Healthcare Technology Featured Article

September 03, 2014

Sensara and GreenPeak Announce Senior Tracking System

Sensara, a company specializing in the development of intelligent home monitoring solutions, and semiconductor systems provider GreenPeak have collaborated on a family lifestyle solution that monitors the activities of seniors in order to alert family members of potential issues. The system, which is also called Sensara, relies on small wireless sensors that communicate with a linked smartphone or tablet app belonging to a family member, in this case known as an “informal caregiver.”

The Sensara app acts essentially as a social media environment, except the updates come from the sensors, not other people. Sensara detects problems by learning normal activity patterns of the person and tracking long-term changes, dubbed trends, of which there are six to choose from. These trends are:

  • Food: regularity of meals and amount of food consumed at each meal
  • Going Outside: time spent going out or not, which the company says represents being “socially and physically active and capable of being in the world”
  • Walking Speed: gradually decreasing speed may be indicative of health problems and/or an impending fall
  • Sleep: amount (compared to expected patterns) and quality (whether it is interrupted)
  • General Activity: levels of mobility in general; low or nonexistent mobility may signal an issue
  • Visiting the Bathroom: frequency (low or high) compared to expected patterns

Notifications about these six different lifestyle aspects are constantly updated in the associated app, and privacy options are fully customizable; the user is utterly in charge of which behaviors to monitor and which not to. In addition there are alerts for highly suspicious activity such as a senior staying in bed much longer than normal, not returning home or remaining motionless for an abnormally long period of time.

The sensors are placed around the senior’s home in inconspicuous locations. Installation on average is said to take about thirty minutes and consists only of sticking each sensor in an appropriate place and connecting them to a central Internet router. Battery life is rated for up to five years before necessitating replacement.

Sensara is the result of an exhausting 14 years of research and development. Currently available only for preorder, it will become available to Western Europe and China in the final quarter of 2014.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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