Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

FP7 logo of the Dali project

DALi

Project reference: 288917
Funded under

Devices for Assisted Living

From 2011-11-01 to 2014-10-31

Project details

Total cost:

EUR 4 152 035

EU contribution:

EUR 3 022 000

Coordinated in:

Italy

Call for proposal:

FP7-ICT-2011-7See other projects for this call

Funding scheme:

CP - Collaborative project (generic)

Robot walker for elderly people in public spaces

Shopping centres, airports, museums and hospitals are the kind of complex and confusing environments where elderly people on the verge of cognitive decline could have difficulties walking around without help. The walking frames they may currently use do not have the flexibility to help them navigate in often-crowded places.
 
This led researchers on the DALI project to develop a robotic cognitive walker (c-Walker) that can be taken to, or picked up at, the place to be visited, gently guiding the person around the building safely. The device takes corrective actions when the user comes across the type of busy area, obstacle or incident they want to avoid.
 
‘The c-Walker is aimed at providing physical and cognitive support to older adults. It can give them confidence in public environments,’ explained Luigi Palopoli, professor at Italy’s Trento University who coordinated DALI (Devices for Assisted Living). ‘The device is full of hi-tech solutions, but the user is not necessarily aware of them. She or he comes into contact with a ‘standard’ walker, with a few additions such as the display or bracelets and does not need any kind of computer literacy. The robot simply guides them so that they have a nice, safe experience.’

More information.

Objective

Ageing is generally associated with a decrease in mobility and social interaction. A growing body of research suggests that reduced levels of out-of-home mobility can have widespread, detrimental effects for older adults. Adults for whom mobility is a problem suffer in a variety of ways. Not only are their social lives restricted but they are also more limited in terms of their access to good nutrition, leisure and other activities. For example people with restricted mobility have fewer choices in terms of where and when they can shop, and they have been found to experience problems in maintaining a balanced diet. Shopping has been found to be a useful way of maintaining physical exercise as well as providing the opportunity for social interaction. However, older adults can lose confidence in their ability to go out independently, particularly in unfamiliar and crowded spaces and may start to withdraw into their homes.Several factors adversely affect mobility, the most obvious being physical impairment, loss or reduction of visual and auditory ability and of the key function of balance. Less recognised but as important is the decline of cognitive abilities, which reduces confidence in manoeuvring around unfamiliar environments. The slower reaction to external stimuli and the diminished navigation skills can be predictors of the onset of more severe cognitive problems. With the median age in Europe projected to grow from 37.7 (2003) to 52.3 (2050), the population of potentially afflicted people is substantial.In this context, sustained levels of physical and social activity by a prolonged autonomous mobility are key to successful ageing. In this project, we pursue autonomous mobility through the development of the so-called c-walker. This mobility aid supports navigation in crowded and unstructured spaces by acquiring sensory information, by anticipating the intent of human agents and by deciding the path that minimises the risk of accidents. The c-walker is aimed at providing physical, cognitive and emotional support to older adults in public environments such as shopping centres and airports. Its expected benefits are a reduction in the anxiety of navigating in these environments and an increased likelihood of continued autonomous use of these environments. The c-Walker has a merely assistive role: it recommends a course to the user through visual, acoustic and haptic interfaces. The user remains in charge of final decision making.The c-Walker is the expected result of a multidisciplinary research, with an active involvement of the end user in the RTD activities to elicit requirements, co-define the specifications, monitor and test the project (through an advisory panel) and the prototype (through lab and field experiments). The intended users of the c-walker are older adults, who have a combination of mild cognitive, visual and/or auditory impairments and are losing confidence in independent exploration of public environments.

Related information

Coordinator

UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI TRENTO
Italy

EU contribution: EUR 734 712


Via Sommarive 9
38123 Povo, Trento
Italy
Administrative contact: Luigi Palopoli
Tel.: +390461283967
Fax: +390461282093
E-mail

Participants

SIEMENS AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT OESTERREICH
Austria

EU contribution: EUR 291 555


SIEMENSSTRASSE 90
1210 WIEN
Austria
Administrative contact: Paul Pavetich
Tel.: +43 51707 36970
E-mail
VISUAL TOOLS SA
Spain

EU contribution: EUR 362 491


CALLE ISLA GRACIOSA 1
28034 MADRID
Spain
Administrative contact: Patricia Hidalgo-Bustos
Tel.: +34917294844
Fax: +34913585236
E-mail
INDRA SOFTWARE LABS SLU
Spain

EU contribution: EUR 278 920


AVENIDA DE BRUSELAS 35
28108 ALCOBENDAS
Spain
Administrative contact: Ana Hernandez
Tel.: +34914807010
E-mail
INSTITUT NATIONAL DE RECHERCHE EN INFORMATIQUE ET EN AUTOMATIQUE
France

EU contribution: EUR 294 834


Domaine de Voluceau, Rocquencourt
78153 LE CHESNAY Cedex
France
Administrative contact: Jean-Paul Guillois
Tel.: +33 299847248
Fax: +33 2 99847171
E-mail
FOUNDATION FOR RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY HELLAS
Greece

EU contribution: EUR 360 988


N PLASTIRA STR 100
70013 HERAKLION
Greece
Administrative contact: Zinovia Papatheodorou
Tel.: +30 2810 391522
Fax: +30 2810 391555
E-mail
UNIVERSITA' DEGLI STUDI DI SIENA
Italy

EU contribution: EUR 357 800


VIA BANCHI DI SOTTO 55
53100 SIENA
Italy
Administrative contact: Angelo Riccaboni
Tel.: +39 0577 232206
Fax: +39 0577 232202
E-mail
UNIVERSITY OF NORTHUMBRIA AT NEWCASTLE.
United Kingdom

EU contribution: EUR 340 700


Ellison Place, Ellison Building
NE1 8ST NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE
United Kingdom
Administrative contact: Lynne Coventry
Tel.: +44 191 243 7772
E-mail

Subjects

Life Sciences
Record Number: 101220 / Last updated on: 2016-04-01