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Feel the Warmth, an innovative powered kidney warmer for elderly and disabled people, has entered its next phase of development to turn the device into a “smart belt”.

The powered kidney warmer helps individuals keep at a safe, warm temperature whilst at home and out and about. It has a number of health benefits such as effective pain relief, joint stiffness reduction, increased range of motion and enhanced white cell function.

Feel the Warmth is currently available as a regular belt, which keeps the wearer warm from a USB powerbank, delivering intrinsically safe and controllable heat.

For its next stage of development, the belt looks to incorporate ‘smart’ technology, which will use 5G technology for long-range communication when out of the home and in the local community.

The smart system is currently being worked on in conjunction with Napier University.

Incorporating GPS technology for location services, the smart belt will provide additional helpful services, such as a panic button that when pressed will notify Next of Kin or care staff that the wearer is in distress. The GPS technology will then relay the wearer’s coordinates to the carer so that the individual can be located quickly.

The technology is independent of a mobile phone and would work within a number of miles from the individual’s home or residence.

Additionally, temperature control enhancements will be implemented which will sense the individual’s body temperature as well as the surrounding ambient temperature. These sensors will be able to automatically adjust the heat output of the smart belt.

The GPS technology and temperature sensors in the smart belt could prove particularly helpful for people with dementia, with Feel the Warmth describing the device as a “fit and forget” product.

For example, if a dementia patient got lost on the way to the shops, the inbuilt GPS system could report the location once every few minutes to provide a constant update of their location but could also provide an immediate alert if they were to wander out of a predesigned area or route. This would give peace of mind to the wearer and to the carer looking after them.

The smart belt is expected to be available within the next 12 months.