Researchers track elderly’s every move
Researchers at the University of Alberta, in collaboration with IBM, have set up a high-tech condo where elderly people can live, watched by hundreds of sensors. Why? To understand the way the elderly work.
Elderly people have different needs, different abilities to move, and different behaviours. These differences, even though they have been around since the dawn of man, are not actually well understood.
In order to better understand the needs of the growing elderly population, the university has created this facility. It tracks every aspect of the elderly person’s life – from their heart rate to body weight to the use of doors, furniture, and appliances. It does this using an array of smart sensors attached to almost everything in the home. This allows the exact behaviours of elderly people to be tracked without intrusive cameras or microphones.
This behaviour is then mapped onto a virtual simulation, which students and researchers can then use for training.
The facility is also being used to test new devices. Already, the researchers have been able to improve a medication monitoring device by looking at how the elderly were actually using it.
The data collected by the program could be useful in helping to create and design new systems for aged care. But overall, it’s mainly about understanding just how the elderly actually work.