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Use of Currently Available Smart Home Technology by Frail Elders: Process and Outcomes

Tomita, Machiko R. PhD; Mann, William C. OTR, PhD; Stanton, Kathleen BS; Tomita, Akihiko D.; Sundar, Vidyalakshmi OT

Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation: January-March 2007 - Volume 23 - Issue 1 - p 24–34

A 2-year randomized controlled trial conducted to test the feasibility and effectiveness of currently available smart home technology compared 46 treatment and 67 control home-based frail elders who lived alone. Treatment group participants were provided with a computer with Internet access and X10-based smart home technology. Problems in the use of the technology were categorized into 4 areas: person, computer, X10 products, and home. For each area, solutions were identified. Participants benefited from the smart home technology, and 91% recommended its use by others. The treatment group maintained physical and cognitive status, whereas the control group declined significantly in both.

Department of Rehabilitation Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York (Dr Tomita and Mss Stanton, and Sundar); Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technology for Successful Aging, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Florida, Gainesville (Dr Mann); and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (Mr Tomita).

Corresponding author: Machiko R. Tomita, PhD, Department of Rehabilitation Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, 515 Kimball Tower, Buffalo, NY 14214 (e-mail:

This research project was funded by the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research.

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.