The 2006 tour of the Aware Home includes projects focused on technologies designed:
- to assist seniors as they age in place
- to support communication and coordination tasks of formal and informal caregivers
- to simplify the management of the home and its myriad of activities
- to provide much needed assistance for individuals at risk and the busy family members who care for them
Some of the projects featured on the Aware Home tour maybe found in the 2006 Project Descriptions.
Many of us want to keep in touch with family members who live
far away from us. This need can turn to concern for elderly family
members who live by themselves. Projects such as the “Digital
Family Portrait” and “Dude’s
Magic Box” seek to improve social communication between
extended family members.
Everyday life is full of short, medium and long term memory issues.
In the case of daily household tasks such as cooking, short and
medium term lapses can be a significant distraction. Iirrevocable
memory lapses can occur, such as “Did I add the baking powder
to the brownies?” Or, “Where did I put that bill?”
Projects such as the “Cook’s
Collage” and “Finding Lost Objects” are
researching how to assist users in resuming interrupted activities.
In the case of long term memories we are looking at ways of enhancing
people’s ability to capture, archive and the then access
memories of everyday life. Projects such as the “Living
Memory Box” and the “Family Video Archive” are
developing techniques for the semi-automated tagging of context
with multi-media memory artifacts.
Remote controls, with tiny buttons, complex interfaces, and an
uncanny ability to get lost in the couch are part of everyday
life. Imagine instead controlling your home appliances with a
wave of your hand. Several projects are addressing the area of
devices in everyday life. The “Gesture
Pendant” recognizes, and then translates gestures into
commands for your home appliances. Our “Context-Aware Universal
Remote” helps people to control multiple devices throughout
the house via one remote device. The research into Blood Glucose
Monitor devices seeks to provide accurate and timely assistance
to those performing self-testing in the home.
A principle component of an aware environment is knowing where
the people are located. We integrate a variety of technologies
throughout the home space, which range from relatively simple
and robust low-resolution strategies, such as RFID, to more sophisticated
and higher resolution, state-of-the-art computer vision solutions.
While it is possible to engineer sensing systems to detect specific
events (e.g. a fall), we are developing activity recognition methods
to monitor the general activities of the occupants. This awareness
includes low-level tasks such as reading a newspaper or watching
TV, and higher-level tasks such as preparing a meal, or using
a blood glucose monitor.
Other technology projects:
• Multi-Camera Eye/Head Tracking
• Fusion of audio and video sensors
• Open-air microphone speaker identification
• Automated separation of sound sources
Large-scale projective displays
• Controlling multiple distributed displays.
It is a challenge to simplify how the information gleaned from
a variety of sensors is made available to application developers
– the who, what, where, when and how of everyday life. We
are developing and refining the “Context Toolkit”
to support rapid prototyping of home applications that leverage
knowledge sensed from the environment.
Many of the services being designed for the Aware Home involve
retrieving recordings or images from past activities. We are developing
generic support (INfrastructure for Capture and Access, or INCA)
to assist in building applications that involve capturing live
experiences and making them available for later access.
Other software construction projects:
• Secure storage for managing personal information
• Stampede: space-time memory abstraction for interactive
• Impact of Industry standards (e.g. uPnP) on aware environment
Sensing devices deliver enhanced services by collecting raw data
about people and transforming that data into high level information
about human activity. Working from legal precedence, we are assessing
privacy concerns raised by the collection of the data, the information
produced, and the dissemination of that information to other people
in other times and places.