Wearable technology is great, but you don’t always need a wearable device to achieve a desired outcome. For example, consider the problem of monitoring the daily activities of an elderly person living independently in their own home. A caregiver or responsible family member might want to track the time of day when the person gets out of or goes to bed. They may want to know when the person eats meals throughout the day, or track changes such as how long it takes them to get from one place to another, or how much time they spend in a given location.
There are wearable devices that address this need, but this raises new problems. How can you make sure that the person will wear the device? Will they be able to keep it recharged reliably? This is an application where an alternative approach might do the job better. Last week, GreenPeak Technologies announced a partnership with the Dutch company Sensara to create the Senior Lifestyle System. The system relies on GreenPeak’s low-power ZigBee wireless sensors. These devices are designed to send small amounts of data to a hub connected to an Internet router, and their power consumption is so low that their batteries should last about five years before they need to be replaced. The Lifestyle System tracks events and learns the normal routines of the person. It can then report this information to a smartphone, as well as send out alerts in the event of events that are out of the ordinary range. It does not rely on cameras, and the sensors can be placed discretely anywhere in the home without the need for any wiring or complex installation.
This is a Health Tech solution that does not involved a wearable device, yet it should help bring peace of mind to caregivers and family members of older relatives who are living on their own. According to the Sensara website, the system is expected to ship in Europe and China later this year.