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Smart assisted living : toward an open smart-home infrastructure
Chen F., García-Betances R., Chen L., Cabrera-Umpiérrez M., Nugent C., Springer International Publishing, New York, NY, 2019. 342 pp.  Type: Book (978-3-030255-89-3)
Date Reviewed: Feb 5 2020

With an aging population and an ever-growing connection of smart devices, there hasn’t been a more appropriate time for this type of book. Ubiquitous computing has revolutionized the way that health can be managed. Equipping people with devices and systems that can help manage their individual health and wellness needs allows those people to lead more enriched and independent lives. The question raised with smart assisted living is how to best achieve this. This book provides state-of-the-art research into the large problem domains of this research. This is an excellent peek into the deep and distinct areas of research available on this topic.

One of the more challenging aspects of researching smart assisted living is connecting the diverse types of information necessary to discuss the problem holistically. Because this research area can focus on the minute details of hardware sensing to a human-centered understanding of system users and their influence on the broader design, it is sometimes difficult to grasp how this information fits together and influences each other.

Divided into four parts, the organization of this book illustrates the layers that build this topic. It reads as a bottom-up approach, first discussing hardware and data collection issues and moving upward to discuss the users of these systems and how these systems interact. While it does cover the parts well, the switch in the style of information being presented can be jarring, and the choice to start with the hardware information may turn off some of the less hardware-focused researchers. Overall, this separation makes it easy for novices in the field to see the parts of the whole and for experienced researchers to easily identify the information relevant to them.

Connecting these layers is the thread of health and wellness management, whose improvement is the main goal of this area of research. The chapters all do a fantastic job motivating their work on this ground. While there is a significant amount of age-based motivation, it is nice to see a variety of health and wellness complications covered, from mobility and motor impairments to cognitive impairments.

Part 3, “User Needs and Personalization,” is exceptionally well written. “User-Centered Design in Defining and Developing Health and Well-Being ICT Solutions” provides an excellent introduction to user-centered design in general, and then further draws connections as to how it could be applied to specific areas in this domain. The case studies for these areas are concise and illustrative. It sets the tone for the following chapters and helps to contextualize their work in relation to the users the work is looking to serve. It serves as an excellent introduction to user-centered design for new researchers looking to familiarize themselves with the topic quickly.

In short, this is a good reference for graduate students and novice researchers looking to get an overview of the topic and familiarize themselves with ongoing work in this domain.

Reviewers:  Jacques CaretteSasha Soraine Review #: CR146875 (2007-0160)
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