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 …

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 …

Moore’s Law and The FUTURE of Healthcare

By Wayne Caswell, Founder of Modern Health Talk
Which Future

This article examines a future driven by Moore’s Law and the trend of circuits and components getting smaller, faster and cheaper exponentially over time and the eventual blending of science and technology (INFO + BIO + NANO + NEURO). I approach this topic from the unique perspective of an IBM technologist, market strategist, futurist, and consumer advocate. See About the Author and About Modern Health, below, to better understand what shaped this view of the future. You can also see my slide presentation and related articles & infographics at the bottom.

Which Future?

Futurists regularly consider alternative scenarios and examine factors that can steer the future in one direction or another. That way, clients can select a preferred version of the future and know what they might do to make that future happen.

It’s relatively easy to extrapolate past trends, assuming that nothing prevents those trends from continuing at the same rate, but will they? One can also look at what’s possible by tracking research lab activity and then estimating how long it will take to bring those new technologies to market.

But a potentially better approach is to start with a solid understanding of market NEEDS and what drives the development of solutions for them, or factors that inhibit solutions. Changes in politics and public policy, for example, can be a huge driver, with Obamacare as an example, or a huge inhibitor. That’s why I’m so interested in various healthcare reforms that accompany tech innovation. 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 …

Brianna’s Smart House

I just returned from CES 2013, the big consumer electronics show, where I learned about the latest in health & wellness technologies and home automation products that can serve seniors and the disabled and support aging in place, when I saw this story on KCBD News Channel 11. They’ve been following the story of Brianna Graves, an active little girl who was diagnosed at age 9 with Gorham’s Disease, also known as “Vanishing Bone Disease.” Instead of focusing on what Brianna cannot do anymore, this story looks at what she can do from now on.

It’s a heart warming story of how technology and universal design concepts can make life easier – in this case for a young girl with some severe physical limitations.

Brianna controls her environment by moving her lip, as a computer monitors the movement. But just imagine what she’ll soon be able to do with the brain sensing technologies that I saw at CES. I’m excited about the pace of tech innovation and the positive impact on medicine, health care, and wellness. And I’d like to hear your stories of how technology has helped you or a loved one.

Related Articles

Comments for this article are closed, but I can still add related articles if you send me an email referencing this page and include a link to the related article I should add.

Dr. Oz on Technology in Medicine

While many doctors naturally disagree, Dr. Oz believes the future of medicine will depend more on technology than doctors. “I see the car, which is right now one of the most unused spaces in our lives, becoming a mobile examination suite for you,” says the heart surgeon, turned talk show host. “It can weigh you and tell how stressed you are by how you grip the steering wheel, the sweat on your fingers, and heart rate variability.” (1:29 VIDEO, below)

As a technologist watching this space and reporting on health & wellness innovations at CES, I concur with Dr. Oz and have explored the effect of technology, automation and healthcare robots and on jobs. That’s why I was attracted by this CBS 60 Minutes segment on The March of the Machines and how automation is likely to effect the job market, including positions in medicine. 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 …

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 …

Healthcare Robots – Eldercare in the Hands of Machines

Robots and other assistive technology may be inevitable in aged care moving into the future, but can they replace the human touch? Annie May reports. Reprinted from Aged Care INsite, Apr/May 2011, and expanded greatly since.

Matilda the robot can read emotions

Click image to watch video: “Matilda the robot can read emotions”

Standing at just 40cm tall and looking suspiciously like the latest toy their grandchildren have been dropping hints about for their upcoming birthdays, Matilda the robot doesn’t give the impression that she has much to offer in the way of care for the elderly.

So when placed in front of an aged care resident to talk about her diet, the resident doesn’t have high expectations. But on admitting to having a love of sweets, Matilda is quick to inform her about all the negative health impacts this indulgence can have. Becoming slightly anxious, – whether a result of being lectured by a bright orange robot or at the thought of having to cut back on her sweets – the resident is then shocked at being reassured by the robot.

How can it be that this baby-face robot can read emotions and give a sensitive response? The result of a breakthrough by Melbourne and Japanese scientists, Matilda is one of two robots, the other her brother Jack, which has been developed with ’emotional intelligent’ software.

Read More …

Friends from Beyond, and your Digital Will

Friends from Beyond is shown as an Internet cloud hosting email, social media and other websites.

By Wayne Caswell, retired IBM technologist, market strategist, and founder of Modern Health Talk

Friends from Beyond explores the role of social media and digital assets after death, and the need to think about this ahead of time, even creating a digital will to say who acts as executor and who takes ownership of the accounts, which ones get deleted, as well as if any should be preserved for perpetuity.

The article extends the thinking of last week’s post, The Legacy of a Digital Generation, which asked, What will be your legacy?

Will future generations remember you, what you did, and what you valued? Where will they go to reflect on your life? Will it be a grave site, a virtual memorial setup as a perpetual website, or your social media accounts? 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 …

National Demonstration Home for Universal Design, Part 1

Rosemarie Rossetti

Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D. (used with permission)

Thirteen years after a freak accident left her paralyzed, Rosemarie found a new mission in life: sharing what she has learned about Universal Design. She founded Universal Design Living Laboratory and is building a national demonstration home that will be opened to the public this fall. I’ll be writing a series of articles about her project and start with this, her story.

About The Demonstration Home Project

My Story

By Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D.

On June 13, 1998 my husband, Mark Leder, and I decided to celebrate our anniversary by going on a bicycle ride. It was a beautiful day with a clear blue sky, perfect biking weather. I was riding down the path ahead of Mark, when he heard a loud crack and yelled, “Look over there something is falling!” I glanced back at him and suddenly a 3 1/2 ton tree came crushing down on me, leaving me injured on the bike path. My life was changed in that instant! I was paralyzed from the waist down with a spinal cord injury.

Read More …

Home Renovations that can Save the Estate

Jack and Jill, a Mother Goose nursery rhyme

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.

Up Jack got, and home did trot,
As fast as he could caper,
To old Dame Dob, who patched his nob
With vinegar and brown paper.

Jack and Jill were in their late 60s and had been married for 37 years when Jack suffered a severe stroke and required care beyond the abilities of his partner. He was sent to an assisted-living facility, and the family home was sold to pay for his care.

Jill ended up finding a new place to live, now alone without her lifelong mate, and being separated affected the couple’s morale. Worse is that it affected both their health and their finances. Life savings were depleted before Medicaid kicked in, and the grown children now had two places to visit to support their declining parents.

It didn’t have to be that way with this second scenario.

Just as in the nursery rhyme, Jack goes home and gets better quicker in those familiar and loving surroundings, where Jane hires professionals to help care for him. That decision lets the couple stay together, and the kids have just one place to visit.

Even though renovating a home for wheelchair accessibility can cost $50,000, it can be financially better than the alternative, and the project can be entirely funded with home equity. That way they don’t even have to touch their retirement money. You see, Jack and Jill are like most American seniors, 86% of whom would rather continue living at home for as long as possible, and are willing to seek help to do that.

Read More …

How is Technology Affecting the Way we Live at Home?

From roofers to plumbers and lawyers to dentists, eLocal.com helps consumers find businesses in their local neighborhood.

How is Technology Affecting the Way we Live at Home?

This question from eLocal.com was asked of several expert home remodelers, and I found the responses insightful and thought provoking. Here are some of the comments that caught my attention [edited]. Pay particular attention to the last comment.

BillRiggs@RiggsConstruction says:

Home technology is becoming much more cost-effective for middle class households. Years ago, systems like home automation were reserved for high-end renovations and home construction. With recent innovations such as smart phones and the iPad, wireless devices can be tied into lower cost automation systems for a similar level of control. In the past few years as energy prices have risen, we have seen many homeowners wanting to regulate their lighting and HVAC with automation, cutting their emissions and monthly bill.

Moving into the future, I expect technology to continue becoming more accessible to “everyday people.” Also, I expect to see growth in the systems used to monitor energy usage, as well as systems used to monitor older adults aging in place, especially as baby boomers retire.

Read More …

10 Hot Home Automation Trends

Crestron’s UFO-like touchscreen remote

Crestron’s UFO-like touchscreen remote

10 Hot Home Automation Trends

The latest buzz when it comes to managing and controlling your home.

by Lisa Montgomery, from Electronic House, November 11, 2010

Home automation, or home control as it’s also called, is constantly changing. And like most technologies, it improves with age. It gets smarter, less expensive and easier to use each year. We’d be remiss not to mention some of the improvements and enhancements destined to hit the marketplace—and your home—in the very near future. From 1 to 10, in no particular order, here are the hot topics.

Read More …