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Germany's 'Lisa the Wonderwall' supports independent living

By: Caroline Mullin, intern, AARP Office of International Affairs

Publish Date: March  21,  2013

URL: http://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/short/article/30440/


Product name: “Living Independently in Südtirol (LISA)”

Use: Hidden wonderwall system to aid and monitor aging seniors living at home

Company: Human Ambient Technologies Lab/ Munich University of Technology (TUM)

Country/Region: Germany

Availability: Unveiled on February 20 at Munich Creative Business Week

Website: http://www.tum.de/en/homepage/

An innovative team of researchers at Germany’s Technische Universität München (TUM), along with partners from the business world, have designed an easy to install wall panel equipped with many special features to help make living at home a little easier for aging adults. The new system has been personified through its acronym “LISA” derived from its full name “Living Independently in Südtirol,” and comes to life equipped with a tablet computer which is mounted in the wall unit. With a simple tap of the tablet screen, users are provided with access to helpful resources like the weather forecast, bus arrival times, family contact information, and more.

This product really can do almost anything. The home of owners of this new product would be equipped with an indoor positioning system which has the capability to locate missing items throughout the house. This will help to prevent users from spending countless hours searching for their missing keys or a misplaced pair of reading glasses. Biosensors installed within the wall panel also allow seniors to monitor their vitals and “LISA” can prescribe them with advice on what to do based on their gathered vitals. Critical vital signs will alert the system prompting it to contact the appropriate people, whether it be a healthcare professional or emergency services personnel. “LISA” even allows doctors and caretakers to check in on the status of their patient by connecting to the system. The system even goes as far as to connect to features of the home like the heating and cooling system, so that if someone forgets to, for example, turn the air on and the temperature of the apartment is getting too warm, LISA will automatically trigger the air conditioning to come on and will regulate the temperature to an appropriate level. 

The original prototype for this product was designed to be installed in an entrance hall area of the home and resembles that of a wardrobe. The goal of the creators of this product is to give seniors the power to be independent in their own home for as long as time may allow. They have even designed “LISA” in a way that allows new functions to be added on as time requires, so as an aging adult has more needs they can easily add more functions to their “wonderwall”. Creators of this product are hoping to expand from just a wardrobe for the entrance hall, to wall panels that can be accessed in every room of the home. Currently, they are in the process of developing a prototype for wall panels in the kitchen. Ideas surrounding the prototype boast innovative features like monitoring the stovetop and height adjustable cupboards, to make navigating the kitchen a little easier for aging adults. There have even been talks to develop a robot which could assist seniors in carrying groceries or other items throughout the hallways.

This product offers useful features for in home seniors, who want to have independence within their home but also feel a sense of safety and security. There is potential for this product to change the way seniors live within their own homes and will provide aging adults and their families with some piece of mind knowing that they can always lean on “LISA” the wonderwall.