Academic accolade beckons for life-changing research

10 September 2018
Image: Herald and Times.

One of our researchers is up for an academic Oscar following his work to develop a tracking device for people with dementia. 

Dr Sinan Sinanovic has been shortlisted for a Times Higher Education Technical Innovation of the Year Award, to be hosted in London on November 29. The awards celebrate the achievements of universities and their contribution to society. 

The tracking device developed by Sinan and his team, who are based in the School of Engineering and Built Environment, is believed to be the first of its kind and could allow people with dementia to live independently for longer and give families peace of mind.

It is one of the first devices which does not rely on GPS tracking, which can be unreliable and does not work indoors.

The device contains a receiver which picks up signals from LED lighting which then conveys the location information to a nearby computer so that movements can be monitored remotely.

Local authorities and other organisations across the UK are already moving towards installing energy efficient LED-based lighting.

It is predicted that the number of people aged over 65 in the UK will have nearly doubled to around 19 million by 2050.

Associated with this challenge is the increasing prevalence of dementia.

A prototype has been developed which could also be used in care homes, hospitals and private homes.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Professor Valerie Webster, said: “I’m delighted Sinan has been recognised for this work. It highlights how our world-leading and internationally excellent research addresses societal challenges. This, in turn, enhances GCU’s student experience and nurtures knowledge and creativity.”

Sinan said: “It's an honour to be nominated for this award and I am happy this project has received recognition.”

He is working with Dr Roberto Ramirez-Iniguez (GCU), Dr Wasiu Popoola (University of Edinburgh) and Dr Lynne Baillie (Heriot-Watt University) on the project, which has been funded by the Digital Health and Care Institute.