Friday, August 13, 2010

"A high-tech solution to an older-age issue"

This story from yesterday's Marketplace Morning Report describes an alternative to renovating your home to make a welcoming space for your elderly parent. The "med-cottage" (or "medcottage;" it's spelled both ways in the transcript) is a "little prefab house that sits in the backyard. It leases for $2,000 a month. Behind that vinyl exterior there are motion sensors."

The sensors detect when the cottage's inhabitant gets out of bed, uses the bathroom, and more. "All that information feeds realtime to a website you can check like email. An iPod app is in the works."

A team of researchers at Indiana University is examining ethical issues raised in this kind of high-tech elder monitoring. The project is called Ethical Technology in the Homes of Seniors, or E.T.H.O.S. It would be interesting to know how much effort the designers of the medcottage put into considering the ethical issues raised by their product.

Ken Pimple, PAIT Project Director

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