Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. Photo via Johns Hopkins.

Johns Hopkins has received a $20 million grant from the National Institute on Aging to develop artificial intelligence (AI) devices to improve the lives of older people.

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins schools of Medicine, Nursing, the Whiting School of Engineering, and the Carey Business School will collaborate on the project. 

AI technologies have the potential to revolutionize elderly care, as the algorithms continue to improve and more biomedical data can be gathered from personal devices like Apple Watches and smartphones. 

AI algorithms can search through biomedical data gathered from personal devices to detect patterns in health and behavior. 

For example, an algorithm could monitor speech and facial expressions to detect signs of dementia, or monitor an elderly person’s gait to predict and prevent falls. 

The goal of the project is to allow more elderly people to safely live at home, instead of in long-term care facilities. 

This type of research will be increasingly important over the next few decades, as the percentage of older adults is expected to increase around the world. 

According to the latest census data, there are currently more than 54 million people over age 65 in the U.S. That number is predicted to nearly double by 2060. 

Advanced AI technologies may be able to address caregiving shortages that accompany an increase in the aging population. 

Hopkins will partner with technology developers and innovators to improve existing technologies and create new ones to bring into the marketplace.

“The power of this kind of collaboration is that you aren’t proposing solutions in a vacuum,” said Phillip Phan, a professor at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, in a press release. 

“The solutions are more likely to be implementable because you’re considering how people will use them in the marketplace upfront,” he said, “The most meaningful impact is if we can move the needle on the proportion of older Americans living in long term chronic care facilities to living healthily at home. That’s the bottom line.”