The Smart Fan; Impact of Smart Health Ecosystems on the Quality of Life and Health of Elderly Individuals

Burkut, Ezemet, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Barnes, Adam, EN-Elec & Comp Engr Dept, University of Virginia
Foley, Rider, Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

The Smart Fan is a motion-sensing desk fan designed to provide optimal cooling by dynamically adjusting airflow based on the user's location. The fan employs an infrared thermal camera and an additional pair of wide-angle infrared sensors to detect and track users within a 360-degree field of view. An STM32 microcontroller processes the sensor data to automatically orient the fan using a stepper motor. The fan features a centrifugal design driven by a brushless motor, with user-controlled speed adjustments via a potentiometer. The Smart Fan's automated motion detection eliminates the need for direct user intervention and significantly enhances cooling efficiency. The project was developed using 3D-printed components, CAD software for mechanical design as well as circuit design, and embedded software for sensor and motor control. While the prototype demonstrated promising results in terms of presence detection and human localization, future improvements could focus on enhancing airflow, optimizing the motor subsystem, and implementing advanced features like multi-user tracking. Overall, the Smart Fan represents a significant advancement in the field of intelligent cooling systems, offering precise and user-friendly cooling through automated tracking and a 360-degree range of motion.

The STS research explores the evolving needs of an aging population and their increasing reliance on smart health technologies to improve their quality of life and health. It aims to create an understanding of how smart health ecosystems can enhance the well-being of elderly individuals and improve their quality of life. The study involves the development and implementation of non-intrusive technologies and systems that aid with daily tasks, remote monitoring of health, and provide immediate access to healthcare resources. Acknowledging the human and social dimensions of smart health technologies is crucial to ensure their acceptance, ease of usability, and effectiveness among elderly individuals. Utilizing one of Star's nine properties of infrastructure, the concept of transparency, the paper explores the interaction between users and technology in the context of smart health ecosystems for the elderly. It also employs qualitative data from one-on-one interviews with supervisors in senior living spaces in Virginia to analyze the role and impact of smart health ecosystems on the overall well-being and quality of life of elderly. Moreover, the study examines the key factors that influence the successful effectiveness of these smart technologies. The findings indicate that the adoption of technologies such as electronic health records, telemedicine services, and wearable devices has led to improvements in resident health, safety, independence, and overall happiness. These findings have significant implications for the design, implementation, and policy making related to smart health ecosystems for the elderly. By understanding the sociotechnical dynamics involved, stakeholders can develop more effective and inclusive solutions that respect the dignity and autonomy of older adults, ultimately improving their quality of life.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
IoT, Smart Health, Elderly

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering
Technical Advisor: Adam Barnes
STS Advisor: Rider W. Foley
Technical Team Members: Ethan Bacica, Ryan Bloom, James O'Connell

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