Our Technology

The ORCATECH Technology Platform

ORCATECH has designed a unique data capturing system that is made up of technology devices, data communication technologies, data analysis algorithms, and robust databases. Using hardware and software, the technology platform can continuously measure daily home-based activities and can monitor changes in behavior. 

How the Technology Platform works

Developed by a team of researchers, statisticians and software developers, the platform collects data about everyday home-based activities. Data is passively collected, meaning that study participants do not have to actively do anything towards the research. Data is securely sent to ORCATECH's servers, where innovative algorithms can translate it into meaningful information. The platform is designed to be:

  • Ambient: Sensors are sensitive to the presence of people and continuously collect data in real-time.
  • Technology Agnostic: The platform can accommodate new devices or new data systems, making it future-proof.
  • Unobtrusive: Sensors are discreet, blend into a home's environment and do not interfere with daily life, meaning that participant's do not need to change their daily routines.

By analyzing data that is captured by the platform, researchers may be able to observe how various activity patterns can relate to the onset of new medical problems. This data can help medical practitioners and caregivers track health and well-being. 

Inside a home

An array of sensors and devices are part of the ORCATECH technology platform. Many of these were developed in partnership with our technology partners.

A graphic explaining how each sensor captures data about home-based activity in a Life Lab home

Sensors and devices

These measure mobility by tracking walking speed, movement between rooms, and how much time is spent in a room.

Sensors are installed on the walls and ceilings of a home that is involved with CART. These sensors measure walking speed and movement between rooms.

These measure how often a participant has left their home, by tracking how often a front or patio door is opened or closed.

The door sensor, installed on a front door, measures how often someone enters or exits a home.

This measures body composition, heart rate and weight.

The scale measures weight and the heart rate of a participant that is involved in the CART study.

This measures medication adherence by tracking how often a pillbox lid is closed.

The digital pillbox measures when a study participant opens a pillbox lid, so when they take their medication.

This measures daily activity and sleep patterns.

The digital watch measures daily activity, such as how many steps a participant took during the day, and sleep activity, such as how many hours they slept.

This is installed in a participant's car and tracks how often a participant drives.

The car sensor, installed near the dashboard, measures how often a study participant drives.

The strip part of the sensor sits under the participant's side of the mattress. It measures when the participant falls asleep, restlessness, and the amount of time spent in light, deep and REM sleep cycles. 

An ORCATECH sleep sensor sits underneath a mattress. It measures an individual's sleep patterns.

Insights into daily living

Data collected from the technology platform can paint a more objective picture of how someone lives and ages in their own home. Data provides insight into a research participant's activity patterns, such as how often someone leaves their home, when someone goes to sleep or how often someone takes their medication. Additionally, the passively collected data is supplemented by participants' regular self-reported data (through online surveys) and occasional in-home staff visits. The technology provides several internal verification checks on the data collected and reported. 

Spiral plots can visually display the relationship of time and activity by location. For example, this spiral plot showcases six months' worth of activity within a home. Each day is represented by one circle. The colors represent sensor firings in a particular room of the house, in turn displaying which rooms a participant walked into during a particular day.

A circular spiral plot graph of the data collected in a Life Lab participant's home

What the Platform can measure

The platform compiles an enormous amount of data, known as Big Data. This includes data about:

  • Mobility (walking speed, movement between rooms)
  • Socialization (outings, phone calls, emails sent)
  • Medication adherence
  • Sleeping patterns
  • Physiologic function (BMI, pulse)

Learn more about the data collected by ORCATECH

The Life Lab

The ORCATECH Life Laboratory is a network of homes that have the technology platform installed inside. Research participants, or Life Lab members, go about their daily lives while the platform's sensors measure their home-based activities. Members help researchers test and evaluate new technologies and procedures.

Learn more about the Life Lab

Collaborate with ORCATECH

Interested in partnering with our team or learning more about the ORCATECH technology platform or other intellectual property and resources?

Please contact the Chief Business and Operations Manager, Judith Kornfeld, at kornfeld@ohsu.edu