The potential doubling in the percentage of the elderly within the populations of Europe and beyond over the next decades has focused informatics research on the development Assistive Technologies and Smart Homes. However its concentration on creating a supportive home environment also has the potential for makings its users over dependent on its facilities and as a result trapped within it.
This paper outlines an approach that extends the smart homes concept out into the wider community to create a smart environment that not only maintains contact with all their home-based services, but also expands these to include other facilities needed to assist them whilst on the move.
This involves the convergence of physiological monitoring, communications and computing with leading-edge textile technologies, which uses a multi-layered, multi-functional clothing system as a mobile and extended variant of a smart home IP hub. In addition to variable functionality capabilities of the clothing layers in terms of thermal, shock-absorbent and other characteristics, wireless IP connectivity is provided between layers with external links typically being WiFi enabled. Health optimisation is provided by on-going lifestyle guidance/action feedback based on auto-diagnostic analysis.
Manning, Bryan, McCann, J., Benton, Stephen, Bougourd, J., Medical and Care Compunetics 5, 2008, 257-262