BBC News has a brief article on efforts to figure out how to integrate smart chips in daily life:

The Smart-Its Project – a collaboration between Lancaster University and several other institutions in Zurich, Germany, Sweden and Finland – has a vision to tag almost any object in the home with the microchips to make peoples’ daily lives easier.

Bookshelves could start complaining if they are dangerously overloaded and water bottles could tell you if their contents need cooling.

It all sounds like a bit of fun, but there are more serious and possibly life-saving uses for the technology.

“It could be used in caring for elderly people. The sensors would recognise if they have fallen on the floor or can’t stand up anymore. It’s much less intrusive than cameras,” Strohbach says.

Equally, that chatty, smart medicine cabinet could track and guide you through your medicine taking.

Why the interest in applications for the elderly? Demographics and economics. The baby boomers are getting older, and in advanced countries (the U.S., northern Europe, Japan and Korea) the elderly will become a dominant demographic group. Many will also be pretty well-off, will want to live independently; yet every advanced country faces a shortage of nurses. So researchers hope that technology can fill the gap. (This is discussed in Peter Schwartz’s latest book, Inevitable Surprises.)