Strategic Impact

A - Substantial efficiency gains for care provision and augmented independence and quality of life for the ageing population.
Our work addresses a fundamental need of modern life: autonomous navigation in environments that the user would otherwise perceive as unsafe or even hostile. The improvement for the daily life promises to be very significant. The user can in our view get out of his domestic walls and do his/her own shopping activity or take an airplane without the presence of a care-giver. The beneficial effects for the user are both psychological (a perceived reduction of the gap from a ”normal” life) and physical (the walking assistant can potentially be used as a training aid to walk). The efficiency gains for care-provision are both direct (no need for an accompanying care-giver) and indirect (the improvement of the general health condition of the user can significantly reduce the need for care provision). B - Improved competitiveness of EU industry through proven feasibility, and impact to move the results into downstream RTD or innovation.
The adoption of user centred design will guarantee a strict adherence of the system to the user needs, thus magnifying the potential industrial interest of the project. The involvement of different class of stake-holders in the consortium, ranging from component providers, to system integrators and user association, will ensure a sufficient coverage of all the value chain facilitating the transfer of the project outcomes downstream. Senior Women C - Strengthened potential for Europe to become a global leader in the field of ICT and “ageing well”, including development of global interoperability standards in the field.

First of all, this project will integrate experiences and best practices from several parts of Europe, ranging from southern Europe (Italy, Greece, and Spain) to central Europe (Austria) to the anglo-saxon world (UK). The interaction with several users from each of these countries will foster an european unified view of on how to deal with problems of ”ageingwell”, at least for the considered classes of users. From the technological point of view, a significant effort will be placed on the software integration. We expect an important outcome in the architectural paradigm for the integration of assisted living devices at the operating system and middleware level. One of the possible outcomes is the definition of open interfaces that will simplify the integration of different types of components.

D - Strengthened global position of European industry in service robotics for “ageing well” as well as significantly advances state of the art in the field.
The terms of reference of our project explicitly provide a substantial scientific improvement on the state of the art in the following areas: 1) sensing technology, 2) cognitive engine, 3) human machine interface. Concerning the first area, we will tackle a largely unexplored area: how to acquire contextual information from the environment using a combination of different sensors. Should this objective be achieved, the promised range of applications is immense and it ranges from surveillance to driving assistance. In the second area, we will enable robots to ”understand” a human context and support decision making in such a way as to remain compliant with the rules governing the social interaction. This breakthrough would be a substantial one for the technology of assistive devices: a cognitive engine of this sort could set the basis for the development of a plethora of solutions compensating for moderate cognitive impairments of the users. What is more, it is possible to envision the application of a technology like this in other areas such as driving assistance. The potential market is order of magnitudes larger than the one of traditional assisted living devices. Finally, the type of interfaces that we will develop using the cobot technology and the acoustic interface will enable a very natural interaction between human and machine, closing the gap between the ICT and a generation of technology illiterate potential users.