Smart homes showcase health, sustainability, entertainment

Recently, researchers at Sweden’s Örebro University released a video showcasing GiraffPlus, a “smart home” system designed to allow the elderly to live independently longer. The system consists of a network of home sensors that monitor residents’ health paired with a mobile telepresence robot, called Giraff, that allows caregivers to check in.

The system has been tested in a demo apartment in Örebro and will shortly be installed in real homes Sweden, Italy and Spain for further evaluation.

When we recently spoke to Rick Lynch of The University of Texas at Arlington Research Institute, he described similar efforts being conducted by both his team and other research universities. Like the GiraffPlus project, which is an international effort funded by the European Community’s Framework Programme Seven, many of these projects make elder care a primary focus, using sensors to monitor things like skin tone and balance in an effort intervene before a health crisis occurs. Other smart homes, however, place more emphasis on efficiency, convenience and entertainment.

To give an idea of the variety of smart homes that have been built by researchers over the years, we compiled several virtual tours below.


Duke University’s Home Depot Smart Home

The University of Florida Gator-Tech Smart House

The University of Florida Gator-Tech Smart House


[ photo by Terése Andersson, courtesy of Robotdalen ]