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An alarm system suitable for pervasive healthcare in rural areas is presented. Taking advantage of ZigBee features, users can move freely around their habitual environment while enjoying constant protection. The resulting system is cost-effective, easily deployed (no wiring is needed) and the mobile device's batteries last for months. The user interface is a key issue when working with the elderly and those with disabilities. To ensure proper usability and avoid abandoning of the device, an alarm-detection procedure has been developed and contrasted with end-users. The application scenario is the isolated village of Fortanete, Spain, where the self- sustainability of the system is essential. In this environment, management of the alarm relies upon the user's relatives and neighbours to solve any problems that arise. Privacy and ethical considerations have also been addressed, as this kind of system can potentially invade the users' privacy; cognitive disabilities of the users also make it mandatory.
Date of Publication: February 2008