Research and Development Director at Tunstall said: “Against a background of accelerating demographic ageing across Europe, the latest telecare and telehealth solutions will play a pivotal role in helping to relieve some of the growing pressure on healthcare providers. Tunstall is proud to be leading this cutting-edge project which is addressing these key issues.

“The low-level, round-the-clock care provided by telecare technology such as this offers a cost-effective alternative to traditional care, while also ensuring users get the support they need in the familiarity of their home environment.”

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