Engineering and dementia: Intelligent Assistive Technologies

Dementia currently affects approximately 800,000 people in the UK alone, a figure which is set to double by 2040 as our population ages and with it, a three-fold increase in healthcare costs.

In this report, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers explores the possibilities of using Intelligent Assistive Technologies as a practical and cost-effective means of providing care and supporting dementia suffers, by promoting both safety and wellbeing.

The Institution calls for the creation of a Dementia Technology Advisory Body to define and oversee the specification, development, and introduction of ethically sound, and effective technology. It is proposed that this body should be part of the UK Dementia Research Institute. It would include all dementia stakeholders and should work with the Medical and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency to develop an appropriate regulatory framework.

This Advisory Body would be responsible for:

  • The promotion of investment in healthcare infrastructure systems to ensure compatibility with Intelligent Assistive Technologies guaranteeing both social benefits and cost savings.
  • Ensuring that designers and engineers involve all stakeholders in the development of appropriate devices including patients, carers, providers (hospitals, care homes and communities), payers and regulators.
  • Investigating and clarifying the ethical dimensions of these devices and ensure that these issues are addressed at the early stages of product development.



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