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Temasek Poly students develop mobile apps to help elderly

A mobile device that can help the elderly test their balance control and an app that allows the visually impaired to operate household appliances are just some of the innovative projects showcased by final-year students from Temasek Polytechnic's School of Engineering.

SINGAPORE: A mobile device that can help the elderly test their balance control during physiotherapy and an app that allows the visually impaired to operate household appliances are just some of the innovative projects showcased by final-year students from Temasek Polytechnic's School of Engineering.

The mobile device is a simple invention making use of an application installed into a smart phone that connects to the phone's sensors. When activated, the app can detect whether a person is able to stand upright, or swaying.

Since it is pre-installed into a mobile phone, there is no need for frequent visits to the physiotherapist. The data that is recorded is sent to a cloud server which the physiotherapist can access anytime, anywhere.

The team is working with local hospitals Tan Tock Seng and Changi General Hospital to further improve the software, like adding on more exercises and voice prompts in not just English and Mandarin, but also Malay and Tamil.

“Having just a mobile phone to conduct the test, instead of going to the hospital to do the test, is convenient. It's also cost efficient and you can do it anytime,” said Mohd Faiz Azman, final year student at Temask Polytechnic’s School of Engineering.

“It's important for the elderly to keep their balance properly because it reduces the risk of falling down. Daily activities and simple tasks like just walking out to the store can lead them to fall because of their imbalance."

Another invention is the iGuide - an application developed to help the visually impaired operate household appliances.

All that is needed is a scan of a QR code using the camera function of a phone, which the app needs to recognise the appliance model. Then using the phone's camera again, the user simply focuses it on any knob or button on the household appliance. The app then recognises its function and prompts the user with a voice command.

"So basically it helps the visually impaired people to use the camera function to recognise, for example, the washing machine’s power button or programme button to help them to wash clothes easily and independently in their daily life," said Liu Xu, final year student at Temask Polytechnic’s School of Engineering. 

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