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New digital demonstration centre to test housing concept

17 June 2016

Leading-edge technology will be put to the test in Inverness today (Friday 17 June) for use in futuristic purpose built homes for people with assisted living needs.

The virtual-reality session is made possible by facilities at the new digital demonstration centre, #hellodigital, set up by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) with support from Digital Scotland.

The Fit Home concept is the brainchild of two entrepreneurs, Matt Stevenson of Carbon Dynamics and Lucy Fraser of Albyn Housing Society Ltd.

The pair came up with the concept after Highlands and Island Enterprise (HIE) sponsored them to attend the Entrepreneurial Development Programme at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston.

The aim is to use technology and remote monitoring by social care agencies to create highly adaptable homes that can support people to live independently in their homes for longer.

The two companies have now teamed up with NHS Highland in a unique partnership to test a virtual reality model of the concept using HIE’s new digital demonstration centre, #hellodigital, at Inverness Campus.

Around a hundred stakeholders including patients, care specialists and public service providers are expected to take part in the event. These real-life experts will put on a VR headset, experience the home, and give feedback on the design. This ‘co-design process’ will help refine the design with a view to creating around 50 new technology enabled homes in the next five years. This is where the ‘virtual reality experience’ pays dividends.

Gillian Galloway, head of innovation at HIE, said: “We are delighted to be hosting this event at #hellodigital. Innovating is what many Highlands and Islands businesses do best and this is a perfect example of that. We set up #hellodigital for precisely this type work, showcasing technology and connectivity. Remote healthcare provision is fundamental to our region. There are many research and development projects underway to improve care for health conditions, particularly strokes and diabetes. This new approach could transform the lives of people with assisted living needs, particularly those in the more rural parts of the region, and we certainly look forward to seeing the idea taking shape.”


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