Kammerdiner’s own research seeks to integrate inputs from multiple sensors worn on the body to identify different risky situations as they unfold and before a fall happens. “The sooner we detect a possible loss of balance and the better we are at characterizing or predicting the type of balance loss that is experienced, the more useful this knowledge would be for averting a potentially life-changing fall,” she explains.
Wearables and other sensors can act as a caretaker’s eyes and ears to observe what is going on in an older individual’s home at any time, but it’s what is done with this information that can make the data particularly valuable. For instance, AI could discern the precise moment when help is needed and intervene by calling for help. Someday, household robots could even help with tasks and help prevent falls and other accidents.
“Cognitive assistance is another big application of IoT technologies,” Kammerdiner adds. “Aging as well as medication can affect memory, reaction time, and overall cognitive capacity. The IoT can become a virtual ‘helpful roommate or caregiver’ for elderly people living alone in their homes. (Cognitive-assistance tech) could possibly detect mood or detect potential risk or notice a change in a behavior with sensors and use actuators to engage devices or robots, doing something as simple as turning on a light to help you see or a favorite song to change your mood or as life-saving as calling for help.”
“Our communities and homes were not often built with the needs of older adults in mind, so we need to work to overcome that and plan for the future.” – Rodney Harrell, AARP Public Policy Institute