Kinect used to monitor the elderly, less creepy than it sounds

We're going to be frank and completely honest right now: The idea of being elderly and living alone is horrifying. We're barely functional as human beings now, and we're in the prime of our lives! What happens when we can't figure out the new-fangled DVRs of the future? What happens when we put the microwave in the oven? What if we develop a new illness, and no one is around to notice?

We're probably on our own with the DVR and the microwave, but a group of researchers at Missouri University are looking to use Microsoft's Kinect as a solution for that last problem. The idea is fairly straight forward: Kinect units are placed around an elderly person's home and are used to analyze their walking patterns and movement behavior, which often times indicate trouble ahead of other, more noticeable symptoms.

The theory has been tested at TigerPlace, an independent living facility for Missouri's elderly, where researchers were able to spot trouble ten to fourteen days faster than normal. It all seems rather big-brother-ish at first, but we're willing to do anything to make being old less terrifying.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.