From smart phone apps to a smart bathroom laboratory, TechSAge development projects are engineering technology-powered solutions to support the health, participation, and safety of people aging with disabilities. 

D1 Smart and Connected Homes

man using smart bathroom.

D1.1 Smart Bathroom

SmartBathroom is a state-of-the-art bathroom laboratory designed to explore how features like grab bars, toilets, and tubs can be adjusted to support individuals aging with disability, whose support needs can change over time. The bathroom features mechanically adjustable fixtures and an array of sensors that can measure walking performance (speed, balance, stability), location of feet and hands, and forces applied to the bathroom surfaces. 

thermostat app on an iPhone.

D1.2 Tools for Connected Home Technologies

Connected home technologies, such as smart thermostats, lightbulbs, and door locks, have great potential to support independent activity performance among people aging with disabilities. We are developing and testing a series of tools to help target users select, install, use, and adapt connected home technology systems for their specific needs and environments.

D2 Monitoring and Managing Falls

man transferring from shower.

Falls are a leading cause of injury in older adults, and older adults with mobility disabilities are at even greater risk. We are working to develop a system that will accurately detect falls from wheelchairs or scooters and automatically alert caregivers or emergency professionals who can respond to help. 

D3 Mobile and Voice-Activated Applications

male wheelchair user on an app.

Silver Skill-IT Mobile and Voice-Activated App Factory

The App Factory supports the development of new mobile and voice-activated applications to support people aging with disability. Design competitions and hackathons are held to identify innovative, universally designed, concepts with potential for commercialization.

feet resting on wheelchair supports.

D3.1 Steady Wheels

Seated postural control, or the ability to maintain stability with one’s center of mass while seated, is essential for wheelchair users to safely perform activities of daily living. Steady Wheels is examining the validity of a more accessible measure of seated postural control outside of the lab and clinic setting – using smart phone.

a hand holding a phone showing the M.S. assistant app

D3.2 MS Assistant

MS Assistant is a health and wellness self-management app that assists individuals aging with MS. The app is designed to be an educational platform, providing the latest research, health tips, and MS-related information. Moreover, the app provides valuable social support by enabling users to interact with other people with MS throughout the world.

female using a walker.

D3.3 Gait Speed App

Walking speed (or gait speed) is an important measure of functional ability and is predictive of a variety of health outcomes for older adults. However, measuring gait speed has not been adopted broadly in routine clinical practice. We developed a series of tools to measure gait over a short distance, including a wall-mount system and a portable smart phone app.

D4 Digital Assistants to Support Health and Independence

from left to right: two females looking at computer screen with Amazon Echo on desk, door handle

We are developing and testing a series of voice-activated skills for Amazon Alexa designed to support people aging with mobility disabilities at home. These skills integrate Alexa’s voice command capabilities with a variety of smart home technologies, from robotic vacuums to smart lightbulbs. 

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