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This Young Scientist project is almost ready for this week's competition

Alzheimer’s Alert aims to help track the movement of people with the disease.

SS10 Source: TheJournal.ie via Skype

LAST WEEK WE spoke to a group of students from Limerick as they put together a device that could help patients with Alzheimer’s disease – and now it’s almost ready to go.

Lauren McMahon, Hazel Corbett and Orla Mullane, all first year students from Desmond College in Limerick, are entering their invention into the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, which takes place next week in Dublin.

They have created called Alzheimer’s Alert, a gel insert that can slip into a sock and sets off an alarm when it’s pressed.

SS30 Source: TheJournal.ie via Skype

Their aim is to assist anyone caring for a patient with Alzheimer’s: If they stood up in the middle of the night or another time when they weren’t under direct observation, the device would be activated, alerting the carer to their movement.

When we spoke to the students last week, their issues were around user friendliness and size.

They have since managed to reduce the size of the gel insert to a very slim strip that would stick to the bottom of the sock, and the transmitter now fits comfortably in the top of a sock. They had to reduce its sensitivity so that it would not constantly be set off.

“We’ve made the device a bit smaller so it’s more comfortable,” Orla Mullane said, “The SIM card wouldn’t work so we changed it to another one, the buzzer would just go off randomly but that’s stopped now as well.”

The box that receives the signal, and contains an alarm as well as the ability to send an alert to a phone, also has a light to indicate that it’s functioning and receiving a signal from the device. A problem with this box transmitting the alert was solved by switching networks.

SS20 Source: TheJournal.ie via Skype

Hazel Corbett explained that all that remains is to put together their display for their exhibit next week, which will stand among other projects at the exhibition in the RDS.

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Nicky Ryan

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