The ORCATECH Living Laboratory (OLL) is a population of community-dwelling seniors who have agreed to participate on an ongoing basis in research on technology-based health monitoring, intervention, and support of independent aging. The Living Lab is used to explore technologies to support independent living, to assess new behavioral markers, and to evaluate approaches for assessing neurological and other relevant health changes, all in the participant’s home. This resource is intended to facilitate:
- Rapid evaluation of emerging technologies in a naturalistic field setting, with the goal of reducing development time and time-to-market:
- Lowers cost of conducting field trials, since recruiting and characterization of the subject population has already been done.
- Administrative issues related to IRB and intellectual property are facilitated “up front”
- Improves evaluation of potential and unanticipated issues, since the home environments are well-characterized.
- Provide pilot data for larger grant applications
- Comparison between technologies with similar goals, in head-to-head comparisons in the same home
- Pilot studies of health outcomes that may be informed by continuous behavioral data
- Conduct of focus groups and survey research relating to technology and aging
- Integration of data from different technologies, by providing a core set of data that is consistent and well-characterized across all subjects.
The Living Lab seniors live in diverse home environments within the community, ranging from large single-family dwellings to studio apartments in retirement communities. These seniors undergo an extensive series of neuropsychological and clinical tests, including the assessments that make up the Uniform Data Set used by the NIH-funded Alzheimer’s Disease Centers. In addition, the characteristics of their home environment (type of home, home construction materials, number of rooms, etc.), and of their socialization habits (regular outings and visitors) are documented. Every subject also completes a short weekly online questionnaire in which they report illnesses, falls, visitors or time spent away from home, and any changes to their physical environment or emotional state.