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Ageing and the fourth industrial revolution

The fourth industrial revolution rapidly integrates the physical, digital and biological world; one of the key “buzzwords” is “big-data”. These processes are often driven by technological innovations invented and developed by young people, raised in a digital world. User interfaces are generally not adapted to the way elderly people think, reason and solve problems. Furthermore, the challenges associated with an active and successful ageing process are rarely the focus of these novel developments. How could this trend be changed, and what can it offer it offer society, also from a socio-economic and information security perspective?

Summary and Relevance:

The fourth industrial revolution with a focus on interconnected cyber physical things offers a new subset of ICT technologies for improving the quality of life of the elderly and for helping people stay healthy, independent and active at work or in their community along their whole life. From e-Health to intelligent systems, and ICT devices, this research direction focusses on technology and its role in promoting successful ageing.  

We seek candidates able to address important research gaps in developing technologies for ageing, for understanding the impact of these technologies on the elderly,  and/or studying their effects on the individual, societal as well as the organizational levels.

At Örebro University our experience related to Ageing and the fourth industrial revolution is present within several departments. The Center for Applied Autonomous Sensor Systems has a long track record in developing robotic solutions, sensor networks, and artificial intelligence solutions for independent living for elderly. In addition, the Center has studied human-robot and human-system interaction in these contexts. The Department of Informatics has a long experience in e-health and the use of IT in the provision of health care and to offer new possibilities for patients to monitor their own care. Additionally, the department has experience in understanding factors related to privacy and security as new technologies are integrated in the care process.

Extended Description:

The fourth industrial revolution is projected to affect a number of domains, not least healthcare. Subtopics range from ambient assisted living, to telemedicine and e-health, as well as monitoring, accessibility and human computer interaction. Areas that are relevant to independent living where sensors networks, robots, and other smart devices are integrated into a home environment fall also within the scope of this theme. Indeed, the applications of technology in ageing are broad, and thus the challenges are many. In particular,  many of these challenges require a transdisciplinary view. For example, robots for eldercare must consider end user preferences in eah phase of its design. Remote monitoring systems that include wireless body networks should be developed in close interaction with medical and health expertise. E-health and education, business models for telemedicine as well as open data and health information needs an in-depth understanding of organization aspects. Indeed, it is the transdisciplinary nature of the research in this theme which will lead to the more significant impacts ensuring that the research is in part needs driven and that the competences that are gained in the doctoral program lead to a new generation of knowledge and skill.

Presentation of Suggested Sub-themes

At Örebro University, we have had extensive experience on developing and understanding the technological impact as it relates to ageing.  We encourage applications that  relate to (but are not limited to) the following subtopics:

  • Investigated health monitoring, there are several sensors such as wearables that enable new ways to continuously measure parameters offering the insights to progression of age related illnesses.
  • Development of Robotic technologies for an independent living offering possibilities to lead an active and healthy ageing in place, contributing to a sense of safety and security while combating feelings of isolation and loneliness.
  • Development of fully connected homes with smart devices to create an internet-of-things that offer possibility for novel technologies for timely interventions.
  • Development of algorithms for the analysis of the wealth of data that is produced by this digitalised and interconnected setting that can learn patterns, predict trends, and automatically create personalised services that are specifically geared to an individual’s needs.
  • Investigation into the impact of technology to bring about empowerment, independent living, a greater understanding of age-related diseases, and not least to raise the quality of life of not just the wealthy but to a greater and broader demographic.
  • Investigation into ethical and societal impacts of technology, including aspects of  privacy, security, and integrity.
  • Investigation of e-health as it relates to ICT systems for health and care personnel, and as tools directly for patients to better maintain their health.

Thematic lead

Amy Loutfi

Title: Professor School/office: School of Science and Technology

Profile page: Amy Loutfi

Email:

Phone: +46 19 301116

Room: T2243

Amy Loutfi
This project is Co-funded by the European Union, MSCA Cofund, Horizon 2020