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Trinity College Dublin

Previous Research Projects

Ait Eile
Ait Eile (Another World) is a virtual community for children in hospital. Ait Eile allows children in hospital to communicate with other children via a video link, email and live chat. It also provides activities for entertainment and education. Of the approximate 250,000 children treated in hospital in Ireland each year, 100,000 involve an overnight stay or longer. Many of these admissions are unplanned and unexpected, and many involve repeat stays. Children with medical conditions can have difficulty coping with the challenges of managing pain, adhering to treatment and sometimes undergoing invasive diagnostic and treatment procedures. The use of multimedia technologies to support children and adolescents in hospital offer potential for helping children to cope with some of these challenges, through communication (sharing of experiences), entertainment and educational resources which distract the children from their condition. Primarily based in hospital schools Ait Eile has been live since May 2002 and currently linking fourteen sites nationwide
The overall objective of the programme is to develop innovative ICT solutions to support the healthcare professional in delivering care to the patient, improving overall efficiency and cost-effectiveness and ultimately the quality of patient care. We are developing an open and generic system which will provide integrated access on the desktop to all the information and knowledge necessary to treat the patient in the most appropriate manner. The technologies which need to be integrated include the Electronic Healthcare Record which contains the patient data, validated modelling and simulation tools for the appropriate domain, case-based reasoning, clinical guidelines/protocol systems, workflow and general decision support techniques.
Each year thousands of seriously ill children worldwide have to spend several weeks or even months in protective isolation with no physical interaction with the outside and limited contact with family and friends. They must contend not only with the trauma and physical pain of their condition but a myriad of psycho-social challenges which impact on their ability to cope socially, emotionally, and often physically. The related disruption of school and social activities during treatment and recovery are also particularly difficult for these children. This project aims to reduce their sense of isolation and empower children through communication, creative activities and entertainment. Solas brings together work carried out at Media Lab Europe (MLE) on ambient media design and human connectedness with work on the development of a virtual community for children in hospital developed at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and with research on the psycho-social effects of hospitalisation on children at the Children's Research Centre in TCD.
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