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Communications of the ACM


Sensors For Seniors

Giraff communications platform

A woman interacts with a family member via the Giraff two-way communications platform.

Credit: Niclas Albinsson / Giraff Technologies AB

Just a few short years ago, it was extremely challenging for caregivers, friends, and relatives to check in on an elderly loved one without making a phone call or visiting them. Worse, the only dedicated technology products designed to help seniors were panic-button alert systems, which were usually only activated after something bad had occurred, such as a fall.

Technology is now being deployed that helps elderly people maintain their independence, while also providing peace of mind to loved ones who want to check in with them in a non-intrusive manner. Several companies have developed systems that use data fed from sensors located in the home to track seniors' activity patterns, which can then be used to diagnose if something is out of the ordinary.


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