Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize 2017 – Human-Centered Technology

Live safely even in old age – within your own four walls

The new technology concept enables elderly people to live in their own four walls with a maximum of security and privacy. The System was developed by Cornelius Moucha, Rolf van Lengen, Anne Gebert, Bernd Klein, Mario Schmitt (from the left).
© Photo Piotr Banczerowski / Fraunhofer

The new technology concept enables elderly people to live in their own four walls with a maximum of security and privacy. The System was developed by Cornelius Moucha, Rolf van Lengen, Anne Gebert, Bernd Klein, Mario Schmitt (from the left).

What to do if you fall in your home? Many elderly people ask themselves these and similar questions; they want security without having to give up their own four walls. A new technology concept, developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE in Kaiserslautern, Germany, now makes this possible – while also ensuring privacy. A communication tool integrates nursing care consultation and ensures social integration.

Researchers from the Fraunhofer IESE, the Deutsches Institut für angewandte Pflegeforschung e.V. [German Institute for Applied Care Research] and CIBEK technology + trading GmbH have now developed the system SUSI TD, which combines security and privacy. There are no cameras or other such devices to be seen in the home environment. "Our system is based on non-invasive sensors, especially on motion detectors (such as those used in lamps and alarms) as well as touch sensors placed on often-used drawers or refrigerators," explains Rolf van Lengen, Head of Department at the IESE. On the basis of the sensory data, the system learns to identify the recurring actions of the person and to recognize when assistance is needed.

There is another plus in terms of privacy: the collected data remain in the residence and are also evaluated there. Only when the person’s behavior deviates from the usual does the system send an encrypted message to the nursing care center or the nursing care support point.

For the development of SUSI TD, Cornelius Moucha, Mario Schmitt and Rolf van Lengen from the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE, Anne Gebert from the Deutsches Institut für angewandte Pflegeforschung e.V. and Bernd Klein from CIBEK technology + trading GmbH received this year’s Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize, entitled "Technik für den Menschen" [Human-Centered Technology]. The jury justifies the award by mentioning, among other things, "the special value which, in addition to the technical implementation, was placed on the ethical aspects."

Fraunhofer Prize 2017 for Human-Centered Technology

The prize for Human-Centered Technology is funded by former Executive Board members and institute directors and the the Excellence Foundation of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. This prize is awarded every two years to employees whose research and development work makes a significant contribution to improving people’s quality of life and helps them actively participate in daily life into old age. The prizewinner receives a sum of 50,000 euros.