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Components | March 20, 2012

u-blox helps in Alzheimer care

u-blox’ CellLocate technology powers “WATCHIE” universal person locator.
u-blox, the Swiss positioning and wireless chip and module company, has provided their CellLocate hybrid GPS/cellular positioning technology to LOSTnFOUND, a Swiss based company specializing in intelligent solutions for the protection, monitoring and retrieval of people and property.

“WATCHIE”, was announced at the 27th International Conference of Alzheimer’s disease last week in London. WATCHIE is a wristwatch that capitalizes on the CellLocate positioning system integrated in u‑blox’ LEON GSM and NEO-6 GPS module. The solution intelligently combines GPS satellite and mobile phone positioning data to support universal positioning, indoors and outside.

“With millions of new cases of Alzheimer’s diagnosed each year, the problem of monitoring and caring for persons with dementia has become an urgent problem for families and caregivers,” said Marc Wortmann, Executive Director, Alzheimer's Disease International, “WATCHIE is a unique solution for person management, giving caregivers the ability to know where users are located, both indoors and outside, anywhere at any time.”

The solution allows caregivers to pinpoint the location of a person, even when GPS signals are weak or 100% blocked such as within hospitals, assisted living facilities, garages and shopping malls. WATCHIE works in 145 countries thanks to its integrated SIM-card. It is inexpensive, flexible and easy to configure and use. Features include panic button which transmits position data instantly, fall alert, programmable SafeZones that trigger an alert when the wearer strays outside defined areas, and comprehensive, user-friendly web-based control panel for management of multiple units.

Daniel Thommen, CEO of LOSTnFOUND says, “For complete self-confidence, a person needs freedom and self-determination – this is especially true of people suffering dementia. It is equally important that each person’s independence and self-confidence is prolonged as long as possible. This is exactly what WATCHIE helps to achieve”

Individuals suffering dementia are prone to wander away unintentionally, and in seconds can become confused and lost. This is a problem as caregivers cannot always be present to watch over them. Currently available monitoring systems are also questionable in their approach to the privacy. They also only function in designated areas, and do not work indoors.

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