Smart Home Care and Sustainable Technology
My initial idea for my final desertation came from looking at different technologies and how they are being used. In particular I was looking at the Internet of things and a device known as IOBridge. This was the idea of always being connected and having multiple devices connected to one controlling source.
This project which I was looking at, was designed and build my students from the US. They used the IOBridge to control an air canon controlled by a web app on an iPhone.
I wanted to see how this technology could be used in the home, smart home technology for something more worth while. The image below is of some brainstrming which I was doing to try and get some ideas that were in my head out onto paper.
From this I started to refine my idea a little more. At this stage I had looked at Smart Home as a whole but then started to break it down into different areas. Cohabitating, Sustainable and home care. This formed a nice triangle. The areas which work better for me are Home Care and Sustainable technology.
By bringing in such technology to homes, it will allow patients to look after their own needs without having to visit their local health Centre’s. This will free up waiting room queues and doctors resources (Mattke et al 2010).
Elderly people and people with disabilities find it difficult to meet their everyday needs at home, either socially or technically (Martin et al 2009). Professionals in the fields of healthcare look at ways in which to improve these areas of the homes and areas affected in the lives of the patients. Everyday devices are now being customized and used to augment the lives of the elderly in their homes. For example mobile phones are used and tailored for the people at home. Sensors are placed in different areas of the home, for example in the fridge so to allow the healthcare professionals monitor when certain events happen. They can also be used to monitor when medication is taken for example (Martin et al 2009).
One area of concern associated with smart technology in the home is privacy. (Chan et al 2009) talk about how smart technology is a non-obtrusive way to help improve the lives of the elderly and disabled. This allows for greater independence for the users. A concern with privacy is that the users can and are being monitored constantly depending on the technology being used. This can seem intrusive for the user. This reason can be a reason why elderly people may not want to go ahead with smart home care technology (Mattke et al 2010).
An interesting area for me to explore more would be the area of occupational and physical therapy, and how smart home care technology could be implemented to improve everyday tasks for the elderly and recently disabled and help them return to independent living.
(Evan et al 2011) looked at a system where by pre-recorded messages and prompts were used to help support elderly people suffering from dementia. These prompts were used to remind a particular lady who took part in their smart home study. The prompts were used to inform her about the time when she woke early in the morning. If the cooker was left on, she received a message to ask her to check the cooker and that there might be a problem that she would need to address. Staff at the Centre where she was living would also be alerted when the front door to her apartment was opened. This was important as she suffered from dementia, she was living in a strange place, she could easily forget where she currently and not be able to find her way back home.
A nice touch to this was the fact that her daughter recorded the recorded messages. This ensured that messages were familiar to her and also clear that they were recorded messages, as her daughter lived in a different city. An important conclusion to the study carried out by (Evan et al 2011) was that it’s not enough to just turn this technology on and tailor the user to the technology but simply the other way around. In a case like this when data is being collected by sensors, recording the movement of the occupant, cooking patterns and sleeping patterns, the data needs to be relevant. It needs to supply the heath care professional and the family with the relevant information needed in order for them to supply the occupant with further care and possibly improvements to the smart home care technology.
To get a full appreciation for this idea and area, I plan to reasearch the area furither over the next few months. I would like to plan some qualitative research in a few areas including that of home care to see how patients currently interact with their homes.
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