Assistive Technologies in Smart Homes

Assistive Technologies in Smart Homes

Tatsuya Yamazaki (National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, Japan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4422-9.ch032


This book chapter provides a review of the assistive technologies deployed in smart spaces with a variety of smart home or house examples. In the first place, home networking technologies and sensing technologies are surveyed as fundamental technologies to support smart environment. After reviewing representative smart home projects from across the world, concrete assistive services related with the fundamental technologies in smart environment are deployed not only for the elderly and handicapped but for people in ordinary families as well. Adaptability is one of the key essences in the assistive technologies in smart environment and, for this purpose, human-ware studies including man-machine interfaces, ergonomics and gerontology are needed to be linked with the hardware specific fundamental technologies.
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Home Networking Technologies: Overview

As mentioned in the previous section, the introduction of ICT into the residential environment has added a new layer of mediation between a house and its residents, and is likely to expedite the adaptation process outlined above. In this section, we describe networking technologies, as one of the technologies that are integral to smart homes.

Standardized technologies related to home networks are depicted in Figure 1. The technologies are classified into the two axes. The horizontal axis represents home appliance categorization and the three categories are depicted in Figure 1. The first category includes audio/visual appliances such as DVD recorders and digital TVs, which need high-speed connections. The second category is that of information appliances which need medium-speed connections. Lastly, the third category encompasses major appliances such as refrigerators and air-conditioners, which are capable of working on low-speed connections.

Figure 1.

Overview of standardized technologies related to the home network

The vertical axis in Figure 1 represents the layer structure of the technologies. The upper-most layer corresponds to the applications layer; the lower-most layer lies just above the layer of physical communication. The communication layers in Figure 1 include the general networking technologies standardized in IEEE, ITU, etc. In the application layers in Figure 1, the technologies tend to depend on each application, especially for CODEC.

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