The French Centre for Construction Research (CTSB) is trialing new sensor technology aimed at monitoring people’s movements when at home.

Project Gerhome is developing new sensory products and technologies to monitor the elderly and those who suffer from long term illnesses. The technologies on trial determine when movement is different from normal behavioral patterns, which can indicate deterioration in a resident’s health.

The trial is being held in a lab that replicates a conventional house. It uses a sensor network to analyse the activities of a person in it and can detect and interpret progressive, age related, physical and mental conditions at an early stage.

The data collected can show information such as whether a resident is eating normally, how much electricity they are consuming, when they use beds and chairs and how frequently they move around the house.

Alain Anfosso, project leader, from CSTB Gerhome said: “Based on the activity of the equipment we can see what the real activity of the person is. The interest of this analysis of sensors is to understand if the activity is normal.”

The software used to analyse raw data can tell if someone is in trouble and video monitoring allows doctors to assess the significance of changes in behaviour.

The system can detect the slight changes in natural rhythms that can give doctors and carers and relations early signals of possible trouble ahead.

Eric Pascual, from CSTB Gerhome, said: “Some kinds of evolutions, such as sleeping periods, for instance, can be a sign of some kind of weakness.”

Last year fourteen participants aged over 65-years-old tested the house and provided ‘encouraging’ feedback. There are now plans further plans to pilot further systems in a hospital setting early next year.