With the advent of inexpensive web-connected sensors and devices, linked together as the internet of things (IoT), it has now become feasible to create low-cost monitoring and control solutions for different applications. Social Sensing is a not-for-profit organisation in the UK, set up to leverage the IoT to help support elderly and vulnerable populations.
The first application developed by Social Sensing is @home, a home-monitoring service for people living on their own. It uses an internet-connected sensor located in the kitchen of somebody living alone to monitor whether that person is adhering to their daily routines (such as getting up in the morning to make breakfast) and can inform their family or caregivers in the case of anomalies.
Although Social Sensing is focused initially on supporting elderly people who live alone, the organisation anticipates creating other applications that use the IoT to provide community support to those in need.
Image credit: Urban Combing / Flickr
Populations in many parts of the world, especially the US, Europe, and Japan, are ageing. As this trend continues, new resources will needed to provide care and support independent living. Social Sensing demonstrates the potential of a practical and low-cost use of emerging technology to meet this need.