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Smart houses are considered a good alternative for the independent life of older persons and persons with disabilities. Numerous intelligent devices, embedded into the home environment, can provide the resident with both movement assistance and 24-h health monitoring. Modern home-installed systems tend to be not only physically versatile in functionality but also emotionally human-friendly, i.e., they may be able to perform their functions without disturbing the user and without causing him/her any pain, inconvenience, or movement restriction, instead possibly providing him/her with comfort and pleasure. Through an extensive survey, this paper analyzes the building blocks of smart houses, with particular attention paid to the health monitoring subsystem as an important component, by addressing the basic requirements of various sensors implemented from both research and clinical perspectives. The paper will then discuss some important issues of the future development of an intelligent residential space with a human-friendly health monitoring functional system.