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Researchers Seek to Assist the Elderly

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Washington State University professors Maureen Schmitter-Edgecombe and Diane Cook have created a smart home laboratory to assess how technology can help senior citizens continue to live independently. The laboratory is an apartment equipped with motion sensors that detect activities and how often residents are able to perform daily tasks without forgetting what needs to be done. "A lot of people want to stay in their homes," says Schmitter-Edgecombe. "With the aging of America, we're probably not going to have the resources to support all of these people in nursing homes."

The laboratory uses motion sensors and pressure detectors to monitor how well and how frequently residents perform simple tasks such as cooking, sweeping, and turning off appliances. "What we're focusing on is trying to look at people performing daily activities and assessing and looking at how they perform those activities to assess their memory performance," Cook says.

The researchers hope to eventually bring the smart home laboratory's technology into the homes of elderly people. "What I'm interested in doing is trying to find ways for people to better maintain their independence," says Schmitter-Edgecombe. "If we're successful, it could have significant benefits if this technology could keep people in their homes."

From The Daily Evergreen (WA)
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