Entries with tag home automation.

Robotic Companion Designed to Help Seniors

A customizable robotic assistant is being designed by European researchers to help provide those older people still living independently with assistance. The robot, which is being designed under the umbrella of the MOBISERV project, is a semi-humanoid figure on wheels that can remind seniors of important tasks, such as taking medications or encouraging them to have a drink of water or visit friends. The wheeled companion is equipped with cameras, sensors, audio and a touch screen interface and is part of a suite of smart-home technologies for seniors, which includes health-monitoring smart clothing  and emergency alert systems. The researchers say the robot will not replace professional home-care providers, but is designed to provide assistance for those family members who are caring for a senior parent. Europe’s senior population is expected to double by 2060. Just as important as monitoring a senior’s safety, say researchers, is supporting their cognitive health and social well-being through reminders to undertake activities such as calling a friend or going for a walk. Prototype testing was conducted in the Netherlands and United Kingdom. The project was led by Smart Homes, the Dutch Expertise Centre on Home Automation and Smart Living, and included scientists from various research institutes, universities, and technology companies in seven European countries. They say the robot now costs about EUR 10,000, but the price should drop to EUR 5,000 within a couple of years, which is when the technology may be commercially available. The researchers are seeking funding for improvements to the robot that could also enable them to undertake large-scale trials of the technology. (SlashDot)(CORDIS)
 

Microsoft Debuts Lab of Things

The Lab of Things is a new framework from Microsoft that  lets researchers  access data from connected devices around the world then share that data with others. It works with the company’s HomeOS software, which runs on a dedicated computer and enables researchers to monitor sensors or hardware/devices in the home. The data collected is stored on Windows Azure and can be accessed by other researchers. Microsoft is reportedly promoting HomeOS and the Lab of Things for researchers interested in topics such as healthcare, energy management, and home automation. The site states researchers from the United States, United Kingdom, and Pakistan are now using The Lab of Things for current projects. (Engadget)(CNET)(Microsoft Lab of Things) 

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