Water flow sensor for eldercare [abstract]
Smilkstein, Tina Harriet
University of Missouri-Columbia. Office of Undergraduate Research
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Changes in hygiene habits can be an early indicator of mental and/or physical decline in elders. Since personal hygiene activity accounts for much of the water use in a home, and since much of this activity happens in privacy, unknown to the caregivers, we have designed a water flow sensor that transmits usage data to a central data analysis system. There, it can then be analyzed, compared to prior activity patterns to detect when water use begins to deviate from the norm, and then can trigger an alert to allow earlier intervention from caregivers. There already exist sensors that are designed to detect water flow, but since our needs require an inexpensive portable sensor that can easily be installed and removed in various locations as necessary, the existing sensors which require the water supply to flow through them are not an effective option because they provide a solution that is expensive and that requires professional installation and removal from the water pipe network. Our sensor is designed to be inexpensive and, since it is designed to be used external to the water supply, will be easy to install and remove from the water supply. Challenges include differentiating between signals in different faucet and pipe networks, and separation of useful signals from those that should be ignored such as water events that are known to be not for hygiene purposes.
2008 Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievements Forum (MU)