This interview was published on February, 13th.
Interview with Professor Philippe ROBERT, Professor of Psychiatry, Director of the University Host Institution, CobTek and coordinator of the Nice University Hospital Memory Resource and Research Centre (CMRR).
1) Professor Robert, can you tell us about your career and the activity of the CMRR?
The Memory Resource and Research Centre (CMRR) at Nice University Hospital is one of 27 CMRRs in France. Like every CMRR, it has several purposes, including treatment, education, coordination of networks and research as part of the diagnosis, monitoring and care of people with Alzheimer’s or another related disease. The Nice University Hospital CMRR is recognised for its expertise in the field of behavioural issues and drug-free treatments as well as in the development of databases and computing. This has led, as part of the 2008-2012 National Alzheimer Plan to its coordination of Measure 34 intended to develop a computerised record system in France, shared by all Memory Centres.
2) What is CoBTek? What are the objectives of this university team?
CobTek (Cognition Behaviour Technology) is a University Host Institution which aims to develop new information and communication technologies in the field of healthcare and particularly the areas of mental health and independence. Research focuses in particular on Alzheimer’s and related diseases, but also on the prevention of dependence and loss of autonomy, as much in the elderly as adults and even children. This team has been developed by the CMRR and INRIA’s STARS team managed by François BREMOND. It could be said that the CobTek team is the merger of fundamental and clinical research aspects focusing on new technologies. This association is a remarkable and essential first for our region.
3) What can digital technology contribute to the field of mental health?
Very simply, it can help in 2 key areas. Firstly, that of assessing behaviours, independence and cognition such as memory or language.
However, it is also of major interest in improving care, education and stimulation.
4) Can you tell us about a few of CoBTek’s projects?
We have two European FP7 projects, one called DEM@CARE which, with international partners, is trying to develop instruments that can be used to assess the patient equally well within a care facility or at home. The second European project is called VERVE and aims to develop Serious Games to stimulate patients demonstrating behavioural issues.
I would also like to mention the AZ@GAME project that was accepted at the first Ministry of Industry tender on technologies and innovation and which, also through Serious Games, tries to promote education and training for carers, whether professionals or family members.