It’s a Brave and Wired New World

Originally posted at on March 11, 2015

I had the pleasure of entering a brand new world located at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, part of Canada’s largest research hospital, University Health Network (UHN). This grouping of researchers are working on developing new treatments, technologies and devices to keep us (seniors or soon to be seniors) living and aging well in our own homes.

Under the guidance of Dr. Geoff Fernie and Dr. Alex Mihaildis researchers are working to prevent injury and illness for both the care giver and care recipient. Assistive devices including compressed air cushions that gently lift an individual who is unable to turn or lift themselves are set up in labs which resemble rooms in a long term care facility. This ‘SlingSerter’™ allows a single person transfer and reduces injury to caregivers, nurses and Personal Support Workers.

Part of the Intelligent Assistive Technology and Systems Lab includes the Home Lab. This lab is designed as an apartment that is more than wired. It has an ‘intelligent personal emergency response and fall detection system’ that senses when a fall has occurred. Other sensors, such as the tiles in the bathroom, can read the person’s blood pressure and vital signs while they are brushing their teeth.

Another lab, which assesses gait and falls risk has the ability for this entire very large space to rotate and move as well as change temperatures ie the floor freezes.
Most of the funding is from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. Commercialization is an important component. Some of these projects have been underway for years and may not yet be at the real life testing stage. Other times, industry partners have been involved in bring these innovative products to the market place.
A truly amazing place and if you want to learn what is ahead, please visit UHN Labs

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