The global population is aging faster than ever. The United Nations estimates there are nearly one billion people over the age of 60. That number is expected to more than double by 2050.

With this growth comes a rise in chronic illnesses that are, unfortunately, part of the aging process. And many of this population want to keep their independence and live alone. This can present a challenge to family members, especially if they don’t live nearby.

Sure, there are a number of ways to monitor the health and safety of the solitary elderly and other vulnerable people. Still, these people often need a level of human intervention that is sometimes difficult to achieve. Not to mention costly. These monitoring technologies tend to be passive, requiring the vulnerable person to press an alarm and send a message to keep to a communication schedule.

Monitoring without being a snoop

A SAS Hackathon team from Japan, Critical Thinking Crew, decided the answer was to take human monitoring out of the equation.

The team realized that by using computer vision to identify when someone was in distress, they could remove several roadblocks to independent living.

Their concept was to train AI models to recognize postures representing someone in distress. Using webcams, the AI will monitor the home and can send out an alert to let family, friends or health professionals know when help is needed.

Of course, privacy is a concern, but the genius of this solution is that human monitoring is not needed. In fact, another human will only enter the picture once alerted.

The team’s hack example was for a specific use case in Japan, where a high percentage of people (seniors and working-age people) die in their home alone each year. Unfortunately, it is often several weeks before they are found. A service like the one Critical Thinking Crew envisions reduces some of the trauma for surviving loved ones.

Bring your ideas and join us

Interested in other innovations from the SAS Hackathon?

Come for a visit to see what teams have been able to create – from concepts to fully working solutions. And think about how you can create the next big thing in your industry by joining us in 2024.


About Author

Jeff Alford

Principal Editor

Jeff is a Principal Editor on the Thought Leadership, Editorial and Content team at SAS He's a former journalist with more than 30 years of experience writing on a variety of topics and industries for companies in the high-tech sector. He has a master's degree in technical and professional writing and loves helping others improve their writing chops.

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