Why the Renewed Interest in Hardware, and What Does It mean for Aging In Place Technologies?
In Silicon Valley, as elsewhere, there is a general perception that there is a renewed interest in hardware. Many of my colleagues believe this is happening because of the commoditization of sensors technologies. Because of the cell phones and automobile industries, sensors cost pennies. You can use a LCD display, used in a Nokia 5110 cell phone, for under a dollar in your new product. Because of the automobile airbag industry, accelerometers cost just pennies. Cameras, infrared, and touch sensors are all available at very low cost. Because of the commoditization of these cell phone and automotive components there are opportunities to add very high levels of intelligence to products. Every product can be smart to some level. This commoditization of these sensor is the enabling event that will make it possible to develop Aging in Place technologies. With these low cost sensors we can learn routines (ADLs) and detect anomalous behavior. With a disruption in the routines, we can make inferences regarding the measured data and determine if some kind of intervention is required. These products and services can be brought to the market at low cost. For the Aging In Place technology community the stars may very well be lining up!