Utrecht-Taiwan partnership helps people live independent lives for longer


HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, Economic Board Utrecht, care innovator Vital Valley and the Municipality of Utrecht signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Taiwanese company SquareX on 27 May. The aim of this cooperation agreement is to enable people to live comfortable and independent lives at home for longer. Helianthe Kort’s Demand-Driven Care is participating on behalf of HU.

Helianthe Kort The partners involved will develop technology and services in order to enable people with care needs to continue to live independent lives at home for longer. The approach will combine existing methods with new and pioneering techniques. The solutions will enable people to do their own shopping, request help in the household or order transport easily, and link up with family, acquaintances or professionals by video. Security technology can also be applied using the same approach.


Integrated solutions in the home

Helianthe Kort’s Demand-Driven Care will make her research expertise and the CareTech Lab available for the project. “I already had a visit from SquareX in the CareTech Lab in March, and they were highly impressed by the opportunities we can offer”, explains Helianthe Kort. “They also gave a presentation on a ‘smart’ wall they have developed. It features integrated communication technology, making it easy to communicate with the outside world and vice-versa. Integrated home-based solutions of this kind are set to prove invaluable in the years ahead.”


Testing out ideas

SquareX develops numerous other types of care products. These include 3-D printed ear plugs that can be more effectively customized to suit the individual ear. “What role can all these different products play in enabling the elderly in the Netherlands to continue to live independently for longer? SquareX will be able to test out these ideas at the HU. If there are students available, they will be deployed to work on the products. The partnership will also involve exchanges between Dutch and Taiwanese students”, explains Kort.


Two thousand homes

The partnership with SquareX is a concrete step towards achieving the regional ambition of government authorities, care institutions and suppliers to provide care ICT that enables people to live healthy and safe independent lives at home for longer. The MoU sets a target of having 2,000 homes built in the Utrecht region fitted with integrated applications to enable the elderly to live independent lives for longer. The partnership is also a result of the ‘Soft Landing Bridge’: a letter of intent between the Municipality of Utrecht, the Southern Taiwan Regional Business Innovation Center and the Taiwan Globalization Network. This enables Taiwanese companies to access the Dutch and European market more easily via Utrecht.