Authors: Dr. Sonja Grigoleit, Simone Schmitz
The EU project »SHAPES« (Smart and Healthy Aging through People Engaging in Supportive Systems), launched in November 2019, aims to develop a technology platform that integrates both a variety of digital and video communication tools – and numerous maintenance of a high-quality standard of life in to facilitate long-term healthy and active aging and the maintenance of a high-quality standard of life in the increasing aging population. When it became apparent how severely the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted the European healthcare system, the EU Commission.
When it became apparent how severely the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted the European healthcare system, the EU Commission asked SHAPES management to adapt the project in such a way that the digital technologies (further) developed as part of the project could be used as solutions to pandemics and the resulting challenges.
SHAPES focuses on support, care and rehabilitation in the home environment and therefore many SHAPES technologies are designed to facilitate remote medical care for older persons so that they do not need to visit a doctor or hospital. In the event of any future local or national lockdown, older persons with chronic diseases will now receive better care and be more closely monitored.
Another strength of the SHAPES project will be risk prevention and risk monitoring of older persons. The original idea was to use artificial intelligence to monitor heart patients or persons with diabetes, for example, and warn them when their various health parameters indicate that they are at risk. Over the past few weeks, however, the technical partner organizations have focused on developing additional products that can be used for risk monitoring and identification specifically in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
A total of 25 European partner organizations are working on this ambitious innovation project under the supervision of Maynooth University in Ireland. The project will receive funding from the EU Commission, amounting to 18 million euros over a period of four years.
One of the tasks that Fraunhofer INT has is to head the pilot campaign in which the SHAPES platform and its digital solutions will be tested and evaluated at 15 different pilot sites across Europe. Around 450 older persons will take part in this pilot test, either in their own home environment or in nursing homes, as well as many relatives, carers and medical professionals.
Moreover, the catalog of requirements for the SHAPES platform will also be created at Fraunhofer INT, which will be developed on the basis of extensive literature research and interviews. The Foresight group at Fraunhofer INT will also carry out regular foresight activities with the aim of continuously integrating future technologies and future social developments into the project. During a virtual workshop held on May 12, 2020, participating experts had the chance to discuss their views on future requirements and technological solutions, and to include these in the process.