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An engineer uses IoT to tackle illness

Patrick Thibodeau | Aug. 9, 2016
Knowledge of interface design, sensors and access to off-the-shelf tech like Amazon’s IOT buttons is used to help a family.

The development work includes designing different types of Android tablets for different users. For some, removing all of the tablet buttons may be best, and sending out alerts when it is disconnected from a power source another. Expanding the sensors to work with other off-the-shelf systems, such as the Leeo sensor that listens for smoke or carbon monoxide alarms and sends out alerts, is on tap. The software will also have to adjust to a user's capabilities.

The Amazon buttons are a "huge game changer" in developing a way for users to signal alerts, said Strabley, who is also working on ways to use the buttons to indicate happiness or distress.

The IOT devices open a lot of possibilities, but some static as well, said Strabley.

"It's such an emerging technology that everyone is going to be throwing IOT stuff at you" such as giving your toaster the ability to talk to your phone, said Strabley. "But how much of that actually helps people at the end of the day?"

IOT use in healthcare is seen as one of the its largest applications. In June, the U.S. government asked people to contribute ideas about the future of IOT. Among those responding was Booz Allen Hamilton, a management consulting firm, which pointed to the growing need for technology to help older people people.

The consulting firm noted that "by 2040, about 21% of the population, or more than 50 million people, will be 65 and older." Many will want to continue living at home. "But studies show that older people living alone experience higher levels of disease and disability, as well as higher health and social risks. IoT solutions can help empower older adults to thrive in their own homes, improving their quality of life and decreasing the cost of long-term care."


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