Robotics, sensors, artificial intelligence and other digital technologies will help support an ageing population into the future and a new research centre aims to find out just how these new technologies fit into the ageing process. Federation University is a partner in the new Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Training Centre in Optimal Ageing which will focus on research and training around the main themes of enhancing cognition, promoting independence, and sustaining connectedness by developing and implementing digital, robotics and sensor-based technologies to enrich the lives of older Australians. "Population ageing is a significant social phenomenon we are going through ... and really this centre is about how a lot of the innovations happening in digital health and artificial can be applied to assist people to age well," said Federation University's Professor Colette Browning. The centre will train the next generation of PhD students and post-graduate researchers as digital health scientists, with knowledge and practical experience in ageing, bioinformatics, data analytics, digital health commercialisation and working with the older people who will use their systems. It also works with industry partners including the City of Ballarat. While Monash University will lead the centre, Federation's involvement ensures ageing populations in regional communities are also at the forefront of new research. "Even now we don't have the health or aged care workforce really to manage a lot of these issues around ageing population and it's been suggested digital health solutions might be part of the answer," Professor Browning said. She said the centre would address themes including how technology can promote independence through better design in the home and community, and how the digital environment can help with social connectedness. That could also include boosting the digital literacy of older people, keeping them engaged in workplaces and other settings as mentors and increasing interactions - which is particularly important in rural and regional areas where people are likely to be more physically isolated. The centre will also study the use of data capture and AI, how it might predict health and behaviours, and how experts might step in to help improve the health of individuals and the wider population. "We need to adopt a more well-rounded view of what it means to 'age' and how we support people who enter the later phases of their lives," said centre director Associate Professor Yen Ying Lim from Monash University. "With better research on emerging technologies like robotics, supporting improved digital literacy for healthcare workers and their clients, and better adoption of digital health delivery systems, we can ensure that older Australians feel less isolated and are an active part of our communities for longer periods of time."