SmartBathroom: Developing a smart environment to study bathroom transfers
Jones, Brian D.
Mahajan, Harshal P.
Sanford, Jon A.
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Individuals’ functional abilities change over time; they increase and then decrease over the lifespan, and in some they may fluctuate over the course of a day. While these fluctuations may not impact one’s ability to engage in daily activities, they can be problematic for people aging with disability or a progressive chronic condition such as arthritis or multiple sclerosis, particularly when performing toilet or shower/bath transfers. Although various assistive technologies (AT) and environmental modifications are designed to facilitate bathroom transfers, they are static solutions, selected to match an individual’s ability at one point in time rather than providing a dynamic environment that can adapt to support changing abilities. The SmartBathroom Laboratory is being developed as part of the RERC TechSAge as a highly sensed, adjustable residential bathroom environment to accommodate a wide variety of research studies on task performance during bathroom transfers. These studies will focus on identifying the problems faced by people with functional limitations as they age as well as on exploring viable solutions to these problems. In this paper, we describe design and engineering requirements, challenges, and choices in the development of the SmartBathroom Laboratory.