VTT Technical Research Center of Finland has collaborated on a host of new mobile applications that use NFC technology to help the elderly and visually impaired take their food and medicine.
The HearMeFeelMe project, a joint effort by VTT, TopTunnistem, Tecnalia and Demokritos, has yielded several different applications for acquiring medical information, all which are based on NFC. The solutions involve tagging packages of food and medicine with NFC labels, which contain an audio message about their corresponding products. Users simply tap these labels with their NFC-enabled mobile phones to hear the content.
The solutions were tested last month by representatives from the Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired (FFVI), the Caritas Foundation, Joutsen Pharmacy 6 in Oulu and SSI, a Spanish provider of geriatric services.
According to VTT, the testers’ favorite app was Top Tunniste’s “Touch ‘n’ Tag,” which enables visually impaired users to identify everyday items, such as food, with the help of voice memos. To record a memo tag, the user taps the NFC label on the packaging and dictates the desired message into the phone. The recording can then be accessed by tapping the label again.
Another app, called “Speaking Medicine Packaging,” provides spoken dosage instructions and other important information on NFC tags. The data is added to the NFC tags by pharmacy staff and can be listened to by the user at home on his or her computer or NFC phone.
A third app, not yet tested by end users, is designed to ensure that the elderly take their medication on time. The app enables nurses and family members to remind the patient of scheduled doses of medicine or meetings via a message sent to the patient’s mobile phone. The patient replies to the message by tapping the NFC-enabled medication container, thus sending confirmation back to the nurse or family member that the medication was taken.
According to VTT, the apps can also be used by the non-vision impaired as well. Food packaging, for example, can include links to information relevant to the individual customer, from the origins of the product to ecological aspects and possible allergy risks.
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