This smart house could keep track of your health like a live-in nurse

ku smart house
When people get sick, they go to the doctor. However, wouldn’t it be better to keep track of your health on a daily basis? That can take a lot of work, though, and so what if our homes could keep track of it for us? That’s a question that led Joe Colistra and his students to build a prototype smart house unit.

Colistra is the design and planning associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Architecture. Using two awarded grants totaling $51,000, he and his fifth-year students will build part of a home embedded with sensors to collect the biometric data of its residents.

“With Kansas City having Google Fiber, you ask yourself: What would you do with unlimited bandwidth? So we proceed to the question of big data collected through the built environment,” Colistra said in a statement to the university. “What if your house could capture your heel strike, the number of times you left your apartment, the number of times you go to the bathroom, how much sleep you got last night? The idea with connectivity and the Internet of Things is to link all that data together.”

These sensors would be sensitive enough to use with predictive algorithms. For seniors, sensors in the floor could automatically alert someone if a resident has fallen. Or, if there is a new stutter in a resident’s step, it could notify them of a potential early sign of Alzheimer’s. Smart mirrors could identify new moles, lesions, or the effects of a stroke. Sensors in the toilet could keep track of a resident’s hydration levels and how much waste they are producing. Most of these sensors exist in other devices, but this would be done automatically in the background, without the need to turn anything on.

“We are looking at the possibility of taking hydration readings that might lead to adjusting your diuretic or heart medication on the fly,” said Colistra. “It could revolutionize geriatric medicine. Your housing unit could be like a medical device; it takes care of you.”

The team expects to complete the project by the end of this school year using prefabricated components including walls and floor panels. This approach should allow the items to remain economically viable on a larger scale. Results will be presented at upcoming conferences including Makers Faire Kansas City in June.

Product Review

The all-new 3 Series proves BMW can still build a compelling sport sedan

Seat time in the entry-level BMW 330i ($41,425) and M340i xDrive ($54,995) will test the German automaker’s commitment to driving dynamics, powertrain refinement, and cutting edge technology.
Outdoors

Built to take a beating and still perform, these are the best hiking watches

A proper hiking watch should track exercise metrics and act as a navigational co-pilot during any kind of hike. Ideally, it'll even have a built-in GPS system and sensors. Here are five of the best hiking watches.
Smart Home

Ring Alarm vs. Nest Secure: Which one is right for you?

Thanks to the advance of technology, it's become really easy nowadays to secure your home and protect it from thieves, intruders, and unwanted guests. Which one of these two top contenders is right for you?
Smart Home

Tired of running outdoors? Check out the best treadmills of 2018

Running can burn up to 900 calories per hour, melting away fat and strengthening your muscles.  Compared to running outdoors, you're safer staying indoors on a cushioned track. We've rounded up the best treadmills on the market
Smart Home

Dog or cat shedding? These vacuums do a great job of sucking up pet hair

Got a pet hair problem? Fortunately, there's help for you and your furry friend. We tested out a bunch of vacuums that promise to remove pet hair. Here are a few of the best you can buy.
Product Review

Hue who? Nanoleaf Canvas brings a riot of color and vibrancy to the smart home

Fun and festive, Nanoleaf Canvas feature lighting adds personality and vibrancy to any room. Nanoleaf Canvas features squares that you can connect in any configuration you’d like. Sync to music, play games, or relax in soothing light.
Product Review

Ring Alarm makes DIY home security simple and affordable enough for everyone

Ring first made waves with its video doorbell, and now the Amazon-owned company is moving on to home security with the Ring Alarm. You can install the sensors and keypads yourself, then have Ring professionally monitor your home.
Smart Home

Rocco wants to rock out. Parrot learns to use owner’s Amazon Alexa

Rocco, an African gray parrot, fell in love with his owner's Alexa unit and ordered himself treats and other goodies, but mostly uses the smart assistant to rock out to his favorite music.
Smart Home

The Echo Wall Clock can help you keep track of multiple Alexa timers

Amazon just released the Echo Wall Clock that was announced at its September new hardware device event in Seattle. The Echo Wall Clock is an analog clock that also indicates the minutes remaining on one or more Alexa timers.
Smart Home

Espresso On Demand: The five best Nespresso machines

Most people still trek down to their local coffee shop to get an espresso or a cappuccino, but you don't have to. A Nespresso machine can put coffee shop quality espresso on your kitchen counter.
Smart Home

This device detects when your pet is at the door and opens it for them

Tired of waiting for your dog to come inside, or running home in the middle of the day to let your four-legged friend out? Wayzn automatically opens sliding doors for your dog and gives you remote control.
Deals

Get electronics gifts for high-tech homes for under $100 with these deals

The holiday season is in full swing with Christmas just around the corner. New deals on interesting, fun, and practical electronic gifts under $100 from major online retailers can convert last-minute shoppers to savvy bargain hunters.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Smart Home

Put away that sponge and let us help you pick the best dishwasher for your buck

Tired of doing dishes by hand? Take a look at our picks of the four best dishwashers currently available and let a machine do the dirty work for you. They’ll do a much better job, anyway.