CCF2: Independent Living
(duration: 01/06/2009 - 01/07/2010 - funding: Pieken in de Delta)
The Independent Living project investigates ways of using technology to help elderly people remain independent for longer, so they can live without needing constant care or supervision. This very general aim is expressed in three different focal points: safety, social cohesion and health monitoring.
Using wireless sensor networks (WSN), seniors can be monitored accurately and unobtrusively, compared to, for instance, using surveillance cameras. Ultimately, the system should be capable of registering accidents, and sending help when needed.
The project aims to develop a service platform which will not only track the seniors, but also offers them applications to improve social interaction. It should for instance be possible to show residents which events are being organized, which of their friends are attending, or how many people are already in the venue. Seniors should be offered easy communication methods, so they can maintain and improve their social network.
An important aspect of the project is taking user demands into account. Throughout the project, user experiences will be monitored: do test subjects find the system intrusive and are they willing to use it and/or capable of doing so? To this purpose, a WSN with a user interface to monitor movements shall be installed in an Orbis elderly home.
Within the Independent Living project, Almende focuses on developing the wireless sensor network, which will be able to track individuals within a building. Also, Almende helps develop algorithms to interpret the gathered data and a user interface to make the system accessible to the participants.
In April and May, a 150-node sensor network was installed in an Orbis elderly home in Sittard, The Netherlands, with 15 volunteers carrying mobile nodes. A MyriaNed network was used for gathering data in the environment. Two kinds of data are gathered: packet reception ratios for use in a tracking algorithm, and data from accelerometers worn by the participating elders. The data that is gathered is put into a database by 5 sniffer nodes, spread over different floors of the building.
The location of the mobile nodes is determined using the packet reception ratios. The system then uses this data to determine where the participating elders spend their time: in their own house, in community rooms, outside, or somewhere else. This information can then be used to stimulate social behaviour.
Sense Tech blog (by Freek van Polen)