The care system is broken with elderly across the world are facing a crisis, with many going into care at exorbitant prices. For many who do not require hospitalisation, care is one of the only options, but in turn they lose out on independence and turn homes simply into an extension of a hospital.
Many elderly patients often face neurodegenerative conditions which limit their ability to work independently and autonomously, and often encounter memory loss. This disability has forced them into spending their valuable time constrained, often away from their loved ones. However, the elderly (especially those with neurodegenerative diseases) are often manipulated and the issues they face can be described in three domains:
• Daily Life (e.g. Independently staying at home ) • Safety and Security (e.g. Scam Callers) • Communication and Connection (e.g. remote carer)
My idea began after hearing and seeing the difficulties carers (family and relatives) taking care of my later great grandmother faced every day. They struggled spending long hours doing arduous tasks, which often negatively impacted the mental and physical well-being spending hours of their time for basic tasks. For many there is not simple solution which provides carers with an easier life, whilst helping independence for the elderly.
What it does
• Scammer Call Detection: Detects keywords in a phone call which are associated with scam and phishing calls notifying users if the call is believed to be a scam. • Pedometer: Tracks and displays steps to the user for physical well-being • Fall Detection: Detects if the user has fallen and calls/texts carers with GPS location • Therapy Bot: Offers chatting and mood relief with a digital bot
How I built it
MIT App Inventor: I used the application to build a simple version of the app which is easily accessible for all. I designed the App UI using inkscape, keeping the target audience of the elderly in mind (e.g. colours, sizes etc.)
Challenges I ran into
Offline Data Storage: I wanted to keep everything offline, this meant streamlining a lot features. Originally the app would make the user sign up before hand and store on the cloud. Instead I had to alter the design to move from using Firebase to TinyDB to store user information (e.g. contacts)
Usability: Originally, my app UI offered a more modern take on the app but after collecting user data regarding the usability I decided it was best to focus on the elderly target market.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
Client Feedback: I tested it out with my family and they found the app very user-friendly and very useful. App UI: Normally, I do not physically build UI, instead using native features but this was one of the first time I designed parts for apps myself App Development: My experience normally resides in other fields such as designing products etc. This was the first standalone app which I have created. This was also one of my first ever hackathons !
What I learned
User-Centred Design: App UI and features need to be optimised for the target market in order to be usable and adopted. App Development: Core development of mobile apps to help fix a certain gap in the market
What's next for RetroAid
Updated version with: • Larger Scamword library • More accurate fall detection • AI-Powered Chatbot