Home Automation and Home Health Care

In the movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer) kept a watchful eye on the crew.How Home Automation Can Change the Home Health Care Industry

By Spencer Blohm

In-home care is one of the biggest growth industries of the last twenty years. It makes sense; elderly folks don’t want to be chained down to a nursing home, and an in-home care aid gives them independence without sacrificing their health needs. However, in-home care aides and family members can’t always be with grandma and grandpa. That’s why home automation systems make sense for protecting the dignity of your loved one, while giving you, the caretaker, some room to run out and perform necessary chores. Here are some features to consider. Read More …

Helping Seniors Master Computers

Teaching Dad to use the PCHelping Seniors Master Computers is a guest article by James Owens with many added comments by the editor.

A Pew Internet survey shows that 53 percent of people over 65 are now online. Only a third of these adults actually use social media, with email being their preferred way to communicate.

EDITOR: The oldest age group in most market research, including the Pew survey, is 65+, but what about the “real” seniors 75+ or 85+? They are far less likely to use technology and will need more help getting started, according to this article by Laurie Orlov.

With some support, your senior friends and family members could be using their computers for a whole lot more. These suggestions will get you thinking of ways you can help them branch out with new computer skills: Read More …

Improving the Internet of Things

Click image to view TechRadar article.

Ahh, all those things on the Internet

Article summary and Modern Health Talk response about improving the Internet of Things (IoT).

I responded to a TechRadar article on The Internet of Things is nothing to fear, which explored the privacy fears when sensors sprinkled around our homes and communities monitor our every moves, and our health. The purpose of this article is to not to downplay those privacy fears but to share my perspective on the Smart House concept.

EXCERPTS:  Health is an area that is already embracing the IoT. The idea of the quantified self, measured by tracker gadgets like the FitBit or Nike Fuelband, is becoming commonplace, and as the tech gets smaller and more embeddable it will be possible to weave sensors into the fabric of clothing or footwear and into the realms of true health monitoring.

Google recently patented a smart contact lens – not as a future iteration of Google Glass but as a way of measuring glucose levels in tears. Anyone at risk of diabetic shock would be able to keep tabs on their sugar levels without having to stop and take a blood test, while an app on a smartphone or other personal computing device could make great use of that data to trigger medication alerts or prompt for medical review. … 

Packing our homes with sensors could give obvious, easy wins like mining temperature, room usage and weather data to fine-tune heating and ventilation. It could also offer a way to help care for the ageing population through projects like BeClose that look for changes in an elderly relative’s daily routine and sends alerts if anything seems amiss.

My Response Read More …

The role of Standards in Telehealth

Standards DilemmaNew market research on the convergence of telemedicine and mHealth suggests that “telemedicine now delivered on proprietary devices is becoming obsolete,” and I agree. I first wrote about the role of standards in telehealth two years ago in an article on Video Conferencing for Home Healthcare and have written several articles on the topic of standards since then, including The Smart Refrigerator & Smart Medical Device.

Platform Standards

Earlier this week I weighed in on a LinkedIn discussion of Tablets used in Video Telemedicine. It morphed into a discussion of HIPPA, so the comment I added applies just as much to HIPPA regulations as to the use of standards in telehealth. Read More …

Online Behavior That Makes Seniors Vulnerable

Anti-Virus SoftwareBy Diana Henderson

Today’s senior citizens didn’t grow up with the internet, but many of them are making it an important part of their daily lives. According to the Pew Research Center, over half of all Americans over 65 use the internet regularly, and a third of them use social media. These users have come late to the party, and are rarely as savvy about internet theft as those who grew up using the technology. Educating seniors about the dangers lurking on the internet will go a long way toward saving their financial safety. Read More …

WSU shares Smart Home technology with the world

smart home

By Tina Hilding, College of Engineering and Architecture

PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University researchers have received a National Science Foundation grant to share their “smart home in a box” technology with 60 institutions and scientists around the world in what will be the largest-ever installation of such home monitoring systems.

The collaborators will develop their own monitoring projects in a home or a lab and report back their results. With this data, the WSU researchers will be able to develop a system for using and sharing cutting-edge, smart environments data on a large scale. Read More …

What’s holding up the Internet of Things?

Internet of Things, showing the Cloud and connected devices and services

Brian Profit wrote a good article about technology embedded in ordinary objects and how they are being connected in ways the industry calls “The Internet of Things.” Since I introduced IBM to the connected home market in the early 1990s and ran a Digital Home consulting firm after retiring, I felt compelled to share my perspective in a comment to Brian’s article, which I include below.

The “smart home” concept has been stuck in the niche of DIY geeks and high-end new homes with professional installation for over 40 years, always just on the cusp of becoming a mainstream market. Brian touched on the issue of protocol compatibility, but why is that such an issue, and what other issues are there? Read More …

The Internet of Things: Prediction

The Internet of Things

Le Web Paris (see video) explores a future of technology that connects everyday devices all the time, often described as The Internet of Things.

This story and video from Reuters and the Huffington Post form the basis of my own observations and developer recommendations as a 30-year IBM technologist, futurist and Digital Home consultant. Included at the end are four interesting infographics from Cisco, Intel, Casaleggio Associati, and Beecham Research. Read More …

Sensor Network to Protect the Elderly

Marge Skubic

Marge Skubic developed a remote sensor network to monitor seniors’ activity and baseline health. Click image for credits and larger version

System monitors seniors’ health in the comfort of their own homes

By Marlene Cimons, National Science Foundation, December 6, 2012

Many elderly dread the prospect that chronic medical issues will force them to leave their homes for an assisted living facility or nursing home, making them dependent upon others for their care and personal needs. Sometime in the near future, however, new technology could help them remain in their homes longer, perhaps indefinitely, without having to give up their independence.

“Our goal is to keep people in their private homes for as long as possible,” says Marjorie Skubic, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Missouri. “The idea is to detect functional decline or early signs of illness, so we can identify problems when they are very small and proactively address them before they become catastrophic. That way, mom won’t have to leave her home.” Read More …

What’s new in Smart Home technology?

Smart HouseBy Alex Lane (original article: What is a Smart Home? Samsung’s NaviBot S can clean the low places)

The original Smart Home device has to be the Teasmade, and the textbooks say that a smart home is one that uses home networking technology and your internet connection to automate and simplify everyday living.

It’s the use of networking and broadband connections that takes smart home technology beyond simple home automation, where each device usually stands alone, with its own control system.

Smart home tech is a fast-growing field, from cleaning your house to opening the curtains and switching on the lights. There’s also a growing field of utility and power management, for your gas, water and electricity [and for home health care]. Surrounding them all are unified networking and control systems that can control and monitor all of your devices, not just one for each.

Read More …

How Tech Makes Life Better for Boomers, Seniors

Technology ‘Saved My Life’: Making Life Better for Boomers, Seniors

From improving fitness and aging in place to ending isolation and engaging
more easily with family and friends, technology solutions help baby boomers
and seniors successfully address many of the issues associated with aging.

Orlando Estrada

Orlando Estrada, 77, uses Microsoft HealthVault to manage his health information online at the St. Barnabas Senior Center in Los Angeles.

REDMOND, Wash. – July 9, 2012Milton Greidinger of New York and Concha Watson of Miami, Fla., were in their mid-80s when they first learned to use a personal computer. The experience dramatically changed both their lives, enabling them to reconnect to the world by pushing through the loneliness and isolation that had threatened to engulf them.

“It saved my life,” says Greidinger, a former buyer for Korvette’s department store, in assessing the Virtual Senior Center, a Microsoft public-private partnership that uses technology to link homebound seniors to activities at their local senior center and to provide better access to community services. “Before this project, I was bored to death. I was just waiting for my time to finish. Now, all of a sudden I’m wide awake. I’m alive again.”

Read More …

Will Healthcare Lead The Future of Smart Homes?

As a technologist, futurist, mHealth advocate, and past Home Systems consultant, I’m a fan of embedded technologies that make products smarter and easier to use, especially those that improve healthcare, but I side with “Smart Home” skeptics and add my own comments after this press release. – Wayne Caswell, mHealthTalk editor

The Future of Smart Systems

By 2020, experts think tech-enhanced homes, appliances, and utilities will spread, but many of the analysts believe we still won’t likely be living in the long-envisioned ‘Homes of the Future’

Imaging the Internet, a market research reportJune 29, 2012 — Hundreds of tech analysts foresee a future with “smart” devices and environments that make people’s lives more efficient.

But they also note that current evidence about the uptake of smart systems is that the costs and necessary infrastructure changes to make it all work are daunting. And they add that people find comfort in the familiar, simple, “dumb” systems to which they are accustomed.

Some 1,021 Internet experts, researchers, observers, and critics were asked about the “home of the future” in an online, opt-in survey. The result was a fairly even split between those who agreed that energy- and money-saving “smart systems” will be significantly closer to reality in people’s homes by 2020 and those who said such homes will still remain a marketing mirage. Read More …

Intel-GE Care Innovations, a critique

Care Innovations™ is a unique joint venture that brings together GE’s expertise in healthcare and Intel’s technology expertise 
— to help change the way health care is delivered.

I’ve worked with Intel before in the wireless standards area and have great respect for the company. And I also like their approach to market development, which often starts with ethnographic market research to understand the people who use technology products rather than starting with what’s technically possible. But in this case I question their design choices, because I think they ignored widely accepted standards and mainstream opportunities. Let me explain. Read More …

Caregivers and the “Smart” Homes of Tomorrow

This article features comments I posted on a James Holloway article about Smart Homes of Tomorrow, where automation is based on sensors and learned intelligence that encompasses any device providing automatic control of home functions. Systems most likely to be automated are: lights, thermostats & home appliances; television, video & music systems; security alarms &  monitoring systems; and home health care monitors, alarms & communication devices.

A conceptual smart home with 17 components, including automated pet feeder.

mHealthTalk Comment:

My perspectives aren’t too far from what Mr. Holloway wrote about. They came from introducing IBM to the Smart Home market in 1994, helping it launch IBM Home Director, and retiring in 1999 to start CAZITech, a Digital Home consulting firm.

Read More …

Wireless remote control of door locks

HAI control of Kwikset Zigbee door locksIt’s time for bed, but did you lock the door? You can see who’s at the front door on your smartphone with a video intercom, but can you unlock the door to let them in without getting out of bed, out of the comfy chair, or off of the sofa? Those two of many other scenarios where remote access to an electronic door lock would be convenient.

The cost and simplicity of installing remote door locks is coming down, but this project is still more expensive and costly than simple lighting controls. Still I post this article with a video and press release of HAI control of Kwikset ZigBee wireless door locks. Read More …

CES 2012 … in Pajamas

CESinPJs

Did you go to CES this year? What struck you as a highlight (comment below)?

If you didn’t get to go, CES 2012 in Pajamas gives you all of the insight with none of the hassle or expense. This 12-page virtual trip report combines a healthcare and consumer electronics perspective so you can:

  • Learn what the analysts and pundits said.
  • Know about key trends from different perspectives.
  • Discover cool products for digital health & wellness.
  • See the products in action with over 4.5 hours of video.
  • And discover who was missing and the significance.

Headings:

  • About CES
  • Getting the Most from this Report
  • General Media Coverage of CES
  • Is CES becoming Irrelevant?
  • It’s All about the Platform & Ecosystem
  • Smarter, Thinner Televisions
  • Smarter, Thinner PC & Tablets
  • Smartphones & mHealth
  • Healthy Games
  • Home Networking & Energy Management
  • Robots

Be part of the Future of Healthcare. Our in-home evaluation is a fun and education survey that helps medical researchers collect autonomous health information so they can find unexpected correlations and find new treatments. It’s part of the Next Frontier for Big Data.

A Consumer Electronics Christmas

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and wish you a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year in 2012. As for me, I can hardly imagine a better one, filled with family… and electronics.

Our son visited for 3 days with his pretty wife and our 7 month old granddaughter. What a treat. It ended too soon, and Yvonne and I miss them already. That helps explain our Electronics Christmas.

We’re like baby boomers split between keeping up with their adult kids and grandkids while also caring for elderly parents, but since our parents are long gone our attention is laser focused on our only son and his family. That’s why I’ve long wanted a good video conference system – to lessen the need for 4-hour trips to Dallas to see them.

Apple FaceTime Read More …

UPnP Forum wants TVs to make you Healthier

UPnP logoStaying Well Connected: UPnP Forum Targets Health and Fitness Networking

It’s True — TV Can Now Make You Healthier and May Lower Your Energy-Bills

BEAVERTON, OR–(Marketwire – Nov 15, 2011) – Leading global home networking standards group, UPnP Forum, has announced the formation of an E-Health and Sensors (EHS) Working Committee. The new body intends to address consumer-electronic (CE) industry opportunities in the areas of home personal health and wellness, as well as the increasing availability of sensor applications to monitor and control devices within the home.

Read More …

RX Integration

image of blood  pressure cuffThis article by Lee Distad is republished with permission from ResidentialSystems.com.

Finding Opportunities for Health Care Technology Integration

In the AV and automation channels there are categories that are widely adopted, such as AV distribution, as well as ones that are less so, such as energy management. At least at present, home health care is a category that is in the latter group. But a partnership between CEDIA and manufacturers of these technologies is seeking to make it both better known and a successful profit center for integrators.

CEDIA’s director of technology, Dave Pedigo, has been personally embedded in home health care research for the past year. As he puts it, “The elevator to get on and understand the category would be to take away the technology for a second and look at sheer numbers: there are 100 million in the U.S. alone who are reaching retirement age. At the same time there’s a serious shortage of doctors: as many as 150,000 fewer than needed according to the Wall Street Journal.”

Read More …

TeleHealth: The Doctor Will See You Now, Remotely

Basic Telehealth System, connecting patients, sensor devices, caregivers, and healthcare services

Derived from a paper by Iboun Taimiya Sylla, Texas Instruments

There’s a fairly new option for after-hours medical care that connects you with practitioners anytime, anywhere.  It’s called Telehealth or Telemedicine, and it’s offered by companies like American WellMyNowClinic, and OptumHealth.

Hospitals already use high-speed Internet connections to share medical information among specialists within the facility or in different locations. And they can even put a rural patient in front of a big city specialist miles away. But as Internet use permeates people’s everyday lives, health care professionals are able to connect with patients in real time over any distance without traveling or scheduling an office visit. Previously when you were sick, you had to go to the doctor. Now she can come to you, electronically 24/7. Some services also provide in-home visits by physician assistants to supplement telehealth.

“While having access to a doctor outside of normal office hours is a popular telehealth service, it isn’t the only one. Doctors can also Read More …