DAEJEON, Jan. 24 (Korea Bizwire) – An increasing number of technology patents that might help guarantee health and safety improvements for single-person elderly households are being introduced.
According to the Korea Intellectual Property Office, the average annual number of such patents in the past five years (2012 – 2016) was 153, more than twice the number for the previous five (2007 – 2011) at 72.
These technologies include emergency safety maintenance, monitoring the health and the residence of the elderly and notifying guardians in case of urgent situations; telemedicine, allowing remote medical consultations for health check-ups and diagnosis; and disappearance prevention for Alzheimer’s patients by alerting guardians when they stray from a certain perimeter.
Emergency safety maintenance was the most popular of the patents in the past five years, accounting for 56 percent, or 425, of all patents. It was followed by telemedicine (17 percent, 132), and disappearance prevention (16 percent, 125).
The first type of technology, in particular, has made significant progress over the years, said KIPO officials, integrated with the latest IoT and wearable technologies.
One of the most popular ways of monitoring elderly individuals living alone had been remotely reading electricity meters to keep an eye on any abnormal activities. However, by using wearable devices, the analysis of various health signals such as body temperature, heartbeat, and blood sugar levels was made possible, allowing emergency response units or guardians to better monitor health in real-time.
Officials point to Korea’s rapidly aging society and the fast-growing elderly-friendly industry as the main reasons for the popularity of related patents. The industry’s value is expected to grow to 73 trillion won ($62.8 billion) by 2020 from 27 trillion won in 2012.
“The industry will continue its growth with other countries also experiencing population aging,” said a KIPO official. “In order to lead the market, it is important that businesses develop differentiated products and services, and acquire the necessary patents.”
By Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)