• The challenge posed by the City Hall and Mobile World Capital Barcelona, through the 5G Barcelona initiative, received 53 entries with projects focused on enhancing the independence of older persons
  • The winners will receive €100,000 to finance a pilot project to test their solutions in the city of Barcelona that will start next March

Barcelona, 15 January 2020.- As part of 5G Barcelona, Mobile World Capital Barcelona (MWCapital) and Barcelona City Hall today awarded the prizes for the best technological initiatives intended to improve the quality of life of the elderly. The winning entries were from: Grup Saltó, a company from Lleida that presented Misty II, a robot for caring and monitoring, and Cisco, with a platform created both to cover the basic care needs of older persons and to encourage more recreational and social activities. The two winning projects will receive €100,000 to finance a pilot project of their technological solutions in Barcelona to be implemented using Vodafone’s 5G network.

The awards were issued this morning at Barcelona City Hall, at an event involving Laia Bonet, third deputy mayor for Agenda 2030, Digital Transformation, Sports and Territorial and Metropolitan Coordination and Eduard Martín, 5G Director of Mobile World Capital Barcelona, as well as other figures.

The goal is to find technological solutions to increase the independence of older persons and to mitigate their cognitive deficiencies, the difficulties they experience in performing everyday basic activities and safety problems. As in other European cities the ageing of the population is one of Barcelona’s major social problems. According to the latest figures, in Barcelona more than 90,000 people over 65 years old live alone (2018). This represents 13.6% of homes.

 

Misty II, a sensitive, supervisory robot

Misty II is a small personal robot capable of moving around and interacting with the user. It has a camera, a microphone, sensors, two processors and an Android operating system.

Misty II, which is part of the SOMCARE project (promoted by Grup Saltó), recreates a care, support and supervisory platform for older persons in the form of a sensitive robot. It is physically present in the home of the person to whom it provides support and speaks to them, and asks about their daily habits (medication, diet, cleaning, etc.), or about how they are feeling. It can also follow the person or look for him or her and can activate video conferences with the health services, for example, or send information to help to analyse the cognitive condition of the person based on interaction through language.

 

‘Deleting Loneliness’ project

The second winning project is “Deleting Loneliness”, which was developed by CISCO in collaboration with NAE. The solution consists in a videoconference device (CISCO DX80), optimised for very straightforward use, which enables users with health and mobility constraints not only to take part independently in activities such as visiting a museum, belonging to a readers’ club, taking cooking lessons, but also to visit the doctor or to contact their grandchildren.

The device incorporates a presence sensor that automatically detects when someone enters the room, wakes up, and provides instructions to start using the device. Each device is personalised to suit personal preferences and tastes. These interests are used to create chat groups with other users (virtual conferencing rooms).

The project integrates portable technologies with 5G and Cisco’s virtual conferencing platform (Webex Teams), which can be entered using a single button. The novelty lies in the focus on usability and simplicity for older persons, integrated cybernetic security and privacy (which allows the sharing of personal information) and an immersive experience based on 5G. This solution is designed for older persons who live alone or for groups of older persons who live in homes.

 

53 projects from 14 countries

The “Improving quality of life for the elderly (at home) through Technology” project received 53 entries from a total of 14 countries including France, Sweden, the United States, Taiwan, Holland, Germany, Canada, Great Britain and China. 50% of participants were companies and entrepreneurs operating internationally.

The winners were selected on the grounds that their technological solutions would enhance the development of new services, overcome obstacles and encourage access to more personalised services and should be economically affordable. Immediacy, real-time response, almost unlimited connectivity and the low energy consumption offered by 5G technology were also taken into consideration.

The challenge was announced last February, with 5G as the basic technological framework, with a view to seeking out both Spanish and international solutions for improving the quality of life of the elderly through technology. To define the project, MWCapital and Barcelona City Hall worked jointly with the Government of Catalonia’s social department and with different foundations and associations involved with older persons in order to determine their needs (Catalonia Alzheimer’s Foundation, Uszheimer Foundation for Neurodegenerative Diseases, ACE Foundation, Pasqual Maragall Foundation and the Catalan Parkinson’s Association).