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Eldertech research develops new in-home monitoring technology

November 1, 2012

Computer and electrical engineering professor Marge Skubic’s eldertech research has explored new technology in sensors and other devices that provide in-home monitoring, while preserving privacy for potentially at-risk elderly patients. As the country’s population advances in age, but prefers to keep living independently, there is a growing need for these kinds of technologies. The eldertech group has introduced a number of novel sensors and devices using Microsoft Kinect technology to capture depth images and measure pulse, respiration and restlessness. The advantages of the new eldertech developments contribute towards One Health/One Medicine. 

Story by School of Engineering News

Speaking at a Washington, D.C. event to unveil the White House’s US Ignite initiative, National Science Foundation Director Subra Suresh spoke with pride of the agency’s legacy of providing funds for fundamental research and its many positive outcomes. Among lauded projects was MU computer and electrical engineering Professor Marge Skubic’s eldertech work.

Since 2005, Skubic’s research program has explored the use of a variety of sensors and other devices that provide unobtrusive monitoring for in-home and healthcare facility use. The technologies that have been developed are intended to detect changes in occupant behavior that might indicate health problems. There is an ever-increasing need for these technologies as the country’s population advances in age, but prefers to continue living independently.

Many of Skubic’s innovations have been devised in collaboration with Marilyn Rantz, a curator’s professor in MU’s Sinclair School of Nursing. The pair identified human behaviors that can be used to predict changes in residents’ well being, and then Skubic and an interdisciplinary team — which includes a cadre of MU faculty members and student research assistants — developed sensors and systems that will collect residents’ activity data and build a profile of their normal day-to-day movements and responses. Changes in behavior queue professionals monitoring the data when an intervention may be warranted. More…