A purpose-built smart home for people with intellectual disabilities is due to open in Melbourne next month, featuring a suite of technologies aimed at improving the residents\u2019 care.\nThe home \u2013 run by Australia\u2019s third largest private hospital operator St John of God Health Care \u2013 will trial the use of wearables, smartphone apps, voice assistants, sensors and artificial intelligence, tailored for five residents who have cognitive issues and secondary conditions such as epilepsy, cerebral palsy and blindness.\n \nThe aim of the smart home, which is situated in the suburb of East Brighton is to make residents less reliant on carers, \u201creduce restrictive practices\u201d and generate data for St John of God to improve its service.\n \nAmong the features of the home are doors that lock and unlock depending on which resident is trying to use them. One of the residents is prone to absconding and not road-safe, meaning it would be dangerous for him to leave the property unassisted.\n \n\u201cBy using technology, we can determine when that particular person is going near the door and the door then can be locked to stop him going out,\u201d said St John of God\u2019s executive director of community services Kevin Taylor.\n \nAn artist impression of the facility\n\u201cWhen he\u2019s not around, the other clients can actually go out. It\u2019s not restricting them from going in and out. Also, we\u2019ve got the opportunity whereby, because we\u2019re having a front gate, that he may well be able to go out the front door of the house into the garden, but he\u2019s then stopped from going out onto the road where he will be unsafe,\u201d Taylor explained.\nAmazon Alexa is being used to slowly increase the lighting, roll up the blinds, and turn on calming music in the mornings, while tablets display what\u2019s for dinner, which caregivers are rostered, and what is planned for the day, helping to reduce anxiety.\n \n\u201cMany of the clients, unless they are woken up by the carer won\u2019t get up. The aim is this is providing technology to assist them to do that, independent of the carer,\u201d Taylor said.\n \nFor one resident, the technology will prompt them to go to the bathroom.\n \n\u201cWe have another individual, for instance, that needs to be reminded to go to the bathroom. If they don\u2019t, then they end up with all sorts of urinary tract infections, all sorts of problems. What we\u2019re trying to do is to get technology to remind that individual such that then it gives them a little bit more dignity because it\u2019s not one person reminding somebody else and they\u2019re actually independent of the actual carer that\u2019s there,\u201d Taylor said.\n \nA number of tech companies have contributed to the project. HomeStay curated the technologies and provided an AI-enabled monitoring system including data hub, mobile device app and safety alert system; Samsung contributed tablets, wearables and virtual reality devices; Quantify Technology provided smart home lighting, blinds, power outlet devices and the Qumulus cloud; Signify pitched in colour therapy lighting and motion sensor technology; BCDS Group the secure access control; and Work M8 the incident response and carer duress platform.\nSt John of God, which runs 36 supported-living homes, and provides a range of services to about 1000 people with intellectual disability, invested $875,000 in the project.\n \nTaylor said the prototype home could serve as a \u201cblueprint for the sector\u201d.\n \nDeakin University is conducting a pre-move and post-move study to determine the impact of the smart home on the quality of the lives of residents.\n \n\u201cThe intention is for the blueprint to be repeatable and scalable to larger accommodation settings, and very, very importantly for family homes where parents are the carers for children and adults with disabilities or elderly loved ones,\u201dsaid HomeStay\u2019s chief innovation officer Sherry Swanson.