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Smart Technology for Aging in Place
Key to a person being able to stay in their own home is their ability to keep themselves healthy and safe. Washington State University has been doing research into how a smart home can help with that. The devices are not meant to take the place of a caregiver, but to ease the burden of caregiving.
A robot called Robot Activity Support (RAS) can help with daily activities like taking medication. It is connected with sensors around the home as well as it’s own sensors. Still in the testing stage, it is helping with a single task or a series of tasks done in a specific order. For instance, reminding the homeowner to walk the dog. This would require a series of steps: pick up umbrella or leash, keys and the dog, as well as open and shut the door. If any of the steps were missed the RAS can remind them, or even bring the item they forgot.
Not the speediest of technology yet, when tested with young people they thought it did not move fast enough. But when tested with older adults, they appreciated the robots current speed.
Sensors can also be placed on ovens to make sure they are safely turned off. They can help with visual cues for when doorbells or phones ring. And the technology is self learning, so it will learn activity sequences a person does on a daily basis and will catch a misstep or break in the usual routine.