IoT Technologies to Assist Adults with Special Needs

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A team of Georgia Tech and UCLA researchers led by GT ECE Professor Marilyn Wolf has been developing a new methodology and system aimed at assisting with the long-term care of adults with special needs. The system analyzes heterogeneous sensor network data from complex environments to extract caring analytics with the ultimate goal of recommending actions to be taken to meet the daily needs of adults with special needs. The proposed approach can help caregivers better understand the activities and needs of the adults with special needs while also recommending them more effective actions to improve their care. This problem is especially challenging because, unlike other caring environments (e.g. elderly care), the special needs population is much more diverse and known syndromes and patterns of care cannot be relied on. The research leaned on data collected at Imagine! Colorado, a Colorado Medicaid service provider that has run two smart homes for special needs adults for several years (

According to Dr. Wolf: “People with special needs are an underserved population. They represent a much broader range of cognitive and physical limitations than is typical of the elderly. Because of the wide variety of conditions that are represented in this population, new monitoring and analysis methods are very important to providing improved care. Internet of Things (IoT) technologies promise to help us provide a better understanding of the condition of people with special needs to help ensure them the best possible lives.”

The research paper is available from the lEEExplore Digital Library at