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Technological Aspects Of A Smart Cottage For Seniors

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Laboratory and Internship Innovations in IT/IS

Tagged Division

Information Systems

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1375.1 - 12.1375.8



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Paper Authors

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Robert Walters Pennsylvania State University

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John Bertoty Blueroof Technologies, Inc.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Development of a Smart Cottage for Seniors Abstract This paper presents the design, development and construction of a new kind of housing for senior citizens. A Smart Cottage for Seniors has been developed that is accessible, affordable and contains technology to keep the seniors at home longer, safer and healthier. The cottage uses Universal design techniques that ensure that the cottage will change with the needs of the occupants. A technology system integrates the security, home automation, energy management and medical monitoring functions into one web page that can be viewed and controlled from any web browser (with proper identification). A prototype of the home has been built and tested. Introduction This paper describes the design, development and implementation of a “smart” cottage for senior citizens. The Smart cottage is a single-level, two-bedroom home that has been designed using Universal Design concepts. Technology has been integrated into the cottage from the design phase. This technology will keep seniors at home longer and help them stay healthier and more productive and allow caregivers and/or family members to monitor, adjust and control the cottage from the internet. An additional requirement of the Smart Cottage was that it must be affordable. These requirements are summarized below:

• Easily manufactured • Energy efficient • Wired for smart technology • Web access of all smart functions • Affordable • Low maintenance • Qualify for HUD or other support agency

The fundamental goal of the Cottage is to use information and computer technology to keep seniors at home longer, safer and healthier. Each year a senior remains at home instead of living at an assisted facility will result in significant savings for the family.

Western Pennsylvania has become a NORC. This is a naturally occurring retirement community. A great many of the senior citizens do not have the resources or the desire to move to retirement communities in the Sun Belt. This presents many unique challenges to the area, but also provides a great many opportunities for service learning and social entrepreneurship. The number of older Americans is growing—faster than other segments of the population. Today’s elderly population is expected to double by 2030, expanding at a rate of almost 3 percent each year to almost 70 million people.

Blueroof Technologies is a non-profit corporation that is working with Penn State University, University of Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University to design, develop and construct a prototype of a Smart Cottage for Seniors. Engineering and Information Science interns from Penn State are wiring, testing and debugging the Smart Cottage. In addition to the interns, Blueroof has provided space and expertise to the Information Sciences and Technology program at Penn State University for students to use the Smart Cottage as a lab and a living classroom.

Walters, R., & Bertoty, J. (2007, June), Technological Aspects Of A Smart Cottage For Seniors Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2168

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