Information about science based innovations, solid facts to support decision-making, performance and business development for VTT’s partners, customers and anyone interested in high technology and its applications.
A magazine on science, technology and business

Assistant demo

​​User tests on the routes were performed in Helsinki, Vienna in Austria and San Sebastian in Spain. The service was found to be particularly useful on unfamiliar routes.

Gerontechnology providing everyday assistance and safety

Sirpa Posti | 24.5.2017

There is demand for digital senior services that support dignified and safe ageing. The markets are growing rapidly, as the share of the elderly of the population is constantly increasing. 

In Finland, 20 per cent of the population is above the age of 65, and in 2030 their share will be 26 per cent. We live longer and, at the same time, the number of those suffering from memory disorders increases. At the moment, the number is almost 200,000, and every year 14,500 Finns are diagnosed with this disease. 

VTT has been developing technological solutions serving the needs of the ageing population since the 1980s. With the introduction of data technology, the research has turned more into service development. Therefore, VTT’s holistic technological competence is a competitive asset. 

– VTT studies how technology and such inventions as service robots can be harnessed to supporting the everyday life of the elderly. The new smart technologies are opening doors for this, says Jaana Leikas, Principal Scientist at VTT, Docent. 

– In gerontechnology, we need to move on to a holistic approach in the planning of everyday activities, not forgetting the ethical viewpoints. Wellbeing and coping in everyday situations are important for the elderly persons themselves, their families and the whole society. Technology is an enabler – it does not replace human nursing or care.

Assistant_eng.jpg

The guidance application also supports voice navigation.

Smart technologies at home prepare for the future

More and more people want to live at their own homes as long as possible, or are forced to do so due to, for example, limited amount of care apartments. Homes can be adjusted to meet the needs of ageing persons or persons with a memory disorder. Sensor technology detecting activity and use of the Internet of Things enable a digital leap that supports good, independent living at home. 

– Smart and unobtrusive technology helps to anticipate critical changes in functional ability and to address them at sufficiently early phases, Leikas emphasises. 

Data can be collected by, for example, equipping home appliances, building technology systems and furniture with sensors. They detect whether the grandfather has remembered to open the refrigerator door to get something to eat, gotten up from bed, fallen down in his apartment or remembered to go for a walk. In accordance with the consent given by the resident, the data can be used by, for example, the spouse, family members living in another town, or municipal home or health care professionals.  


Pepper_Paivi_Heikkila_P1110573.jpgVTT’s Research Scientist Päivi Heikkilä is involved in developing Pepper’s social skills in an international project.​

IMG_3641_rajattu.jpgPepper is a 120-centimetre tall social robot that reacts to eye contact and greetings.​

There is demand for digital senior services 

Senior citizens will become an increasingly common sight in the transit system. An easy-to-use guidance application that works in the mobile phone is currently being developed for the elderly: it guides people all the way from their home door to the desired place step by step. It, for example, guides people to walk to a public transport stop and provides the relevant schedule data in real time, and helps in changing routes and getting off at the right stop. 

– The service helps and encourages older people to use public transport. Some user tests have already been performed, and the next step is to place the service to the market, says Samuli Heinonen Research Scientist at VTT.

– The retail sector is undergoing a major transition in service provision and is seeking new business opportunities. Senior citizens are a growing consumer group with considerable purchasing power. Some of them live in areas from where conventional shopping services have disappeared.

– VTT has been collaborating with the retail sector for more than a decade to develop cost efficient solutions for everyday use, says Jari Kaikkonen, Research Team Leader at VTT. 

For example, in the Kauppahuone-2016 project, an experiment “Easy guitar service through your local shop” was made, where the extra service provided by a music shop was made available through a local shop. In another project, an extended selection of products was made available at a small local shop operating with a light cost structure by means of an online service. Such services bring added value to the elderly as well.

Stop Diabetes (StopDia), being implemented in 2016–2019, is an extensive Finnish research project involving a large number of organisations. The new StopDia model, which also applies digital technologies, promotes wellbeing and healthy lifestyles, thus reducing the occurrence of type 2 diabetes. It is also used for building pathways towards change. 

– Next, we will examine how the model impacts lifestyles and the risk of diabetes in practice. The target group includes 10,000 Finnish people with an elevated risk of diabetes, Research Scientist Johanna Leväsluoto relates. 

Robotics creating new service opportunities

VTT and Attendo tested in a two-month trial an easy-to-use, remote-operated telepresence robot with an elderly person living in a nursing care facility. With the help of the robot the resident could discuss with her family members living farther away. The results seem promising: tele­presence supports the feeling of social connection and helps to alleviate family members’s worry of the older person. The care facility staff also considered the experiment positive. 

The trial was part of a project, which studies the joint development of gerontechnology and 
its adoption in Finnish and Japanese care organisations. The trial will be repeated at an assisted-living facility in Hervanta of Tampere for another project studying the possibilities of care robots in Finnish elderly care. In collaboration with the University of Tampere, the telepresence robot is also tested in different recreational activities encouraging participation of the residents and visitors at the same facility.

At the moment, VTT and the Japanese research institute AIST are surveying the attitudes of the elderly on assisting technologies in both countries. ​

– The Finnish respondents seem to be more positively inclined towards assisting technologies than the Japanese respondents, with the exception of social robotics. 40–60% of the Finnish respondents were interested in using such assisting systems as mobility and hygiene support technologies, automatic drug dispensing machines and games preventing dementia both as a means to support independent living and in their own care. The survey was conducted in Japan and Finland among people above the age of 65 who live at their own homes and do not use care services or care provided by family members, says Senior Scientist Marketta Niemelä.

In another project, VTT is collaborating with the shopping centre Ideapark Lempäälä to develop a Japanese-French service robot Pepper in a EU-funded project. Pepper is different from most robots in that it is social and reacts to people’s feelings. Based on facial expressions, gestures and a tone of voice, it recognises when a person is, for example, happy or anxious. Pepper is developed to function independently and naturally, and to entertain and assist people of different ages in Finnish. The first visits to the shopping centre have been made, and the reception has been positive. We are only beginning to realise the opportunities social robots like Pepper can offer in such uses as promotion of better lifestyles for the elderly. 

Photos: Samuli Heinonen, Marketta Niemelä, Sirpa Posti​

 

 

Impulsehttp://www.vttresearch.com/ImpulseImpulse
Impulse 1/2017http://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-1-2017.aspxImpulse 1/2017
A birthday gift from us to ourselveshttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/A-birthday-gift-from-us-to-ourselves.aspxA birthday gift from us to ourselves
A future without wastewater?http://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/A-future-without-wastewater.aspxA future without wastewater?
A machine is more humanehttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/A-machine-is-more-humane.aspxA machine is more humane
At the digital forefront of mininghttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/At-the-digital-forefront-of-mining.aspxAt the digital forefront of mining
Cell screening leads to new cancer treatmentshttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Cell-screening-leads-to-new-cancer-treatments.aspxCell screening leads to new cancer treatments
From ideas to major innovationshttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/From-drawing-board-to-major-innovation.aspxFrom ideas to major innovations
Health benefits and efficiency without sacrificing food qualityhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Health-benefits-and-efficiency-without-sacrificing-food-quality.aspxHealth benefits and efficiency without sacrificing food quality
VTT Impulsehttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/MainPage.aspxVTT Impulse
What's going on in Australia?http://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Whats-going-on-in-Australia.aspxWhat's going on in Australia?
An export product tougher than nailshttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/An-export-product-tougher-than-nails.aspxAn export product tougher than nails
Impulse 2/2014http://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-2-2014.aspxImpulse 2/2014
Impulse 1/2016http://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-1-2016.aspxImpulse 1/2016
Impulse 2/2016http://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-2-2016.aspxImpulse 2/2016
Impulse 1/2015http://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-1-2015.aspxImpulse 1/2015
Impulse 2/2015http://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-2-2015.aspxImpulse 2/2015
Impulse 1/2014http://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-1-2014.aspxImpulse 1/2014
How to become a leading country in flexible energy production systemshttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/How-to-become-a-leading-country-in-flexible-energy-production-systems.aspxHow to become a leading country in flexible energy production systems
Brazil paves the way for bioenergyhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Brazil-paves-the-way-for-bioenergy.aspxBrazil paves the way for bioenergy
By measuring you can improvehttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/By-measuring-you-can-improve.aspxBy measuring you can improve
Let's make bioeconomy a realityhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Lets-make-bioeconomy-a-reality.aspxLet's make bioeconomy a reality
Before information gets lost in numbershttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Before-information-gets-lost-in-numbers.aspxBefore information gets lost in numbers
Cleaner city traffic with wood-based dieselhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Cleaner-city-traffic-with-wood-based-diesel.aspxCleaner city traffic with wood-based diesel
Tracking peoplehttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Tracking-people.aspxTracking people
It is the duty of entrepreneurs to seek growthhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/It-is-the-duty-of-entrepreneurs-to-seek-growth.aspxIt is the duty of entrepreneurs to seek growth
Why do so many women feel chilly indoorshttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Why-do-so-many-women-feel-chilly-indoors.aspxWhy do so many women feel chilly indoors
Digital ecosystems are emerginghttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Digital-ecosystems-are-emerging.aspxDigital ecosystems are emerging
Sensor of tomorrowhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Sensor-of-tomorrow.aspxSensor of tomorrow
The future 5G network proceeds to test phase in Ouluhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/The-future-5G-network-proceeds-to-test-phase-in-Oulu.aspxThe future 5G network proceeds to test phase in Oulu
Jaakko Eskola: ”The ability to reinvent yourself is vital to success.”http://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/”The-ability-to-reinvent-yourself-is-vital-to-success”.aspxJaakko Eskola: ”The ability to reinvent yourself is vital to success.”
Modelling and simulation facilitateshttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Modelling-and-simulation-facilitates.aspxModelling and simulation facilitates
World in 2030 - answers to tomorrow’s questionshttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/World-in-2030-answers-to-tomorrows-questions.aspxWorld in 2030 - answers to tomorrow’s questions
We must maintain Finland as an attractive target for investmenthttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/We-must-maintain-Finland-as-an-attractive-target-for-investment.aspxWe must maintain Finland as an attractive target for investment
All sights on generationhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/All-sights-on-generation.aspxAll sights on generation
Demand for energy storage is growing rapidlyhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Demand-for-energy-storage-is-growing-rapidly.aspxDemand for energy storage is growing rapidly
Using personal know-how to promote the common goodhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Using-personal-know-how-to-promote-the-common-good.aspxUsing personal know-how to promote the common good
Business angel speaks out: Growth from the international arenahttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Business-angel-speaks-out-Growth-from-the-international-arena.aspxBusiness angel speaks out: Growth from the international arena
Robotics – technology with multi-faceted potentialhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Robotics-technology-with-multi-faceted-potential.aspxRobotics – technology with multi-faceted potential
Minister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn: Renewal of economy will bring new growthhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Renewal-of-economy-will-bring-new-growth.aspxMinister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn: Renewal of economy will bring new growth
Risk management in an increasingly complex worldhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Risk-management-in-an-increasingly-complex-world.aspxRisk management in an increasingly complex world
Are environmental claims believable?http://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Are-environmental-claims-believable.aspxAre environmental claims believable?
The perfect pilot environment for Arctic solutionshttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/The-perfect-pilot-environment-for-Arctic-solutions.aspxThe perfect pilot environment for Arctic solutions
International entrepreneurship does not happen overnight it needs to be nurturedhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/International-entrepreneurship-does-not-happen-overnight-it-needs-to-be-nurtured.aspxInternational entrepreneurship does not happen overnight it needs to be nurtured
Clearing the way for new materials with ChemSheet technologyhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Clearing-the-way-for-new-materials-with-ChemSheet-technology.aspxClearing the way for new materials with ChemSheet technology
We cannot afford not to have robotshttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/We-cannot-afford-not-to-have-robots.aspxWe cannot afford not to have robots
Intelligent transport – a trump card for Finnish exportshttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Intelligent-transport-a-trump-card-for-Finnish-exports.aspxIntelligent transport – a trump card for Finnish exports
Pilot plants forge innovative ideas into business activitieshttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Pilot-plants-forge-innovative-ideas-into-business-activities.aspxPilot plants forge innovative ideas into business activities
More than siliconhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/More-than-just-Silicon.aspxMore than silicon
Sustainability and acceptability for mining operationshttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Sustainability-and-acceptability-for-mining-operations.aspxSustainability and acceptability for mining operations

CONTACT US

P.O. Box 1000, FI-02044 VTT, Finland
Tel. exchange +358 20 722 111
Opening hours Mon - Fri 8:00 - 16:30,
UTC +2 time zone

CUSTOMER SERVICE

info@vtt.fi
Tel. +358 20 722 7070
Opening hours Mon - Fri 9:00 - 11:00 and 12:00 - 15:00,
UTC +2 time zone