Smart dresser could help people with dementia achieve more independence

smart dresser v3

Daily tasks that seem insignificant to many of us can present major challenges for people living with dementia. Getting dressed is a particularly poignant source of frustration due to its complexity and lack of privacy when relying on a caregiver. Now, researchers at Arizona State University, the New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing, and the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions recently developed, with the help of caregiver focus groups, a smart dressing system called DRESS that could help dementia sufferers.

“The intent of the DRESS prototype is to integrate typical routines and humanized interactions, promote normalcy and safety, and allow for customization to guide people with dementia through the dressing process,” the study’s lead author, Winslow Burleson, Ph.D., said in a press release.

The smart dresser prototype system uses sensors, a camera, a motion sensor, a tablet, and a mobile app. A caregiver uses the app to initiate the system and monitor the user’s progress. The process starts when the user hears a prompt, previously recorded by the caregiver, that tells the user to open the top drawer, which lights up.

The top drawer, as with all of the other drawers, contains a single article of clothing. The camera uses bar codes on the clothes to identify each item and determine if the user puts it on correctly. If they do, the system prompts them to move on the next drawer.

If the system detects an error or a lack of activity, the audio recordings will provide redirection and encouragement. All the while, a bracelet containing a skin-conductive sensor monitors stress levels. If DRESS detects repeated difficulties or rising stress levels, it will alert the caregiver to come provide assistance.

A study the researchers published in JMIR Medical Informatics describes lab tests of the DRESS system. In the tests, 11 healthy participants tested scenarios from standard dressing to putting a shirt on backwards.

The tests found that the system could accurately perceive clothing orientation and position. It did so 288 out of 384 times. However, it had trouble detecting when users finished putting on clothing. It missed these indications 10 of 22 times for shirts and five out of 22 times for pants.

Based on their tests, the researchers identified several areas for improvement including using larger bar codes, minimizing the folding of clothing, and more optimally positioning users in front of the DRESS system.

The researchers believe that, after completing the improvements they identified, the DRESS system could improve the quality of life of the approximately 1.5 million U.S. seniors who need help completing everyday activities.

The research is also an indication of the positive impact that smart technologies can potentially have on people’s lives.

“With improvements identified by this study,” Burleson said, “the DRESS prototype has the potential to provide automated dressing support to assist people with dementia in maintaining their independence and privacy, while alleviating the burden on caregivers.”

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

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's fun to gawk!
Product Review

What do you do with 187 megapixels? The Lumix S1R is glorious overkill

The Lumix S1R is one of the most capable cameras ever made, from its robust build to extensive feature set. But its key feature, a 187MP high resolution mode, is something few customers will have use for.
Smart Home

The best smart locks to increase your home security in 2019

A good smart lock should offer a combination of security and convenience. Fortunately, these devices keep your home protected, your family safe, and your belongings secure from possible intruders.
Smart Home

Update your kitchen with the best refrigerators you can buy in 2019

There are tons of factors that go into buying a fridge, from size and capacity to color. It takes lots of testing and research, but we've chosen the best refrigerators to get you started, regardless of what you're looking for.
Smart Home

Dyson’s newest products strive to keep your home cool, clean, and well-lit

Dyson launched products to keep your home cool, clean, and well-lit. A Dyson intelligent task light cycles with nature and a personal air purifier harnesses unique airflow. Microprocessors in Dyson's vacuum self-adjust 8,000 times a second.
Smart Home

Smart light switches have become more affordable: Here are the best ones

The ability to control the lighting in your home can have a big effect on your living space. To have more control over your lighting, check out the best smart light switches on the market. 
Smart Home

Walmart serves up a rare deal on the Google Home Max at $100 off

Some deals are predictable and others are pre-announced, but today Walmart posted a rare deal: $100 off the powerful Google Home Max. Since it rarely goes on sale, waiting may not be prudent. If you want one, grab it.

Suck up the savings with these vacuum cleaners on sale for $100 or less

Keeping your floors clean around the home is a constant chore. To help make things a whole lot easier, we've picked out some great vacuum cleaner deals available right now, from full-sized upright models to robot vacs.
Smart Home

Is your coffee maker hiding mold inside? Here's how to clean it

Are you a coffee drinker? If you brew your coffee at home and you don't clean your machine, you could be drinking mold, yeast, and other bacteria. Here's how to clean your coffee maker.

Walmart drops prices on Google Home Hub and Lenovo smart displays

Walmart slashed the prices of Google Home smart displays for two highly regarded Lenovo models and the original Google Home Hub. We can't think of a better way to improve your smart home setup and these deals can help you save up to $100.

Amazon lowers Echo Dot cost and slashes price of the Dot and Smart Plug bundle

Amazon just unleashed extraordinary price cuts on third-generation Echo Dot smart speakers. The Alexa device is back in stock following the blowout sales last holiday season. The Echo Dot is the best-selling Alexa smart speaker worldwide.
Smart Home

These best outdoor security cameras will keep porch pirates at bay

Worried about porch pirates stealing your packages, or intruders entering your home? Always be in the know about who or what is on your property by installing one of these outdoor security cameras.
Smart Home

Your Instant Pot can do it all. Research says it has another important function

Researchers at Dakota State University tested a variety of pressure cookers for sterilization and found that Instant Pot provides enough pressure and heat to kill off food-spoiling bacteria.
Smart Home

Need some help? Here's our handy step-by-step guide on how to Airbnb your home

Getting ready to make your home a great rental? Here's how to Airbnb your home with the right amenities, insurance, supplies, and everthing else that you need. Use this guide to get started without making beginner mistakes!