€2m funding for digital research projects

18 Jun 2008

The National Digital Research Centre (NDRC) has announced €2m in funding for six new health projects that include using mobile technology to better manage chronic illness and using special sensors to identify human postures.

The NDRC is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that was founded by a consortium of universities and supported by the Department of Communications. It acts as a bridge between academia and the digital industry.

The six projects include ‘HealthPhone’, a web-based system to support the management of chronic illnesses using mobile technology in the home to measure and report on vital patient data including blood pressure, weight and medication levels. The project will allow medical professionals to get real-time information on patients, presenting the prospect of more timely intervention.

Another project is ‘Inside Out’, which focuses on health awareness and childhood obesity. It will see a learning games module developed that will enable children to develop an understanding of the human body and health through the use of innovative diagnostic and wearable sensor technology for monitoring energy expenditure, combined with highly graphical electronic digital media.

‘WellSense’ will develop special high-tech sensors to measure human body postures which will have applications in sport, dance, yoga and computer gaming.

Another project, ‘FreeGaming’, is a mobile phone-based game in which players have to physically move and interact, using their mobile handset, in order to achieve the game’s goals. The aim is to help tackle obesity in children.

The ‘Viking Ghost Hunt’ project will capitalise on location-based gaming. The interactive game will require the user to travel around Dublin city to advance the game, incorporating physical exercise into traditional gaming and experiencing new combinations of storyline and game play activities.

Another project, LiDAR, will look at new methods of representing, modeling, interpreting, and data mining remotely sensed imagery and LiDAR point clouds for a new generation of engineering-enabled city modelling.

“These innovative projects seek to solve significant problems through translating lab-based technology to address imminent end-user needs,” commented Ben Hurley, CEO, NDRC. “We are excited to fund these projects which have both commercial and societal benefits for Ireland and show how vital such research will be for our economy.”

By Niall Byrne