Briefs: Fridges used as monitoring tools

Sensor-equipped domestic refrigerators are found to be a useful means of improving and protecting the well-being of senior citizens living on their own. Thanks to Carlston University's TAFETA Smart Systems for Health, residents in Ottawa Community Housing senior's building are testing a "smart talking fridge" with sensors capable of reminding them when a fridge door has been left open too long for instance. More importantly, the sensors can send warning signals to external monitoring staff if the door hasn't been used for too long or in the case of any other irregular patterns. The goal of the programme is to develop smart technologies to help seniors live in their own homes and after collecting data for a couple of weeks, other tests will be conducted with sensors on mats, beds and couches. Other studies have also shown that refrigerator use was a valid indication of the eating habits of elderly people. The late Dr Charles-Henri Rapin, a French geriatrist, had published an article in July 2008, In Frigo Veritas, encouraging such practices. The study showed that out of 13 senior owners of "empty" fridges, 5 were hospitalized within the following month.