Helping hand for dementia patients

A new system which helps people with dementia to wash their hands has been developed by computer scientists at the University of Dundee.


The so-called computerised cognitive assistive system has the potential to help elderly people with dementia complete simple tasks such as washing their hands by first non-invasively monitoring the users during the task and then providing guidance or assistance when necessary.


The system, which has been developed in conjunction with the University of Toronto, uses live video of the person washing their hands. If they forget which stage they are at it will prompt them with an audio or visual cue.


Jesse Hoey, one of the lead reseachers on the project, recently moved to the University of Dundee from Toronto. He now plans to refine the system, so that it can identify when a persons’ dementia is getting worse and react accordingly.


Dr Hoey presented a paper on his research at the International Conference on Computer Vision Systems where it won the IAPR (International Association for Pattern Recognition) Best Paper Award. The device is now being tested clinically at a long term care facility in Toronto.


The complete paper describing the system is available at:


http://biecoll.ub.uni-bielefeld.de//download.php?source_opus=12&startfile=ICVS2007-89.pdf