Intelligent Home Solutions for Independent Living

In a partnership with McLean Care and Deakin University, a team of Monash researchers from the ETLab are leading the ethnographic component of the Intelligent Home Solutions for Independent Living project. The project will trial ‘smart’ home technologies with older participants who are living at home to greater understand how these technologies are used; how they could be better designed; and how they affect their everyday living experience.

McLean Care, a not-for-profit aged care services provider, was awarded $1.15 million Innovation Grant Funding by the Department of Health to trial ‘smart’ home technologies with some of their older Commonwealth Home Support Programme residents. The project runs from February to June 2020 and includes fieldwork with 25 households in NSW regional towns Gunnedah, Tamworth and Inverell.

“Our researchers are meeting with older people in their homes to discuss what types of devices may be useful for them, the impacts of the technology on everyday living and independence, and how smart home devices could be better designed to suit older people.”
Associate Professor Yolande Strengers, Project Leader from the Emerging Technologies Research Lab

This project provides off-the-shelf smart home technologies designed to match assessed individual needs for Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) participants. Installed devices include Google Home, iRobot Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner, Phillips Hue smart lights, Kogan Smart Kettles, Apple tablets, and Fibaro water flood sensors.

Using a co-design approach, older people are involved in reviewing the suite of products for their accessibility and utility, with user reviews published online on a dedicated website. Researchers are exploring the impacts of technology on their everyday living and independence. The Monash team are conducting the ethnographic research, involving video tours and demonstrations, interviews and phone calls with participants of the trial. The Deakin team is tracking usage and operation data from the installed devices.

“This project is really inspiring for many reasons. First, is being fortunate to spend quality time learning with older people in their homes, and now since COVID-19, keeping in touch remotely.

Secondly, the collaboration with McLean Care and Deakin has allowed us to develop an integrated approach in trialling the potential of these technologies for ‘ageing in place’ circumstances for everyone.

Thirdly, the ETLab team have brought together a range of qualitative research methods drawing from all our different disciplines. I can’t wait to share our exciting findings!”
Dr Melisa DuqueResearch Fellow from the Emerging Technologies Research Lab

Project team

Monash Emerging Technologies Research Lab - Associate Professor Yolande Strengers, Professor Sarah Pink, Dr Melisa Duque, Dr Larissa Nicholls, Mr Rex Martin.

Deakin School of Engineering Associate Professor Ben Horan, Dr Michael Mortimer.

McLean Care - Sue Thomson – Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Alicia Eugene – Project Manager, Nikole Fletcher - IT and Communications Manager, Ross MacMahon - Technical Support and Logistics Administrator.

Media Release

Contact: Yolande Strengers