Smart technology to help dementia sufferers goes on trial


London: As part of a project looking into helping dementia sufferers remain in their own homes for as long as possible, a flat within a Sheltered Housing Scheme in the UK town of Bristol has been converted into a prototype ‘Smart Home’ by APH Limited using KNX technology.

APH is a member of the KNX UK Association and was asked to tailor an intelligent design to suit the requirements of the occupant of the flat. KNX smart technology is employed to monitor the occupant’s activity and sounds a warning when it thinks there may be a problem. Special sensors have been fitted into the flat that can tell, for example, if the front door is being opened at night. In this particular flat, wireless light switches, motion detectors, speakers and a voice messaging system have been installed. Coercive messages pre-recorded by the occupant’s family are then played when appropriate.

The smart technology in the flat provides a front door sensor to detect if the door is opened at an inappropriate time. A pre-recorded message is activated and will advise the occupant not to leave the flat and to go back inside. If the door does not close, a message will be issued to the on-call warden via an interface to his monitoring system.

Motion detectors are positioned throughout the flat to monitor movement. If the lights are left switched on and no movement is detected after a given time, the lights will automatically be turned off. For example, if the occupant goes to the bathroom and then forgets to turn the lights off when they return to bed, after a set period of time with no movement detected the lights will be turned off automatically.

A smoke/heat Detector is activated if the cooker or hob is left on and food is found to be burning. In such an event a pre-recorded message will advise the occupant to return to the kitchen and switch it off. If no response is received, a message will be issued to the on-call warden via an interface to his monitoring system and the cooker’s electrical supply terminated. Only the warden can re-instate the supply when they are sure the occupant is safe.

The housing scheme and wardens involved say that this was an exciting development for them, and reports show that everything is running smoothly. They are confident that the assistive smart technology installed in the flat will improve the quality of life for the residents.

Full details of KNX technology and the vast range of KNX products available, which fully comply with EN 50090 the European Standard for Home and Building Electronic Systems are available from KNX UK, PO Box 4082, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG42 9EQ,
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