Miniature Sensors to Aid the Elderly
Caring for our aging population is one of the greatest challenges we face today. Many elderly Canadians live alone and many of them suffer from Alzheimer's, falls, heart conditions, and other medical problems. Canada Research Chair Dr. Bozena Kaminska thinks she can help them with technology to monitor and connect them to the care they need.
Dr. Kaminska has already developed a grain of rice sized wireless sensor for use in wildlife management. Now she is turning her attention to health care. Her aim is to provide an unobtrusive miniature device to measure health indicators such as heart rate and blood pressure and send this information by radio to computers and health providers for analysis. The response could be as simple as a recorded verbal reminder to take medication, or something lifesaving like the dispatch of an ambulance.
Networks of miniature wireless sensors have many health-care applications, including diagnosis, monitoring, research, accident prevention, and clinical drug trials. Dr. Kaminska has set up companies in Montréal, Oregon, and California that commercialize wireless sensor systems to monitor everything from wild fish to airline food carts. Now she is building a multidisciplinary team of basic and applied scientists to create applications for wireless sensor networks. Her miniature wireless sensor solution addresses top priorities of the Canadian government: to prevent unnecessary nursing home additions, improve services, and free hospital beds.