Prototype - Red Alert

The next prototype is a smart geofencing application. The prototype will not use a predefined geofence but will analyse movement data on the go, learn the users habits and update accordingly.

The data will be used to build a system capable of differentiating 'normal' movement patterns from unusual ones. Family and care personnel will not have direct access to the data to protect the user's privacy, however, they can receive status messages indicating that everything is alright, that there are slight changes to normal behaviour or that something might be wrong. These status messages can for example be used to contact the person with dementia to see if they are okay.

 This image shows three different states of the 'Red alert' prototype. In the first image the person might be visiting their sister. In the second image they might just take a different route home but are still close to their familiar surrounding and the system might learn to identify this way as normal in the future if used more regularly. The third image might show an instance of wandering and would need outside intervention.

This image shows three different states of the 'Red alert' prototype. In the first image the person might be visiting their sister. In the second image they might just take a different route home but are still close to their familiar surrounding and the system might learn to identify this way as normal in the future if used more regularly. The third image might show an instance of wandering and would need outside intervention.

The idea for the Red Alert prototype originated in the first workshops where we learned that senior citizens are already used to carry a mobile phone, in most cases even a smart phone along when they leave their home. While people with dementia might arguably not be able to use the phone in a situation of disorientation and stress to call for help, they are used to pick up the phone when it rings. Hence, if a call is initiated by a family member or care personnel who offer help,  this might overcome the shortcomings of too complicated technical devices and support people in a moment of need.

Workshop reception

Participants in the workshop were concerned about privacy and possible hacker attacks divulging sensitive data to perpetrators. Furthermore, some argued that the wrong type of notifications for family and care personnel could lead to a constant feeling of emergency. For example, even indicating only slight changes in behaviour can lead to uncertainty and nervousness among the carers, and 'red alert' can create a panic that might be for naught in most cases. Hence, the system has to be designed accordingly to not be an additional burden on its users.

Naemi Luckner