Testing Health-Alert Sensor Systems for Seniors Living Independently

With support from the National Science Foundation and a White House initiative called US Ignite, University of Missouri researchers are using next-generation, high-speed networks to remotely pinpoint subtle changes in an older person's everyday movements. Health-alert systems are being tested in senior housing in Columbia, MO and Cedar Falls, IA, using motion sensors for activity monitoring, webcam silhouette images and Kinect depth images for gait analysis, vision and acoustic sensing for fall detection, and a new hydraulic bed sensor that captures quantitative pulse, respiration, and restlessness. This research will impact the healthcare and quality of life for older adults. New approaches will assist health care providers to identify potential health problems early, offering a model for eldercare technology that keeps seniors independent while reducing health care costs.