Salix Homes is working with Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, The University of Manchester and The University of Salford on a ground-breaking artificial intelligence (AI) research project.
MiiHome uses sensors such as Microsoft Kinect technology (most commonly associated with the Xbox) fitted into people’s homes, with the aim of helping elderly people who are frail and may have problems with their memory maintain their independence. Kinect sensors have already been fitted into a number of properties at Salix Homes’ sheltered living schemes.
Jonathan Drake, service director for business development, Salix Homes, said, “Salix Homes is very proud to be involved in this pioneering research project, which we hope will help elderly people live safely in their homes for longer and reduce the pressure on the NHS and other care services.
“Salix Homes is rethinking the way housing services are delivered, and MiiHome is a perfect example of that. By using a mainstream technology such as Kinect, we hope this will provide a realistic and affordable solution to tackling critical health and social care issues.”
Salix Homes’ residents taking part in the first study are being monitored for three months by researchers at The University of Manchester, after which the data will be analysed to identify patterns and changes in behaviour that could be linked to changes in health.
Caroline Gardner, research associate, The University of Manchester, said: “We are very grateful to the residents at Salix Homes who have agreed to help us with this first study. I will be making regular visits to see how everyone is getting on and how the Kinect technology is performing. It’s really important for us to know if it is practical to install this type of equipment and to learn from their experiences.”
Dr Anthony Hodgson, dementia clinical research development and delivery lead, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, said, “The long-term vision of these studies is to test the idea that we might install a digital ‘guardian angel’ in the home, particularly of those who live alone.
“We want to develop a system where we can detect significant deterioration in a person’s health. This would mean we could react appropriately and avoid the more serious problems that could result when things continue to deteriorate, perhaps unnoticed.”