Residents at TigerPlace, an innovative independent living community in Columbia, Missouri, are currently being monitored by a system called The Kinect. Based on motion-sensing technology which utilizes devices and science commonly used in video gaming and security systems, University of Missouri researchers have developed The Kinect to detect “the early onset of illness and fall risk in seniors,” according to this Medical News Today release.
Researchers hope the system will sustain independence for older adults and prevent a premature move to assisted living.
How does it work? The Kinect has a motion-sensing camera that keeps its digital eye on TigerPlace residents, assessing behavioral/routine changes that alert care providers about an increased fall risk or symptoms indicative of illness. For those who are concerned about the seemingly blatant invasion of privacy this monitoring represents, doctoral student Erik Stone explains, “The Kinect uses infrared light to create a depth image that produces data in the form of a silhouette, instead of a video or photograph.”
Doppler radar, typically associated with tracking weather patterns, is also integrated in The Kinect technology, creating “signature” images that essentially predict an impending fall (based on changes in bending, walking, and similar movements that typically precede a fall).
Studies and papers written on this exciting new technology have already won several awards. Learn more about aging-in-place technology here at SeniorsforLiving.com.