Volume 585 Issue 7824, 10 September 2020
Review Article | 09 September 2020
Illuminating the dark spaces of healthcare with ambient intelligence
Albert Haque, Arnold Milstein & Li Fei-Fei
Advances in machine learning and contactless sensors have given rise to ambient intelligence—physical spaces that are sensitive and responsive to the presence of humans. Here we review how this technology could improve our understanding of the metaphorically dark, unobserved spaces of healthcare. In hospital spaces, early applications could soon enable more efficient clinical workflows and improved patient safety in intensive care units and operating rooms. In daily living spaces, ambient intelligence could prolong the independence of older individuals and improve the management of individuals with a chronic disease by understanding everyday behaviour. Similar to other technologies, transformation into clinical applications at scale must overcome challenges such as rigorous clinical validation, appropriate data privacy and model transparency. Thoughtful use of this technology would enable us to understand the complex interplay between the physical environment and health-critical human behaviours.