Derry high-tech healthcare training facility opens

the Design Innovation Assisted Living Centre in derry
Image caption The centre's high tech simulated home features a range of ways tech can support independent living

A high-tech training facility has opened in Londonderry to help students understand how technology can help keep people out of care.

The Design Innovation Assisted Living Centre (DIAL) is based at the North West Regional College.

The college has said it is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland.

It showcases technology that offers new ways of promoting independent living and will be used to train healthcare students.

Image caption Bert the cyber pet has been designed to comfort patients with conditions such as dementia

"DIAL is a health innovation hub with a focus to promote collaboration, learning and innovation so that improved practice models and solutions are developed that will support independence and a quality of life for greater numbers of people to live well at home," the college's head of social care Geraldine Lavery said.

A retinal scanner, eye gaze tech, talking food cans and a cyber pet are among the features of the centre's modern home simulation.

The tech has been designed to improve the lives of people with conditions like dementia or mobility issues.

The centre provides a bespoke training facility to college students and offers advice and demonstrations for local healthcare clients, carers and businesses.

Ms Lavery said the centre will "cultivate the interest and talents of young people in adjacent curriculum and so build future generation capability benefitting industry and community",

The centre has been developed in conjunction with the Department for the Economy and Connected NI.