Why is GiraffPlus Needed?
Most people have a desire to live at home even when they are older, to keep a richer social life and maintain their habits. An increased number of older people who live at home is also positive from an economic perspective.
Creating conditions for independent living for our elderly is a challenge and several issues must be resolved:
• Deterioration of health must be detected quickly so that interaction with health care and family can be ensured.
• There is a need for flexible support for services / products in age-related disability.
• Preventive medicine / health efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle and delay the onset of age-related diseases.
The GiraffPlus Project Aims
The GiraffPlus project aims at developing a system that addresses the above challenges. The system consists of a network of home sensors which e.g. are measuring blood pressure or detecting if someone falls off a chair. The data is then interpreted in terms of activities, health and well-being, such as if the person is relaxed or need to go to bed. Events can trigger alerts or reminders to a healthcare provider, or be analyzed by a healthcare professional. A telepresence robot, Giraff, can be moved around in the home of someone who is online via the Internet, e.g. a caregiver or family member, and helps the user to keep their social connections alive.
The GiraffPlus project aims to contribute to a reduction in healthcare costs as many health ailments can be addressed in an early stage of on-set. For the elderly, the concept presented in this proposal provides a tool to address concerns about isolation and safety by encouraging social contact and thereby increasing quality of life and possibilities to prolong independent living. For the caregiver, the specific technologies developed in this project allow for continuous information about the status of the elderly, encourage a meaningful interaction concerning patient well-being, enable timely involvement, provide time effective care and not least lead to economical savings.
Testing the System - Evaluation and User Cycle
The motivation of the development-evaluation cycle is to
1) involve the users early in the process and allow their input to drive the development of the GiraffPlus system, and
2) enable the GiraffPlus system components to develop each at its own pace.
Particular emphasis is put on user evaluation outside the laboratories. The GiraffPlus system will be installed and evaluated in at least 15 homes of elderly people distributed in three European countries (Italy, Spain and Sweden). These evaluations will drive the development of the system. The concept of “useworthiness” will be central in order to assure that the Giraff+ system provides services that are easy and worth using. In addition, by using existing and affordable components (besides the Giraff robot also sensors from two participating companies: Tunstall and IntelliCare) we strive to achieve a system that is affordable and close to commercialization.
The GiraffPlus Deployment Lab
Prior to the first home installation, GiraffPlus will due the first technical tests in a deployment lab located in Örebro, Sweden. This lab facility is called Ängen Research and Innovation Apartment and is located in a unique complex with a number of services such as health clinics, daily rehab etc. Today, we showcase already the products by Tunstall, Intellicare and Giraff.
See more about Ängen Research Apartment (in Swedish/English): www.framtidsboende.blogspot.com
Ängen Research Apartment
Technical Approach and Workpackages
The overall strategy of the work plan is driven by the user requirements and a functional specification of the GiraffPlus system. The phase of concrete system development is organized around an iterative process of technical implementation and validation/evaluation.
Three major aspects can be identified:
- services, and
Two work packages are dedicated to the system development: WP2 focuses on the development of the basic components of the GiraffPlus physical system and basic infrastructure and WP5 is dedicated to system integration and testing. Two work packages are focused on service development: WP3 contends with context recognition and configuration planning and WP4 focuses on development of the personalization service and a number of interfaces needed to present the services to diversified users. Two work packages are dedicated to user evaluation. The work started in WP1 with the collection of user requirements and the definition of a functional specification of the system is continued in WP6 where a thorough user evaluation of the system is performed. The important aspects of exploitation and dissemination of the achieved results are covered in WP8 and WP7 respectively. A WP9 of Project Management completes the work plan.
The Final Product
From the onset of the project, all system architecture, functional specifications, feature development and other major technical decisions will be evaluated against the emerging business model. In particular, feasibility of these issues with respect to practical cost, implementation and support considerations will be assessed. Interoperability, adherence to (or development of) relevant standards, and “open source” philosophy are all key factors in these assessments.
An infrastructure that monitors the activities of an elderly person at home can allow that deterioration of health is identified at an early stage, with less suffering as a result. GiraffPlus is a tool to manage isolation and create security. This increases the quality of life and the period of independent living is extended. For the caregiver GiraffPlus provides access to continuous information on the status of older people, contributing to a meaningful and time effective collaboration on patient comfort.