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Developing Smart Homes for Older People

Developing Smart Homes for Older People

April 28, 2016

Negev Development & Community Programs, Robotics & High-Tech

Globes — The Center for Digital Innovation (CDI) has partnered with Ben-Gurion University to establish a multidisciplinary Third Age innovation center to help senior citizens live happier, more independent lives.

“The goal is to build a large physical space … that would be a ‘smart home,’ among other things,” says Ziv Ofek, CDI founder and chief executive officer.

“We surround the house with five layers: family (first and second generation), medical, education – both the adults themselves for digital and technological literacy and reciprocal relations in both directions between the senior citizen and youth, personal security, and all the elements of quality of life.”

The smart space will connect the medical sphere with social welfare, for example, and will seek to ensure that someone is able to see the whole picture.

Boaz Lavie, a CDI founder; Ben Gurion University President Prof. Rivka Carmi; Beer-Sheva Mayor Rubik Danilovich; Ziv Ofek, CDI CEO; Sharon Sasportas, a CDI founder (Photo: Shai Shmuel)

Boaz Lavie, a CDI founder; Ben Gurion University President Prof. Rivka Carmi; Beer-Sheva Mayor Rubik Danilovich; Ziv Ofek, CDI CEO; Sharon Sasportas, a CDI founder (Photo: Shai Shmuel)

“Israel’s National Insurance Institute will probably be one of our leading partners, along with researchers and students,” says Ofek, “which is why we are in a close partnership with BGU and its president Prof. Rivka Carmi.

“Our goal is to focus not on the technology or the needs of the insurer, but on what the senior citizen needs, and to check quickly if we are meeting this need in a center that simulates the real world as much as possible. If a given idea doesn’t work, we get rid of it quickly, and if it does, we expand it quickly into a pilot in our center, and then in the city and so forth.”

CDI houses a robotics laboratory created in cooperation with Prof. Yael Edan, of BGU’s Department of Industrial Engineering and Management. They are working to see how service robots could assist older adults.

What’s more, Ofek is confident that getting student talent involved in helping seniors will make all the difference in their lives.

“We have an enormous pool of talented students who can make a ‘personal digital commitment’ to check the health alerts for senior citizens and help them handle their finances,” he says.

Read more on the Globes website >>