Global Innovation


Smart Condo

Publish Date: January  01,  2012

URL: en/pressrelease/35947.wss

Researchers from the University of Alberta and Edmonton’s Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital have been collaborating with the help of IBM on a project aimed at studying the habits of the independent living elderly. The ‘Smart Condo’ project enlisted the help of elderly patients, who lived in technologically advanced apartments and where monitored by hundreds of sensors. This project has been undertaken with the hopes of helping seniors live independent longer by better understanding their living habits and using technology to overcome any issues that may arise in the daily lives of many in the elderly community.

Utilizing IBM WebSphere® sensors, researchers were able to compile data from a variety of aspects including patients’ heart rate and body weight as well as how many times door switches, light switches, and appliances were used. Furthermore, the software was also able to determine if a patient has taken their required medications. In addition, the researchers learned that it was very important for the sensors to track the food intake of the patients and also determined that they would need to develop sensors to track when wheelchairs or walkers are in use. Using the results from a patient’s data, the researchers were able to create virtual avatars of each patient, which would mirror the activities of the actual patients in virtual apartments, so that providers can better monitor their time at home.

IBM hopes that the research done at this facility will be beneficial in further work concerning the needs of the elderly who wish to remain at home. This goal could be realized with the WebSphere® sensors aiding families and health care providers monitor their patients and ensure that they maintaining healthy life habits and can track any changes in health. One researcher also noted that the use of a virtual avatar was extremely helpful in monitoring the health and well-being of the patients. The use of avatars allows doctors to go beyond raw statistics, such as heart rate, and gain better insight on their patients’ health and can make better recommendations to their patients so that they can live a more independent life.

A permanent “Smart Condo” facility is currently under construction at the University of Alberta.

For more information, visit: en/pressrelease/35947.wss