November 23, 2012
RFID Tags To Track Elderly At Home

Australian computer scientists in Adelaide are electronically tagging and tracking movement of common household objects as a way to track what elderly people are doing. A computer system can track which objects are getting used and how those objects are moving around to flag developing health problems in the elderly.

University of Adelaide computer scientists are leading a project to develop novel sensor systems to help older people keep living independently and safely in their own homes.

The researchers are adapting radio-frequency identification (RFID) and sensor technologies to automatically identify and monitor human activity; to be able to determine if an individual's normal routine is being maintained so that timely assistance can be provided if it is needed.

A lot of elderly people live alone. So if they get into trouble (e.g. fall down unconscious or with an injury that prevents them from moving) there's noone there to detect that they need help. If the environment in their households can be automatically monitored for signs of sudden onset of an acute health problem then helpers can be sent to check on them. Or video cameras could be activated to see if they are alright or they could get a phone call.

No need for a person to wear electronic monitoring sensors if the house is one big sensor.

"We are trying to solve this by developing a system using a network of sensors attached to objects that the person is interacting with in the home; using software to interpret the collected data to tell us what someone is doing."

Home medical monitoring can and will go far beyond what RFID tags can accomplish. Imagine an electronic monitoring system built into your bed that monitors the gases in your breath, tracks your breathing and pulse, and studies your movements in bed. It could detect problems like sleep apnea or nervous disorders and diagnose a chronic illness in its early stages/

Once microfluidic devices become cheap enough and powerful enough we'll also have medical testing instrumentation build into our toilets and sinks. Our bodily fluids will be tested every time we use the bathroom and results uploaded to a medical diagnostics server. Those who want even more detailed continuous testing will wear medical instruments that can test the body all day and night.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2012 November 23 10:40 PM 

philw1776 said at November 24, 2012 7:42 PM:

As long as the RFID technology is not used by the government to target drones at recalcitrant geezers critical of the administration, I'm good with it.

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