Smartwatches that monitor everyday activities and serve as memory joggers for the elderly could be available in the next three to five years.
Scientists at the University of Sussex have invented a new algorithm that enables smartwatches to detect and record the wearer’s every move, without being pre-programmed on what to look for.
The software learns about new behaviour patterns and identifies consecutive episodes of activity, the Lancashire Evening Post reports. This allows it to identify when a routine task, such as brushing teeth or hanging out the washing, has been left undone and provides a reminder.
Existing smartwatch technology is limited to detecting certain activities, such as walking, cycling, sitting and running, according to the i newspaper.
Dr Daniel Roggen, Head of the Sensor Research Technology Group at the University of Sussex, said: “Future smartwatches will be able to better analyse and understand our activities by automatically discovering when we engage in some new type of activity.
“This new method for activity discovery paints a far richer, more accurate, picture of daily human life.”
It’s thought the new generation of smartwatches could serve as memory reminders for older people with poorer memories or dementia. Other potential uses include analysing consumer behaviour, promoting healthy lifestyles, assisting in health care, or aiding rehabilitation after injury.
They could also be used to track the performance of factory workers.
“If you have a sequence of activities you’re supposed to do, it could remind you of the next step,” explained Dr Hristijan Gjoreski, from the University of Sussex, who is developing the watch.