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Fujitsu launches research project to provide health monitoring technologies and assisted living for smart house residents

Date: Thu, 07/04/2013 - 13:47

Collaboration with three research institutions in Ireland (TRIL, CASALA, CLARITY) to explore ways to assist independent living in an aging society through ICT
Fujitsu launches research project to provide health monitoring technologies and assisted living for smart house residents Image credited to Fujitsu Ireland

Fujitsu Laboratories Limited and Fujitsu Ireland Ltd. announced the launch of the KIDUKU Project, a research initiative that aims to provide monitoring services and assisted independent living for senior citizens and patients who live in smart houses. The project will commence in July 2013 in Ireland, and will last for three years. It is being carried out in collaboration with three Irish research institutions—TRIL, CASALA, and CLARITY—each of which has pursued monitoring, diagnostic support and other advanced activities involving the use of ICT in a variety of scenarios, including medicine and daily life.
Over the course of the project, researchers will utilize a range of sensors to monitor patients’ daily lives, in addition to bringing the expertise of independent living support specialists together with data visualization and analysis technologies. As a result, Fujitsu Laboratories aims to develop a system that supports independent living through health management and ICT, as well as solutions for seniors and patients that participate in this system.
The research will help seniors and patients follow up with illnesses and support with appropriate treatment regimens. In addition, by streamlining the sharing of information among senior citizens and patients and their family members, primary physicians, and specialists, the project aims to leverage ICT to support the lives of people in an aging society.

Overview of the Joint Research
Sensors affixed to the clothing of senior citizens and patients living in smart houses, in situations such as when at home or outdoors, and sensors embedded in the home and surrounding environment will be used to collect various data, including physiological, psychological, physical, and social information.
By bringing the insights of independent living support specialists together with data visualization and analysis technologies, Fujitsu Laboratories aims to develop a system that supports independent living through health management and ICT, as well as solutions for seniors and patients that employ this system. Using the system to help monitor senior citizens and patients will make it possible to monitor illnesses while helping them to follow appropriate treatment regimens. It will also make it easy for information to be shared among senior citizens and patients and their family members, primary physicians and specialists. Research will be conducted for several kinds of medical scenarios, including fall prevention and chronic lung disease.

What is “KIDUKU”?
The project’s name, KIDUKU, captures the essence of two Japanese words, both pronounced “kiduku,” with the first meaning “to be aware” and the second, “to construct.”
The idea of being aware has to do with the ability to observe changes in different conditions, such as an individual’s health, which can lead to changes in behavior and the offering of new support services. For this purpose, Fujitsu aims to “construct” a knowledge platform that provides services to help senior citizens and patients gain a heightened sense of awareness. The company also seeks to build senior citizen-oriented solutions that employ this system and are useful in everyday life. By collaborating with the three research institutions in Ireland on this project, and by gaining the cooperation of senior citizens and patients, Fujitsu is seeking to build a closer relationship between Ireland and Japan.

Three Partner Research Intuitions in Ireland
The Fujitsu KIDUKU Project is a joint research collaboration with three globally renowned research institutions in Ireland.
1. CASALA (Centre for Effective Solutions for Ambient Living Awareness: http://www.casala.ie/)
CASALA established and manages the Great Northern Haven development of sensing environment-enabled experimental smart houses in Dundalk, Ireland. With the cooperation of residents, the institution carries out tests for various kinds of equipment, as well as activity monitoring and service delivery trials.
2. TRIL (Technology Research for Independent Living: http://www.trilcentre.org/)
As a hospital-based medical research institution, TRIL utilizes various sensing and information display technologies to carry out research that supports independent living, primarily for elderly patients.
3. CLARITY (Centre for Sensor Web Technologies: http://www.clarity-centre.org/)
In addition to developing technologies for visualizing and analyzing voice, video and other sensing data, CLARITY has a strong research track record in analyzing human behavior in areas such as sports, medicine, and everyday life.

Regina Moran, CEO, Fujitsu Ireland Ltd., said: “The overall aim of this research is to enhance the care and empowerment of those living with a range of health conditions through the effective use of technology”, said Regina Moran, CEO of Fujitsu Ireland at the launch of the research initiative. “Fujitsu Laboratories is very experienced in harnessing technology to deliver solutions to address human challenges and by working with medical experts and the three research organisations we will be creating a unique business opportunity in a market area that is estimated to have a world-wide value of €17bn by 2017.”
Tatsuo Tomita, President, Fujitsu Laboratories Limited, said: “We are delighted to launch the KIDUKU Project. In seeking to address challenges resulting from an aging society, Fujitsu Laboratories is teaming up with three of Ireland’s research institutions, including a medical specialist team, to examine smart houses inhabited by senior citizens. This global collaboration is quite exceptional in its breadth and the range of specialty areas involved. By bringing together the respective technologies and knowledge of each research institution, including Fujitsu Laboratories, I anticipate that we can generate substantial synergies. My hope is that, through this project, we will be able to make progress in resolving the issues we currently face on account of our aging society.”
The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, said: “Key to the Government’s plan to get growth and jobs back into the economy again is a determination to ensure that we get a better commercial return from State-funded research. That is why the recent Research Prioritisation exercise focused on turning good ideas into good jobs by selecting a small number of areas where investment will be targeted. Typically, one third of IDA-supported jobs projects have a direct link to state-funded research. “Today’s announcement that world-leading company Fujitsu is investing in industry-led research activity in areas targeted by the Action Plan for Jobs shows what is possible for Ireland in this area. I am determined that, through continued implementation of our plan, industry-led research in the priority areas will see more commercialisation and ultimately more jobs for Ireland.”
Barry O’Leary, CEO, IDA Ireland, said: “Fujitsu’s collaboration with three Irish research groups will significantly add to Ireland’s strong track record as a location for R&D investment in both the ICT and Life Science sectors. The technologies developed as result of this investment will revolutionise the delivery of healthcare for the elderly population worldwide.”

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