April 7 - Engineers in Munich are developing an 'intelligent' wardrobe to assist elderly people in their day-to-day lives. Called 'Lisa', the wardrobe can help with routine daily tasks, while also assisting with more complex jobs like medical check-ups. Matthew Stock has more.
Everyday tasks - like simply taking off our shoes - most of us take for granted. But the older we get, the more challenging these daily errands often become. This prototype device - described by its makers as an intelligent wardrobe - aims to assist the elderly and infirm perform tasks both routine and potentially life saving. Thomas Linner is an engineer from the Technical University in Munich where the intelligent wardrobe - called Lisa - is being developed. SOUNDBITE (English) MEMBER OF TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY MUNICH, THOMAS LINNER, SAYING: "It's a system which intends to assist elderly people in their daily life. We integrated functions, robotic functions, mechatronic functions, functions to measure the health performance of elderly people, we integrated them in a seamless way into a furniture or wall element." It's equipped with a touch screen which can inform its owner about weather, public transport and work out directions. It will even remind them if they've forgotten their keys or glasses, and can measure the health parameters of its owner, like weight and blood pressure, which can be sent wirelesly to their doctor. Thomas Linner and his team now have plans to develop further modules for other rooms of the home. And they say younger generations may benefit from what they call an 'intelligent environment'. SOUNDBITE (English) MEMBER OF TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY MUNICH, THOMAS LINNER, SAYING: "Of course the younger people tend to like technologies, which are here integrated, a lot of technologies. I think it makes sense to basically adapt this technology to different lifestyles, different generations and not seek particularly for the elderly." It may still be in the prototype stage, but with populations ageing the world over, the intelligent wardrobe could help keep the door open for people to live longer, more independent lives.