If elderly people who live alone experience certain medical conditions such as heart attack, heart failure, etc, medical assistance may not be able to offer in time to save their life. Thanks to technology, a new high-tech gizmo was designed by a group of engineers from a polytechnic in Singapore that can be used to help these elderly people.
The new device, known as Wireless Pulse Sense (WiPS), is actually a heart-rate monitor. It is a portable device capable of detecting irregular pulse rate in the presence of body fluids and environmental contaminants such as water by using magnetic forces. If abnormal heart rate is detected, the device will send out a phone call or text message to Peace Connect, a voluntary welfare organization in Singapore, in the day and to youth volunteers' cellphones after office hours. The organization is in fact developing a buddy system that will pair seniors with neighborhood kids aged between 10 and 13.
The WiPS can be worn on the wrist like a watch, and its sensitivity would not be affected by long period of usage or contaminants because its performance is independent on direct skin contact.
WiPS was originally designed for the military. While undergoing strenuous exercises, a soldier's pulse rate may change drastically. This could be a sign of possible heat stroke or heart failure. Using WiPS, irregularities in a soldier’s pulse rate during field training can be detected immediately so that timely medical aid can be given.
In Singapore, WiPS has won the prestigious 2007 Tan Kah Kee Young Inventors' Award in defense science. More information on how WiPS was designed can be found at the following webpage: