Emergency Monitoring and Prevention «EMERGE»

European Commission, 6th Framework Project (FP6)

Demographic trends in most European countries are forecasting a massive increase in the elderly population and a dramatic increase in emergency situations. Elderly people living alone are especially endangered as delays in alerting medical emergency services often leads to prolonged hospital stays resulting in an increasing number of elderly people being placed in nursing homes; at significant additional cost and an unnecessary deterioration in their quality of life. It has been recognised that daily activities are an important part of the functional health status and are often influenced by habits, age, culture, day of the week and the time of year. Activities like sleeping, going to the toilet, preparing meals and general mobility, which follow certain individual stereotypes have shown to be sensitive to changes in daily routines.



The «EMERGE» project was tasked with researching ways to improve the support of elderly people, with innovative emergency detection and prevention systems, namely:

  • immediate detection of an emergency: enabling reduced reaction times and early initiation of definitive help
  • early recognition of a problem’s nature and severity: enabling appropriate multilevel reaction with close integration of social environment, caregivers, EMS and emergency physicians
  • emergency prevention by early detection of changes in behavioural patterns: analysis of user behaviour and personal tracking allows detection of critical deviations (may indicate deterioration in health status) and helps anticipation of potential emergencies
  • minimum implication on the elderly user’s habitual lifestyle with ambient and non-obtrusive technology leads to higher user acceptance

How does the «EMERGE» System work?

The system collects and analyses data on an on-going basis from various data sources, e.g.

  • ambient and unobtrusive sensors that acquire environmental information (e.g. temperature, humidity, and light intensity)
  • activity information (e.g. usage of environmental objects determined by pressure sensors and contact switches, and usage of devices determined by energy consumption sensors)
  • location tracking information acquired by active and passive sensor systems (e.g. RFID carpets, Ultra Wide Band (UWB) sensors, ultrasonic and infrared presence sensors)
  • vital health parameters are acquired using sensors integrated into a wrist wearable device which measures pulse rate and skin temperature
  • stand-alone devices measuring blood pressure and body weight can also be integrated into the system