According to The Asahi Shimbun today, elderly people who live alone can now be monitored around the clock by a new system that detects and analyses everyday sounds in their homes without violating their privacy.
Developed by Fujitsu Ltd., a Japanese multinational information technology equipment and services company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, the system detects household noises via a microphone that is connected online to a data centre, the company announced May 11. If an abnormality is detected, it alerts registered family members or a security firm.
The company plans to market its new sound system in December to hospitals, municipal governments and security companies.
According to Fujitsu, the system can differentiate between the sounds of a falling object and a person collapsing. The system can also detect heavy breathing and hacking coughs. If no sounds are detected in the morning, the system can conclude that the person has not awakened.
Remote monitoring systems have been in demand in recent years to check on the health of older people who live alone.
Although systems that use cameras are available, many people fear that such systems can be an invasion of privacy.
Fujitsu said its new system sends only wavelengths of gleaned data to a data center, ensuring that conversations cannot be heard by third parties.
The electronics giant is also considering introducing a service that utilizes a device worn like a wristwatch that can locate the user and detect changes in their heartbeat in the event of an unusual occurrence.
The Japanese government has warned that by 2060, nearly 40% of the population will be aged 65 or over. Data released last April shows it is already difficult for the East Asian nation of to support the elderly and pensioners who currently make up 25% of its population.
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