D1.1 Smart Bathroom

Principal Investigator

Brian Jones, MSEE, & Jon Sanford, M.Arch.


Sutanuka Bhattacharjya, MSOT, Ph.D.; Su Jin (Susan) Lee, MSOT, Ph.D.; Peter Presti MSCS


Ana Herrera; Shireen Khan; Kyle Murphy; Victor Perez, BSME; Shayar Shah


Bathroom assistive technologies, such as toilet safety frames and grab bars, can help people with long-term mobility disabilities safely accomplish tasks like toileting and bathing. However, these features are often fixed environmental supports that can’t be adjusted to accommodate individuals whose support needs vary over time or even fluctuate day-to-day. SmartBathroom is a state-of-the-art bathroom laboratory installed in the bathroom of the Georgia Tech Aware Home. It features mechanically adjustable toilet and grab bars 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 and fixtures. Building upon earlier TechSAge work, we continue to refine and test the SmartToilet, SmartFloor, and SmartGrabbar systems. We are also developing a prototype for a SmartBathing Transfer System to measure an individual’s ability to get in and out of the shower or bathtub. Ultimately, we hope to develop predictive algorithms that can be used to automatically adjust SmartBathroom features to meet the transfer support needs of individuals at any point in time. 

man instructs in front of a slide show screen


    Researcher talks to man in simulation smart bathroom laboratory  Man with cane walks into simulation smart bathroom laboratory

Project Status

SmartBathing Transfer System 

Recently, the team has been focused on completing the SmartBathing Transfer System to allow for studies related to transfer into and out of a bathtub, as well as a shower environment. The system includes an adjustable-height bathtub that can move into the ceiling to allow both tub and shower transfers. Custom-built, adjustable grab bars with sensing to detect weight applied to the bar and aspects of grip on the bars have been developed and installed to provide support fixtures during transfer. The team is currently pulling together the different electronic parts of the system so both the SmartToilet Transfer System and SmartBathing System can be run through the same control computer. The team is also developing a visualization of the new grab bars to help operators ensure the whole system is functioning properly when conducting trials. 

SmartToilet Transfer System  

Other team members, including Occupational Therapists (OTs), have been analyzing the data and video from trials with the 15 initial participants that produced over 570 toilet transfer trials using the first generation of the Smart Toilet Transfer system. From this analysis, the team has been considering more detailed scoring of performance during the different phases of toilet transfer, and what data is most useful to OTs, as well as how to best visualize that data so OTs can interpret it quickly. A survey was developed to get initial responses from other OTs and the team will be conducting interviews soon to get further details.   

Upcoming Studies 

Active recruitment for research participants should begin again soon as the team wraps up the SmartBathing Transfer System development. These studies will test the functionality of both toilet and bathing transfer systems. 

Select Publications

Sanford, J. A. The SmartBathroom: UD through integrating physical and digital worlds; in Caltenco, H., Hedvall, P.O., Larsson, A., Rassmus-Grohn, K. & Rydeman, B. (eds.). Universal Design 2014: Three Days of Creativity and Diversity. Assistive Technology Research Series, Amsterdam, NL: IOS Press (2014). 978-1-61499-403-9

Jones, B. D., Pandey, S., Presti, P., Taylor, R., Natarajan, P., Mahajan, S., Mahajan, H., & Sanford, J. A. (2017). SmartBathroom: Developing a smart environment to study bathroom transfers. In Rehabilitation Engineering Society of North America (RESNA) Annual Conference 2017. Available on RESNA.org

Project Alumni

Avi Basu (MS HCI), Harshal Mahajan, Ph.D., Russell (Rusty) Taylor


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