Non-Intrusive Monitoring of High Functioning Elderly

Period of Performance: 09/15/2003 - 09/29/2004


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

RED Wing Technologies, Inc.
1191 Northland DriveSuite 100
Mendota Heights, MN 55120
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Technological developments aimed at extending the ability of the elderly to live independently often target those people with a disability, chronic condition, or other reason requiring help with their care. A critical gap in current research, specifically addressed by this STTR program, is assistance technology for the population of persons over 65 years of age who are high-functioning and generally healthy, but are growing increasingly frail as they age and susceptible to an accident or illness becoming a disabling medical incident and eliminating their ability to live independently. Those living alone are at the most risk because their illness or injury may go unnoticed for a considerable length of time, turning a minor incident into a serious one. While this population could benefit from monitoring, its members are likely to be intolerant of intrusive monitoring because there is no clear medical need for it and the costs of a "just-in-case" home monitoring systems often outweigh the perceived benefits. To address these issues, this research observes that, in many cases, a concerned neighbor is often the first person to notice a problem simply by observing, in a non-intrusive manner, a large variation in a person's routine (e.g., lights not on when they should be) and taking appropriate action. This effort explores the hypothesis that a low-cost, non-intrusive home monitoring system can provide actionable information on the welfare of a home's occupant, i.e., an 'Electronic Concerned Neighbor'. The innovation that enables this are intelligent decision algorithms that can take simple sensor inputs and learn a person's routine, adapt to changes, detect significant variations, and take appropriate action (e.g., alert a care provider).