SPHERE - a Sensor Platform for HEalthcare in a Residential Environment
The UK, like many other nations, is faced with an explosion of long term health conditions - these are condions that require continuous management, often for many years, outside of a hospital setting. Obesity, depression, diabetes, stroke, falls, respiratory conditions, cardiovascular and musculoskeletal disease are some of the biggest health issues and fastest-rising categories of healthcare costs. The associated expenditure is widely regarded as unsustainable and the impact on quality of life is felt by millions of people each day. SPHERE is a community of nearly 100 researchers, designed to tell us to what extent new technology can be answer to some of these problems.
SPHERE has developed a number of different sensors that will combine to build a picture of how we live in our homes. This information can then be used to spot issues that might indicate a medical or well-being problem.
The technology could help in the following ways:
- Characterise the sedentary behaviour that is linked to so many conditions.
- Detect correlations between factors such as diet and sleep.
- Measure changes in movement, posture and patterns of movement over months.
- Analyse eating behaviour - including whether people are taking prescribed medication
- Detect periods of depression or anxiety and intervene using a computer based therapy
- Predict falls and detect strokes so that help may be summoned
SPHERE is working with clinicians, engineers, designers and social care professionals as well as members of the public to develop these sensor technologies.
We want to make sure the technology is:
- Acceptable in people's homes
- Solves real healthcare problems in a cost effective way
- The project generates knowledge that will change clinical practice (this will be achieved by focusing on real-world technologies that can be shown working in a large number of local homes during the life of the project).
Read a feature article in the IEEE newsletter The Institute: 'The SPHERE House Can Monitor Its Residents’ Health'
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SPHERE was awarded a grant of £12 million by EPSRC. The total project investment to date is £15 million. The EPSRC grant ref is EP/KO31910/1