IBM WebSphere Enables Creation of Tools to Track Seniors' Health

By Brian T. Horowitz  |  Posted 2011-11-09 Print this article Print

title=Avatars Provide Context of What's Happening} 

Avatars provide more context of what's happening in the Smart Condos without the intrusive video cameras, she said.

"Instead of video recording, it's video produced by simulating activities in a virtual world," Stroulia said. "So you get the context of how the patient behaves and what's the activity in their environment without being intrusive and recording them."

Researchers will produce data tables that indicate what the sensors uncover, and the avatars will provide more "intuition" to viewers of the stream, according to Stroulia.

IBM and the University of Alberta announced the pilot on Nov. 8 at Big Blue's Centres for Advanced Studies Conference, which highlights Canadian research between academic and government research organizations.

Although Glenrose is the only hospital currently using the virtual world technology based on WebSphere, the University of Alberta will install a personal installation of Smart Condo at its Edmonton Clinic Health Academy.

In the Smart Condos, researchers place sensors on areas such as seats, beds, tables and cabinets to collect information about patients' activities and infer about long-term behaviors, Stroulia said.

Researchers can view the virtual world in real time or record the activity so that health science students can get training in simulation. The sensors will track what patients are eating and if they're walking in a wheelchair or walker.

Stroulia plans to build out social networking features in the virtual world to eventually allow teleconferencing and communication among physicians and researchers.

In addition to health care researchers, the multidisciplinary project involves computer scientists and experts in industrial arts and design, Stroulia noted.

Brian T. Horowitz is a freelance technology and health writer as well as a copy editor. Brian has worked on the tech beat since 1996 and covered health care IT and rugged mobile computing for eWEEK since 2010. He has contributed to more than 20 publications, including Computer Shopper, Fast Company,, More, NYSE Magazine, Parents,, USA Weekend and, as well as other consumer and trade publications. Brian holds a B.A. from Hofstra University in New York.

Follow him on Twitter: @bthorowitz


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