This paper presents a description of a collaborative project based on the integration of technology development in the built environment for assisted living. The multidisciplinary collaboration is developed as a cooperative commitment to provide support for cross-border, collective projects. It was initiated as a project-based learning setting between undergraduate engineering students, and four years later the program shifted to include undergraduate architecture students and engineering master’s students. The learning experience opens the gate to a completely new collaborative setting, yet to be established, independent from its predecessor setting of project-based learning, focusing now towards an interdisciplinarity setting in cross-border collaboration. The new collaborative projects focus on smart environments for assisted living, with an emphasis on technology development and retrofitting of the built environment. The four participating programs are from three different leaders higher education institutions, from both sides of the US and Mexico border.
Smart Environments (SmE), design, and technology applications are relevant topics across multiple and diverse disciplines and areas of contemporary life. Different kinds of SmE in the domain of smart homes have been developed in academia and industry. For healthcare and assisted living development highlights include monitoring the behavior, emergency detection, cognitive and physical information, emotional information, etc., to offer a variety of useful services, solutions or benefits to patients, disabled and the elderly. This is relevant because it has been suggested as a viable solution to maintain independence, functionality, well-being and higher quality of life of elders who will increase in number worldwide by approximately 20% by 2050. However, incorporating physical and digital technologies (technologies 4.0) into building retrofitting is a feature of scalability and configurability for a future generation of smart applications.
This paper summarizes the current applications of multidisciplinary collaboration in the Computer Systems Engineering, Architectural, and Engineering Technology fields. It describes a work in progress as a key element in international, multidisciplinary research in undergraduate education, with the aim of sharing challenges, lessons learned, and future work.
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