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An intelligent home needs to develop through being tested on real people to improve. Therefore, Professor Álvaro Freitas Moreira from Brazil, who is visiting Halmstad University to help strengthen the exchange programme between his university and Halmstad University, has agreed to stay and be a test subject in Halmstad University's intelligent home known as HINT.
Álvaro Freitas Moreira, from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), was asked whether he was willing to be the test subject during his three weeks in Halmstad. The intelligent apartment is located inside Halmstad University and is surrounded by labs, corridors, and offices.
– It is exciting and fun to contribute something to science. However, I thought that it was going to be a small and sterile apartment, but it is airy and pleasant, the bed is comfortable and it is close to work, says Álvaro Freitas Moreira, who now manages to get from his home to his office in about one minute.
In every room in the two-bedroom apartment are sensors that detect every time someone goes in and out. Furthermore, there are sensors on the front doors. All doors that are opened and closed are electronically logged, as well as the refrigerator, microwave, cabinet, and bedside table. If someone sits down on the sofa, this is logged too as well as the length of time the bed is used. After just over a week's stay in the apartment, Álvaro Freitas Moreira is now oblivious to the fact that the apartment is collecting information about his movements.
– The first day I was quite conscious of just where the sensors were, but then I forgot about them. All the measuring equipment is integrated in the interior, so it doesn´t interfere with my normal routine, he says.
Professor Álvaro Freitas Moreira researches in helping create more robust computer programming languages, for example, detecting whether codes are damaged by external influences. He is in Halmstad, thanks to the Linnaeus-Palme exchange programme, which sees Halmstad University and UFRGS cooperate in the field of health innovation. During the exchange, he will be a guest teacher in the algorithms courses; both at basic and advanced level.
A privacy agreement is signed between the resident and Halmstad University. Halmstad University's researchers can not publish anything scientific about this experiment – but it helps to test the methods for improving the apartment, according to Wagner Ourique de Morais, a research engineer at Halmstad University.
This is the first time someone has stayed in the apartment for a longer period of time. Thanks to the data collected, researchers can create an "Álvaro model", where you see his typical behaviour. You can imagine a situation in real life where a person is suddenly in bed much longer than usual, stuck in the toilet or suchlike. In such cases, a signal can be sent to relatives, home care services, etc. informing them that something might be wrong.
– An intelligent apartment should feel secure not only for the person or persons living there, but as an extra security when the person(s) are not at home, says Wagner Ourique de Morais.
A smart home can also increase the comfort and make the resident(s) more independent. Examples are that the lights come on when leaving the bed or to the blinds go up at a certain time to let in light.
As a guest, Álvaro Freitas Moreira thinks that the apartment has many advantages compared with staying at a hotel. He can prepare his own breakfast whenever he wants, instead of having to stick to the times of the hotel breakfast. He has had several curious questions from people at the University, which is a great way to get to know people when you are just here on a visit. Just outside the apartment is a lab, so students and staff can see him sometimes on his way to and from “home”.
– One evening when I turned the light off, I noticed that a light outside was still shining; and the curtains could not block out the strong light. So I had to go out and switch it off. It's probably the first time someone has walked around the University´s corridors in their pyjamas.
Text: KRISTINA RÖRSTRÖM
Photo: JOACHIM BRINK
Halmstad Intelligent Home (HINT) provides researchers, students, and industry a technology-equipped, realistic home environment. The apartment makes possible, among other things, experiments and studies related to monitoring and assistance in smart and intelligent environments and social robots. Communication about and discussions around a smart home are facilitated by HINT, and the goal is to create a strong collaboration between researchers and the community.
HINT is funded by Halmstad Embedded and Intelligent Systems research. The Centre for Health Technology, Halland (HCH) is also involved in the development of HINT.