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I-Chair: Artificial intelligence based healthcare system for elderly people

Wireless sensor technology has revolutionised healthcare practices in response to dealing with the increasing number of chronically ill patients, and real-time and continuous monitoring of health parameters, and the application of artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, can help in early diagnosis and timely treatment.

The I-Chair project aimed to create a modular, smart, telemedicine wheelchair to allow elderly, disabled patients to maintain independence yet stay connected, while simultaneously enabling caregivers to monitor vital bio-signs in real-time, providing diagnostic capabilities as well as an advice and alert system for critical conditions.

With the I-Chair’s capacity to help maintain and improve people’s independence, functional capacity, health and quality of life, while preserving their physical, cognitive, mental and social well-being, the project also intended to contribute to reducing instances of medical intervention and trips to the hospital for users.  Longer term, this would help to lessen and/or delay the need for the elderly to live in care homes.

The objectives of I-Chair were to: 

  • Develop a hardware sensory system with sensors, smart motion features and cloud connectivity with an existing wheelchair
  • Create a user interface and AI-based algorithms to analyse bio-sensory data and information relevant to the patient’s health diagnosis
  • Create a mobile application for prompt alerts on a patient’s critical condition
  • Integrate software to ensure seamless processing between cloud server and client (wheelchair)-side applications, and provide full tele-diagnoses capabilities, coaching, and an advice and alert system to communicate real-time feedback to the user / carer

The bio-sensory hardware module, mounted onto a wheel chair, continuously records health parameters such as heart rate, blood pressure, respiration and body temperature.  I-Chair also provides obstacle detection to safely slow down the speed of the wheelchair and avoid collision, without restricting movement in other directions.  The raw data is extracted, transformed and sent via 4G/Wi-Fi to a cloud server.  The mobile application configures the I-Chair system and receives instant alerts regarding the critical condition of the user / patient.  Bespoke software facilitates analysis of heterogeneous data in a cloud server using AI algorithms.  Performance and comparison metrics are generated as real-time reports for both care team members and patients.

Partners: Guangdong Kaiyang Medical Technology Group Co. Ltd, Innovative Technology and Science Ltd, Shenzhen National Medical Technology Ltd, Shenzhen University, The First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University and the HealthCare Innovation Centre (HIC).

I-Chair received funding from Innovate UK.

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