by Michael Pieper, Margherita Antona and Ulises Cortés

Over the last 50 years, the number of older persons worldwide has tripled - and will more than triple again over the next 50-year period as the annual growth of the older population (1.9%) is significantly higher than that of the total population (1.02%). The European Commission has predicted that between 1995 and 2025 the UK alone will see a 44% rise in people over 60, while in the United States the baby-boomer generation which consists of about 76 million people and is the largest group ever in the U.S., is heading towards retirement. This situation asks for new solutions towards improving the independence, the quality of life, and the active ageing of older citizens.

by Andreas Schrader, Peter Rothenpieler, Stefan Fischer and Jens-Martin Träder

Autonomous living for the elderly is increasingly challenging due to the demographic change. With an ambient assisted social network, autonomy and quality of life can be significantly increased. The SmartAssist system is being developed in a three-year project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

by Massimo Mecella and Roberto Baldoni

SM4All has studied and developed an innovative platform, based on a service-oriented approach and composition techniques, for smart embedded services in immersive environments. This has been applied to the challenging scenario of private homes having inhabitants with diverse abilities and needs (eg young, elderly or disabled people).

by Ignasi Gómez-Sebastià, Dario García-Gasulla and Sergio Alvarez-Napagao

Assistive technologies are applied to support people in their daily life. Most approaches focus solely on the direct interaction between users – in our case, disabled patients - and the assistive tool, but Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to provide innovative mechanisms and methods capable of taking into account more complex interactions. For instance, such an approach can take into account the important role that third parties may have in user activities, and explicitly reflect the social constraints that apply in the relationship between device and patient. In COAALAS (COmpanion for Ambient Assisted Living on Alive-ShareIt platforms), organizational and normative structures are used to model the sensor network around disabled users as societies, along with the expected behavioural patterns, effectively supporting smart assistive tools that integrate in perfect harmony with the humans around them. The result is an assistive society of ambient-aware assistive tools.

by Sokratis Kartakis and Constantine Stephanidis

Ambient Intelligence Technologies in the home assist inhabitants in their everyday life, providing environment control, power consumption monitoring and intelligent patient assistance.

by Jürgen Nehmer, Thomas Luiz and Marie Consolée Sibomana

Today, the body functions of bedridden sick or disabled persons are still being monitored almost exclusively by means of intermittent personal monitoring done by medical staff and / or machines suitable for the respective disease pattern, such as an ECG. This kind of monitoring is either costly in terms of staff, or the connecting cables impede the patient’s mobility. In addition, in the case of intermittent monitoring, there is also a delay in recording pathological deviations of a patient’s health status. We present a concept for an ambient monitoring system based on the continuous measurement and interpretation of the bed load by load sensors integrated in bed legs.

by James Lanagan, Alan F. Smeaton and Brian Caulfield

Falls are a major cause of injury and fatality for older people and the number one cause of injury and fatality within the elderly population. This doesn’t provide the full picture however, as the effects of falls are far-reaching; a fear of falling (the "post-fall syndrome") leads to a marked decline in the activities of daily living (ADL). Those who have fallen in the past are more likely to fall in the future, meaning that not only is a burden created on the part of family to provide increased vigilance, but also a considerable stress is placed on the victim of a fall.

by Ahmed Nabil Belbachir, Ferenc Vajda, Tommi Lunden and Erwin Schoitsch

In the frame of CARE, a co-funded project within the first call of EC-AAL (Ambient Assisted Living) joint programme initiative, we have developed a new technology with on-board fall detection for elderly safety at home. The system includes a visual sensor and a wireless communication module integrated into the already-established product “Everon caring system”. This new sensor technology allows real-time detection of a person’s fall by permanently monitoring, analysing and interpreting elderly activity at home, and automatically sending an alarm in case of falls. The system takes advantage of the strength of visual sensing without intruding on the individual's privacy.

by Dieter Rombach, Holger Storf and Thomas Kleinberger

Elderly people living alone lead dangerous lives: If they fall, they often spend hours lying on the floor before their situation comes to anyone's attention and a doctor can be sent for. But falls are not the sole reason for critical situations. Physical frailty or sudden disorientation can also lead to precarious situations, which is why a fall detection system alone is not sufficient. A new system automatically detects elderly people stuck in difficult situations and informs a trusted person. This makes it possible for elderly people to live an independent life in their own home for a longer period of time.

by Mario Drobics, Matthias Zima, Dalibor Hrg, Jan Bobeth and Steffen Budweg

Within the AAL-Joint-Programme project FoSIBLE, a Social TV community platform for elderly people, augmented by game technologies and smart furniture, is currently being developed. The platform aims to provide social support for interaction between peers, friends and families. We present first results from our approach of integrating different multi-modal interaction techniques for an integrated Smart TV with Social Community solution.

by Flavio Corradini, Emanuela Merelli, Diletta R. Cacciagrano, Rosario Culmone, Luca Tesei and Leonardo Vito

ACTIVAge is an on-going project at the University of Camerino within the JADE project “Joining innovative Approaches for the integration and Development of transnational knowledge of cluster policies related to independent living of Elderly” (FP7-Capacities 2011-2013). ACTIVAge aims at defining a framework for designing personalized, adaptive and ubiquitous services and applications improving the quality of life of elderly people.

by Mattia Gustarini, Katarzyna Wac and Dimitri Konstantas

The WayFis project is the first European AAL project to help the elderly plan personalized routes and guide them in complex paths in different contexts including indoors, outdoors, pedestrian, and on public transport.

by Péter Pallinger and László Kovács

The ILI (Intelligent Visitor Guidance) system is able to transform hospitals, museums, parking lots, office buildings or even a shopping mall into semantically driven, adaptive, smart spaces by integrating various pieces of sensory information and providing customised, context-sensitive information and services for visitors, patients, doctors or customers.

by Mauro Dragone, Sameh Abdel-Naby, David Swords and Gregory M. P. O'Hare

A team of researchers from UCD’s Clarity Centre for SensorWeb Technology, Ireland, is leading the newly EU-funded project RUBICON (Robotic UBIquitous COgnitive Network). The project will develop a self-learning, adaptive robotic ecology consisting of mobile robotic devices, sensors, effectors and appliances cooperating to perform complex tasks such as supporting older persons to live independently in their own homes.

by Francesco Furfari, Reiner Wichert, Sergio Guillen and Joe Gorman

Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) has great potential to positively influence the lives of many people. But the impacts so far have been less than hoped, partly due to fragmentation of research efforts and the lack of a standardized approach for developers. To address this, we are forming AALOA (the AAL Open Association), and invite you to join in our efforts.

by Francesco Furfari, Mohammad-Reza Tazari and Vadim Eisemberg

universAAL is a European research project that aims at creating an open platform and standards which will make it technically feasible and economically viable to develop Ambient Assisted Living solutions. The project follows an open source license model and preliminary results are already available.

by Stefano Chessa, Francesco Furfari, Francesco Potortì, Juan Pablo Lázaro and Dario Salvi

Owing to the complexity of Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) systems and platforms, the evaluation of AAL solutions is a complex task that will challenge researchers for years to come. However, the analysis and comparison of proposed solutions is paramount to enable us to assess research results in this area. We have thus organized an international contest called EvAAL: Evaluating AAL Systems Through Competitive Benchmarking. Its aims are to raise interest within the research and developer communities in the multidisciplinary research fields enabling AAL, and to create benchmarks for the evaluation and comparison of AAL systems.

by Francesco Furfari, Antonio Kung and Saied Tarzari

In a move to improve the AAL research program, the AAL community has decided to make suggestions to the EC policy makers who are currently defining a strategic implementation plan for a European innovation partnership dedicated to active healthy ageing. This contribution has taken the shape of a declaration made public during the AAL forum in Lecce (September 2011). The declaration organisation committee explains the context of this initiative.

Next issue: January 2019
Special theme:
Transparency in Algorithmic Decision Making
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