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Usability, Durability, Error-Proofing: How to Make an Elderly-Friendly Smart Home

Ease of Use-Sustainability-Error-Proofing-How-To-Do-an-Elderly-Friendly-Smart-Home

In line with an estimate through the USA Census Bureau, about 49 million voters American citizens are over 65 – that's 15.2% of the inhabitants. We’ve got discovered that older other folks undertake virtual applied sciences, however that they infrequently come across explicit difficulties with units or interfaces. How can IoT lend a hand older men and women, whilst being simple to make use of?

Prolonging Impartial Residing

One of the crucial socially necessary packages of IoT is the care of the aged. Units lend a hand to extend the impartial residing of other folks with well being issues, equivalent to listening to or coordination issues, who don’t but want 24-hour care. Additionally they lend a hand to observe well being signs and to verify the protection of the aged.

Why is it necessary to satisfy the precise wishes of older other folks?

There are no less than two causes for this.

The primary is financial: the collection of customers on this class will increase. In line with a find out about of the Inter-Institutional Discussion board on Growing old Statistics, through 2050, the collection of other folks over 65 in the USA will reach 88 million, or 22.1% Inhabitants.

The American Well being Insurance coverage Plans (AHIP) predicts that through 2020 about 12 million seniors will want long-term care.

Many households cannot find the money for to deal with their aged folks. The City Institute estimates that the fee of service and support for people over 65 is about $ 140,000

A smart home can replace a nurse and save time before to have to resort to clinic. Gadgets can remind seniors to take their medications, monitor their health and respond to emergencies. They reduce the need for medical services to the point where health indicators are anomalous.

The second reason is social: the interfaces developed for the elderly are also appreciated by the majority of young users. This is explored by Jeff Johnson and Kate Finn, authors of "Designing User Interfaces for an Aging Population."

Many people of different ages may have problems with vision, hearing, mobility or memory. There are also people with a low level of literacy or technical skills. Taking into account the specific needs of older people in the development of IoT can also enhance the user experience for other groups of people

What attributes make a gadget suitable for the elderly?

Many people over 65 years of age have poorer cognitive function, vision and hearing problems, as well as fine motor skills.

A study by Jeff Johnson and Kate Finn showed that older people spend more time learning to use devices and applications. hit targets on the screen, and make more chaotic movements.

Devices and applications in a smart home should take into account all these particular challenges.

Different Meanings

Some users may have vision problems, while others may not hear well. This is why sensors must have visual and audio indicators. Users should have the ability to give voice commands instead of pressing buttons. Another thing to keep in mind is that some older people have quieter voices, so devices should also be able to recognize indistinct speech.

A system adapted to the needs of the elderly should have voice control. Maximum Simplicity of Interface and Design

Large fonts and contrasting colors are essential. Only one screen should have as few elements as possible. All icons used in applications and physical devices should be easy to recognize: a light bulb = lighting, a pill = medication

The interface elements, such as links, menus and buttons, should be easily recognizable from the text and graphics. The clickable elements must be of substantially different color.

A finger is much bigger than a slider. To ensure accuracy greater than 90%, the active elements on the touch screen must have at least 1.65 cm diagonal

All anomalies on the graphics and all warning signals must be highlighted bright colors, preferably red. associated with danger.

3. A single control center

Seniors may have difficulty managing a large number of consoles and buttons; they may become confused or scared if something goes wrong. All systems should be managed from one place. Navigating the menus from the main screen of the application or the touch screen should be as simple as possible, and the system should respond to standard voice commands.

4. Protection against errors

All interfaces must be protected against errors. However, it is best to avoid the word "error" in the error messages. If an interaction fails, young people tend to think that it is a bad usability, but older people can blame themselves for being clumsy. They may then get angry and stop interacting with the device.

5. Good tactility

Buttons should be easy to spot and identify by touch. Icons must be convex to the touch. It is important that the buttons are easy to squeeze because some users may suffer from arthritis.

6. Protection against false calls

Even with a slight touch, the devices can make false calls to 911 and send false alarm signals. Especially if the alarm buttons and the different control systems are presented in the form of keychains carried in the pockets. An excellent alternative would be devices worn on the body, such as watches, bracelets and pendants. And, of course, applications.

It is better to produce devices of different shapes and designs, so that older users can choose the ones they like and which fit their lifestyle.

7. Sustainability

Many people over the age of 65 do not dare to learn to use devices, because they are afraid to break them. Instruments should be able to withstand active exploration and accidental falls.

8. Long-term operation

It is desirable that the devices have a long life of the battery. Gadgets must inform people in advance that they need to be recharged or that the battery needs to be replaced, so that the parents of the elderly have time to solve the problem.

9. Visibility of Results

Information collected by sensors, such as blood pressure level, should be organized into easy-to-read charts and easy to find and open recommendations.

10. Multilingual Support

37.5 million US citizens speak Spanish, 2.9 million speak Chinese, 1.3 million speak French and 1.1 million speak Korean. The authors of "Designing Training and Education Programs for the Elderly" say that the elderly population of the United States is becoming more ethnically diverse. Many older people do not speak English as their first language. These people will not be able to use the app if it does not support their native language.

A group of smart tests should include older people and a range of people with different health problems, such as low mobility or mild dementia. With their comments and concerns in mind, devices and applications can be made practical and easy to use for any user. It is the ideal to reach.

What types of devices do seniors need?

The gadgets needed in a smart home for the elderly can be roughly categorized into four groups. Here are the basics:

1. Health Surveillance

  • Heart-worn sensors used to monitor heart rate, respiration rate, temperature, and pressure. In case of anomaly, sensors send messages to relatives and doctors. The data is sent to the smartphone and the cloud, and the app gives recommendations on lifestyle changes, or advises the user to consult a doctor.
  • Fall sensors and behavior sensors. 50% of people over 65 can not get up if they fall. Lying on the floor without being able to get up for a long time can cause a lot of complications, and can lead to dehydration and even death. The sensor transmits a signal to the control center of the smart home that activates the alarm. After that, a person has 30 seconds to turn off the sound. If they are not able to do so, the information will be sent to the parents and the rescue service, and the family can open the door remotely.
  • Behavior sensors can track whether a person has got up and out of bed, and if they have opened the fridge. They can even detect changes in the market and report such changes to family members, helping to prevent a fall.
  • Pill dispensers with compartments for each day of the week. Compartments begin to flash and emit alarms when it is time to take medication. If the drug is not taken, the distributor calls its owner. The device sends a signal whenever the compartment is open so that loved ones can remotely check if their grandparents are taking their pills.

2. Security at home and outside

  • GPS Trackers with an alarm button. An elderly person can press the button if she is lost or scared. The gadget will inform loved ones with a link to the location of the GPS Tracker on the map online.
  • Window and door sensors. Open / close sensors report if a door or window is not closed properly.
  • Alarm and video surveillance systems. Cameras can also be placed inside the house, allowing relatives to remotely monitor their elderly. Outdoor cameras detect suspicious activity and the smart home signals any potential danger.
  • The bells of people with hearing loss. They show who is behind the door and transmit voice messages if the owner can not open the door.
  • Smoke, gas and moisture detectors. These devices warn homeowners of smoke, floods or gas leaks. In case of need, they can block water and gas and cut electricity in the house.

Ordering of Household Appliances and Appliances

  • Control systems for lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning. With sensors collecting data on temperature, humidity and carbon monoxide concentration in the air, the system can automatically improve these parameters.
  • Control systems for electrical apparatus. A control system can help, for example, to make coffee in a coffee machine or to turn off the iron (the on / off status of appliances is displayed in the application). Intelligent pet care robots. The robots can be controlled remotely: they can feed the animals and give them water, talk to them in the voice of their owner, play with the help of a laser pointer.

4. Recreation and entertainment

  • Audio and video systems. Can be used to turn on music and video in different rooms.
  • Robotic assistants. Such devices can lead conversations, make purchases, pick up a recipe, and so on.
  • Smart photo frames. Standard digital photo frames can display the same photos for months because some people forget to upload new photos. Smart frames can be controlled remotely. Children and grandchildren can share their travel photos with their elders by sending photos directly to the camera from their smart phone

Written by Evgeniy Ilyenko, Project Manager at CLAP sensible house device

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