Casalab: Home Automation meets Health Care


Casalab or Home for the Autonomies is a project we’ve been working together with Lombardy based Cooperativa Solidarietà e Servizi for some time now. The project has reached a certain level of usability and test that we are now able to report back here on Officine blog.

We’ve had several requests about this project around.

In order to better understand and identify things and processes to be monitored we managed to involve families, caregivers and users in a common storytelling, mapping good/bad habits, and theis relations with the space. We worked with Ilaria Scarpellini for this early reasearch sprint.

Social Cooperatives play a very important role in Italian Social and Health Care System, taking in care of a very large amount of people, with different casualties and problems: in our case we’ve been dealing with the mentally ill.

Discussing over the concept of “Home” was pivotal in this project. Both Laura and Tatiana (the two women that eventually went to live at Casalab) spent many years of their life living in social communities with other people. With several little technological interventions we were able to monitor few important things and let them live by themselves. Important to notice: the caregiver is still visiting them on a daily basis, while not sleeping in the house. Technology was meant to amplify rather than substitue his role.

As Giacomo Borghi reports in the video, “Home Automation is not replacing the caregiver, while becoming an active tool of knowledge”

The interventions in the home, negotiated with its users, were standard, and can be attributed to a wider concept of “monitored home”:

Keyless access with card or code Environmental Monitoring (Noise, GAS, Temperature, Air Quality, TV use/abuse) Food Monitoring (Access / Time of fridge/freezer/food storage) Food Education web-app (possibly released opensource soon)

Data is collected locally and sent to operators once a week. If the change of one or more of these variables trigger an “Event” the operator is notified in real time.

Casalab was the first time we customized Home Automation to meet Health Care needs. It’s been a big challenge and we hope to use and come back to this path soon.