Smart Home Project records movement, behavior

Yet to researchers at Washington State University, the 30 or so gadgets on the ceilings and walls are perhaps the future to helping the aging live safely and independently in their homes as long as possible. The technology that can keep tabs on mental and physical well being could also ease the job of caregivers (often adult children who are still working and raising families), perhaps boosting their mental health and decreasing burnout.

This is critically important as the population ages and more people want to remain at home, avoiding nursing homes and other care facilities. By 2030, 1 in 5 Americans will be age 65 or older and have an average life expectancy of 81 years.

The in-home sensors used by WSU researchers detect movement made by residents doing the complex daily tasks of living – bathing, cooking, eating, sleeping, dressing – and relay information to computers that tracks patterns. Some sensors detect if a door opens, others are temperature sensors and some detect vibrations, such as when a pill dispenser is picked up.

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