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Smart technology advances safety and comfort in the home

At a glance
The intern

Aymen Djebbi from Tunis El Manar University in Tunisia 

Hosted by

Professor Bessam Abdulrazak at the Université de Sherbrooke’s Faculty of Science

The research

Developing intuitive sensors and devices for use in a smart home systems 

With Canada’s baby boomer generation soon reaching retirement, many of them will turn to technology to simplify daily chores and tasks as they age.

Aymen Djebbi, a Mitacs Globalink research intern from Tunisia, thinks he has an answer.  In collaboration with researchers at the Université de Sherbrooke, Aymen is helping to develop smart home technology this summer.

Smart homes are part of an evolution of wireless technologies called the “internet of things.” With these technologies, occupants will be able to automate daily tasks while maintaining their security. In addition, household appliances could remind the occupant to take their medication and other important reminders. To do this, each smart home requires a system of advanced sensors and monitors that are attuned to the homeowner’s needs. Aymen is helping to make sure that the different devices can communicate and coordinate the automated actions across the home network.

“The research is very complex,” says Aymen, “We want to make the smart technology easy to use by incorporating it into devices that are already familiar — like phones and thermostats. At the same time, we want to make sure that it would be just as effective for the homeowner if they are hard of hearing or sight, or if they have a physical disability. This is especially important for the boomer population so that they can continue to live comfortably and safely as they age.”

In the lab, Aymen is enjoying working with a variety of people and perspectives.

My internship has been a good opportunity to learn about new cultures, and to discover the commonalities between us,” he says.

“I have also learned that there are many researchers in Canada working on similar projects to mine. I hope to return to Canada for my PhD so that I can collaborate with them, and we can build the ‘internet of things’ together.”

 


Mitacs would like to thank the Government of Canada, along with the Government of Alberta, the Government of British Columbia, Research Manitoba, and the Government of Quebec for their support of the Globalink Research Internship program. In addition, Mitacs is pleased to work with international partners to support Globalink, including Universities Australia, the China Scholarship Council, Campus France, India’s Ministry of Human Resource Development, Mexico’s Secretariat of Public Education, Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, and the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education, and Tunisia’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Mission Universitaire de Tunisie en Amerique du Nord.