A CLUSTER of homes in Ross-shire will form part of a trailblazing tranche of "fit homes" across the Highlands.
State-of-the-art housing will be built across the Highlands as part of the £3 million project which will focus on helping elderly and disabled people to live independently at home for as long as possible.
Technology including data capture, sensors and internet software can predict and prevent illnesses and episodes, which could help to allay hospital stays.
It was announced this week that Economy Secretary Keith Brown signed the business case for the project as part of the £135 million City Deal contribution from the Scottish Government.
Twelve homes will be piloted in Dalmore, Alness, which has already received an award for innovation in housing.
A further 32 will be built across the Highlands and one cluster in Inverness will be used to house veterans.
Nairn is also in the frame.
Mr Brown said: "I look forward to the development of the assisted living homes that this City Region Deal funding will bring. This £3 million investment shows the benefits of the City Region Deal and how it will improve access to health care and housing in the area and eventually help people live independently in their homes for longer."
The project is the latest in the £315 million deal, made up of £135 million from the Scottish Government, £53 million from the UK Government and £127 million from Highland Council and its partners.
Allan Henderson, the council’s chairman of environment, development and infrastructure, said: "We all have an interest in what the City Region Deal means to the Highlands as a whole.
This is an exciting project which will bring benefits to communities across the region, together with other pan-Highland projects such as the Newton Rooms, affordable housing, free wi-fi, and support for small and medium businesses throughout the Highlands."
The fit homes will be managed by Albyn Housing, in partnership with NHS Highland and housing pioneers Carbon Dynamic, which is based in the Cromarty Firth Industrial Park in Invergordon.
Calum Macaulay, chief executive of Albyn, said: "The central concept of these high-quality, sustainable homes is that they will include ambient, physiological and building sensors.
"The sensors will collect data that can be monitored and responded to by a variety of agencies. Potentially, this will transform the way health and social care is delivered.
"We’re very excited to be progressing this unique initiative given its enormous potential to develop a Highland, UK, even global, solution that encompasses housing, health, care, digital technology and economic growth."