House monitors residents' health

Posted by Kate Taylor

It's a little on the bijou side - but a research team has created an energy-efficient dolls' house which can send alerts if its residents are ill.

And the University of Hertfordshire engineers say the system is now being installed in two real homes.

The InterHome can also learn from its residents, take action and text if it's being burgled or the door has been left unlocked.

The health monitoring relies on a device which can be strapped to a person’s wrist and is equipped with sensors to take readings of body temperature and pulse.

"We developed it further, with elderly people in mind, so that the house can send alerts if the person has a fall or a stroke," said senior lecturer Johann Siau. "This opens up a platform for us to add new types of technologies around assisted living."

The dolls' house prototype integrates embedded devices with home automation controllers, for security and energy efficiency. A touch screen control panel allows the house to be monitored and controlled using web browsers, smart phones and any SMS-capable mobile phone.

"The technology enables the system to learn rapidly when we need the lights on or whether we are at home or at work and how the house needs to be at certain times of the day," says Siau. "If we forget to lock the front door or turn off the lights, it can text us and our response can reprogram the system."

There's a clip of the house in action here.