Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How the Aware Home Works


Building the Aware Home Program
This 5,000 square foot home houses the Aware Home Research Initiative. It contains two identical simulation apartments, one on the top floor and one on the ground floor, along with additional research space in the basement.
This 5,000 square foot home houses the Aware Home Research Initiative. It contains two identical simulation apartments, one on the top floor and one on the ground floor, along with additional research space in the basement.

Let's start by taking a little closer look at how the Aware Home got started and what the goals of the project are.

The Aware Home Research Initiative commenced in 1988, and the Georgia Research Alliance built the Aware Home through a grant. The project is broader in scope than just that abode though, and researchers from Georgia Tech not only study and develop their own areas of research, they also collaborate with other academic and corporate bodies, sharing the knowledge they learn.

Since its beginnings, the research initiative has moved forward on a variety of fronts, combining aspects of healthcare, education, entertainment, security and, of course, technology. The Aware Home project has drawn together researchers specializing in a wide-range of fields such as computer science, psychology, health systems, engineering, architecture, assistive technology and industrial design.

In the future, the folks involved in the Aware Home project, along with their many collaborators, sponsors and partners, plan to continue exploring issues related to domestic life and the development of ubiquitous computing in the home. Goals of this research initiative include efforts to find out what technologies people have the ability (and the desire) to use in their everyday lives. They also hope to increase collaborative efforts and improve everyone's understanding of the optimum ways an Aware Home could serve people.

There have been some concerns raised in regards to an Aware Home's potential level of invasiveness into people's lives. Because of this, research is also being conducted regarding privacy and the ethical use of monitoring equipment. Another area of concern that's being looked into is the possibility of security risks. A hacker in your network could wreak havoc on your home life.

Despite this, enhancing the Aware Home's ability to detect changes in health and instances of slow development could prove increasingly beneficial in our day-to-day lives. Those technologies, along with the development of more advanced robotic companions (who wouldn't want one of these) have many potential areas for expansion. To take a close look at how some of these technologies function, check out How Smart Homes Work.

On the next page, we'll examine how the Aware Home can help when someone opts for aging in place.