Graphene sensors used for home care application

Smart materials will have a new application in home care systems for the elderly, through research conducted by Deakin University’s Mediated Intelligence in Design (MInD) Lab.

The devices, which incorporate graphene sensing surfaces, will be installed on surfaces such as walls and floors and could provide information on temperature, pressure, and humidity levels.

The project is a collaboration with Imagine, a Geelong-based intelligent materials manufacturer. While intelligent materials are used in industrial settings, the current trial hopes to expand their application to widen the market for these materials.

“There is limited understanding of the potential for this technology inside public and private buildings,” said Imagine CEO, Chris Gilbey.

According to MInD Lab director, Professor Tuba Kocatyrk, the coatings can share information via digital networks.

“With these coatings, the surface becomes ‘smart’ and information captured through these surfaces is then delivered into an Internet of Things (IoT) connected world through cloud computing,” said Kocatyrk.

The sensors will be installed for testing at Deakin University’s Waterfront campus, and could lead to the centralised monitoring of environments where occupants are at risk and require supervision.

“It will allow operators to collate and analyse data from large surfaces in buildings simultaneously and develop efficient responses in real-time, with the potential to significantly advance efficiency and safety in our buildings,” said Kocaturk.

Via the variable which the smart sensors read, information on the status of those inside the building can be understood.

“We are exploring how this technology can be used to create an intelligent home care system so that behavioural information can be recorded, analysed and shared in real-time,” said Gilbey.

With demographic shifts seeing more elderly people, and a greater appetite for in-home care for longer, systems to ensure the safety of people who may require support have potentially large markets, said Dr Rui Wang, research fellow at the MInD Lab.

“We are exploring how this technology can be used to create an intelligent home care system so that behavioural information can be recorded, analysed and shared in real-time,” said Wang.