“There’s a visceral reaction many people have to being monitored,” says Stephen Intille, associate professor at Northeastern University’s College of Computer and Information Sciences and a leading researcher in the field of personal health informatics. “We need to stay away from stigmatizing these innovations. The better way to think of them is like advanced answering machines that go in the homes of the seniors and their families as well. They should be seen as devices that link people together.”

But seamlessness is the key, Intille says, citing an experiment he oversaw in which a subject was placed in a monitored-home but wound up trying to “game the system” out of defiance. Unobtrusive sensors “have a lot of potential, because Boomers especially will want to stay at home as they grow old,” he says. “That’s worth money, and that’s where the market comes from.”