Camera system helps elderly remain independent

Eye Never Sleep has launched an eponymous technology to help people live in their homes for longer.

ENS’ visual movement sensor incorporates an IP camera and secure wireless connection to alert caregivers to inactivity within the home.

Operations director John Dias told The Engineer that the IP camera (supplied by Richmond-based Y-Cam) looks for moving objects on the video source. 

‘The server receives a stream of frames [images] captured from the IP camera and the system’s algorithm gathers information about moving objects such as size and trajectory,’ he said via email. ‘Then it compares the next frames for some level of change. Depending on the degree of change – or not – a trigger alert is sent to the carer regarding activity or, more importantly, non-activity.’

The signal from the camera is protected with a username and password. Dias said the signal could not be broken in a ‘brute force attack’ but could theoretically be ‘sniffed’, a practice whereby software scans and records passwords that are used or broadcasted on a computer or network interface.

Dias said: ‘The camera pings the ENS server periodically. If the ping fails, for whatever reason, a connection alert is sent to the carer to check in with the person being cared for. For example, maybe there has been a power-cut or a failure in localised broadband.’

As well as alerts, people who sign up to the service are able to go online to check on friends or relatives in their care and the system’s level of sensitivity can be adjusted to prevent alerts triggered by a pet or a door opening and closing.

‘Eye Never Sleep is not about “big brother” and seeing what your loved one is up to, we are not looking to be intrusive,’ said Dias.  ‘The aim of the system is to monitor key traffic in the common areas. Are they active, and able to remain living independently? Should there be an extended period of inactivity when you would expect to pick up movement, then surely the carer would want to know?’

Research carried out by Censuswide UK shows that over 96 per cent of people would like to see elderly relatives living independently in their own homes for as long as possible. Additionally, over 92 per cent of people surveyed were keen to consider the use of technology to ensure this. However, in June, 2013 Age UK said that 250,000 people aged 65 and over in England are treated in hospital as the result of a fall every year. Over 9,000 older people die every year as the result of a fall and injuries from falls are one of the leading causes of death for over-75s.