SERDANG, AUGUST 8th – Four researchers from the Institute of Gerontology (IG), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) have developed a device called Alzheimer’s-Real Time Location System (A-RTLS) using low radio frequency to monitor the movement of Alzheimer patients.
The technology was developed over three years by Assoc. Prof. Sr. Dr. Abdul Rashid Mohamed Shariff, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ahmad Rodzi Mahmud, Dr. Zaiton Ahmad and a postgraduate student, Mohd Fadhil Abuhan.
Head researcher, Dr. Abdul Rashid explained that A-RTLS uses wireless technology to track a tag placed on the Alzheimer patient.
“Using radio frequency, and tracking devices placed at various locations in the care centre, the Alzheimer patient’s movements and location are monitored on a computer screen that displays a two-dimensional floor plan.
“Wearing the tag does not in any way hinder the routine movements of the patient as it is both small in size and lightweight.
“The technology lessens the burden of the caretakers at the center and allows for close monitoring, thus helping to improve the quality of life for both patients and their caretakers,” said Dr. Abdul Rashid at the Putra Cipta press conference here.
According to Dr. Abdul Rashid, the system device is divided into two parts: the hardware containing the tracking device (tag), a reader, a computer loaded with the engine tracking software, sever software as well as application software.
He added that A-RTLS is user-friendly, effective, time saving, safe and comes at a reasonable cost.
“The wireless long distance tracking system is effective within 100m indoor and 200m outdoor.
“The use of radio frequency at 5.8GHz is approved by the Health Ministry and is safe for the users. A big advantage of the A-RTLS is its ability to monitor several tagged patients at the same time,” said Dr Abdul Rashid.
According to the inventors, the A-RTLS is suitable for Alzheimer care centres as well as old folks’ homes and mental asylums around the country.
Meanwhile, IG Director, Dr. Tengku Aizan Hamid said the number of Alzheimer patients has escalated with the aging population in the country and will double in the next 18 years. According to her, this increase in the number of Alzheimer patients will lead to an increased demand for care centres.
The findings of Dr Abdul Rashid and his team were recognized when they walked away with a gold medal at the Malaysia Research, Invention and Innovation Expo (PRPI) held from July 17th – 19th this year.
News prepared by Muhamad Najkhan Mazlan, Tel: 03-8946 6011 and photo by Marina Ismail, 03-89468985
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