“Smart Home” Technologies for the Elderly Already in the Testing Phase
With life expectancy steadily increasing and the desire for independence stronger than ever in the Golden years, the risk of debilitating falls plus other household accidents as well as deteriorating health are very real. Researchers are already well on their way in the development of “smart home” technology to combat this, with the new Health Alert System currently being tested in elderly housing in the US.
Making use of motion sensors for activity monitoring, Kinect depth analysis, acoustic sensing for fall detection and a new hydraulic bed sensor to capture pulse respiration and restlessness, the pattern recognition algorithms being developed are able to look for changes in health patterns in order to generate automatic alerts to carers.
The usability and effectiveness of these new tools are currently being tested in the hopes of being the next step towards safer independent living for the elderly, with significant potential healthcare savings.
Once in place and proved effective, the system could lead to a whole new generation of cyber-physical systems, with many other diagnostic tools to produce an efficient early warning program for a variety of ailments.
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