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UH Moment

UH Moment: “Smartphones”

For those caring for elderly parents, peace of mind is hard to come by. And, for their parents, dignity is hard to retain. But a team of researcher from the University of Houston College of Technology aims to ease concerns. Listen to this week’s UH Moment.


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Researchers from the UH College of Technology are working on an affordable in-home, health-monitoring system that notifies caregivers’ personal digital assistants (PDAs) if loved ones need attention.

Driss Benhaddou and his assistant“Our system will monitor vital signs and track patients’ locations using low-cost, off-the-shelf technology,” said Driss Benhaddou, assistant professor with the college.  “You could wire a whole home for about $1,000.” 

Four years ago, Benhaddou and his team began work on a wireless health-monitoring system in conjunction with the Abramson Center for the Future of Health, a joint partnership between the college and The Methodist Hospital Research Institute, which emphasizes personalized medicine and medical device development.

A patient whose movements are being monitored will wear a sensor the size of a quarter on a belt or a piece of clothing.  Wearing the sensor on the skin ill allow measurement of temperature, heartbeat and oxygen levels.

Monitoring sensor in front of a PDA“The house will have sensors in different rooms.  Those sensors will communicate with the one on the person and with a hub, which is a typical Wi-Fi hub that you find in homes,” Benhaddou said.  “The hub communicates with a caregiver’s smartphone or PDA through a regular internet connection.”

This smart system has applications for assisted living centers, monitoring long-haul truck drivers or astronauts during space missions.

The College of Technology is part of what’s happening at the University of Houston. I’m Marisa Ramirez.

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