In an apartment in Cambridge, MA, sensors are located on many objects people touch and use, including cabinet doors, furniture, windows, and kitchen containers. Residents carry Pocket PC devices that use sensors to trigger and acquire information such as heart rate, physical movement, posture, or motion. This “wired” home is inhabited by volunteers who are being studied by researchers, who receive the audio, video, and still image data through the technology of Kramer switchers and distribution amplifiers. The Kramer 32 x 32 matrix switcher (3232VS), along with the 20 Kramer VM-30AVB distribution amplifiers routes video from cameras and microphones to 20 computers at the research hub. Data on the health, well-being, learning, communication, and care of our nation’s elderly are collected and reviewed at the 1,000-square-foot facility, PlaceLab.
The PlaceLab is a joint initiative of the MIT House_n consortium and TIAX LLC. Devised, in part, to explore architecture coupled with home systems for baby boomers now advancing in age, a goal is to create an environment that would encourage older people to live in their own homes as long as possible before moving to assisted living or nursing homes. “The apartment is an exciting facility designed to combine the capabilities of a highly instrumented research lab with the natural environment of the home,” said Dr. Stephen Intille, House_n Technology Director. “We believe that PlaceLab creates research opportunities that are not available in any other facility in the world.”