EC looks at technology to help the aged

The European Commission is plying money into a project investigating the ways in which technology can be used to help elderly people who are socially excluded, have disabilities or suffer from illnesses.

It’s opened up a €1bn consultation as part of the The Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) programme, looking at robots that can cook  or ways to set off an alarm if an elderly person falls as well as exo-skeletons to help frail elderly people walk.

Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission responsible for the digital agenda highlighted the increasingly influential role ICT can play in helping the most vulnerable in our society. She urged researchers and the private sector to contribute ideas towards this.

She said in a statement: “Information and communications technologies have immense potential to improve the quality of life and health of older people and other vulnerable members of society in very practical ways.”

The AAL, which is a joint research and development funding programme implemented by 20 European Member States and 3 Associated States,  is also calling on European countries to put forward scientists in geriatrics (not geriatric scientists), engineering, architecture, informatics, psychology, sociology, nursing sciences, economics to help it in its investigation of technical solutions for older adults.

The consultation will end on 1 July 2010.