Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

ACANTO Report Summary

Project ID: 643644
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ACANTO (ACANTO: A CyberphysicAl social NeTwOrk using robot friends)

Reporting period: 2016-02-01 to 2017-04-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

"The overarching goal of ACANTO is the develop a combination of technologies to spur older adults into a regular and sustained level of physical activity. ACANTO's solution rests on two pillars:

1. the development of a robotic friend (the FriWalk) to support the execution of everyday activities,

2. the development of an intelligent system, called Cyberphysical Social Network (CPSN), that produces recommendation for social activities matching the profile of the users, as they result from the observation collected on the ground through the FriWalk.

The FriWalk is robotic walker embedding a large portfolio of solutions to sense the surrounding environment, plan the most comfortable and safe routes to the user's destination, and, where required, gently guide the user in her navigation of the space. The robot constantly observes its user noting all relevant changes in her physical and emotional state and it lowers the barriers raised by user's fears and lack of confidence. Furthermore, the FriWalk keeps track of the users' physical exercises, and monitors the evolution of the strength and the possible improvement of the gait. The observations on the user state are consolidate into her/his profile.

The CPSN collects the profiles of the user and aggregates them into circles. By putting together the description of the circles and of the environment the recommendation system is in condition to recommend social activities. The objective of the CPSN is to stimulate the user social life offsetting the effects of loneliness. Another important way for the system to lower the user's barriers to physical activity is by helping the user translate the intention of an activity into the so called ""implementation intentions"", a concrete plan detailing logistic and practical aspects.

In the context outlined above, the concrete goals of the project are:

1. development of the FriWalk: from the sensing subsystems to the mechatronic components and to the user interface,

2. development of the recommendation system and of all the software components animating the CPSN,

3. development of an external infrastructure (cloud and environment sensing) that supports both the conception and the execution of social activities,

4. large involvement of users and stakeholder in the development of the different components and in the definition of realistic exploitation routes."

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

"During P1 and P2, the ACANTO consortium has:
1. established the project's management structure and defined data management and quality plans.
2. Completed the collection of requirements and the study on Privacy issues. Such requirements are related to the application of our both in a ""social"" context (e.g., a Museum) and
in a clinical environment. The requirement have been first sketched in a preliminary form and then refined using the prototype (at the different stages of completion).
3. Defined the basic procedures for Ethics management and their overarching principles. Based on these principles, we have produced a number of Ethic Clearance applications required by the different user studies.
4. Integrated a first group of functionalities into a first version of the prototype, which has been used to refine the requirements.
5. identified and developed a second group of functionalities, which have been integrated in the final version of the prototype of the walker.
6. Studied the state of the art on dynamic models that describe user group motion in competitive and cooperative situations and sketched the ACANTO solution, which have been implemented in the reactive planner of the walker.
7. developed the software models for user profiles, circles and activities.
8. completed the development of CPSN and recommendation systems based on the software models and on a cloud infrastructure.
9. Developed and refined the user interfaces that will be used both for the clinical applications of the FriWalk, and for the public applications of FriWalk and CPSN.
10. Set up the framework for clinical validation (e.g., certification of the walker and Ethics management procedures).
11. Started a wide range of communication activities toward the scientific community, the stakeholders and the members of the public.
12. Managed a number of contingencies materialised during the execution of the project (including Envitel Withdrawal)."

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Our evaluation on ACANTO's progress beyond the state of the art so far can be condensed in the following lines:

1. Our studies in WP1 have revealed new pathways to the analysis of the main barriers and to the development of motivation strategies.

2. Older have strong privacy concerns and require an easy interface to use to express how much privacy they want to trade to get engaged in exciting activities. In general, they tend to be prone on sharing their data only when a visible payoff is apparent.

3. Our work on competitive interaction between humans in shared spaces, has brought to the definition of mathematical models (on clothoid curves and HFSM) which are directly usable for planning and control.

4. The use of our vision-based solutions in the FriWalk produces highly accurate measurements on Gait and Stride, as well as skeleton analysis and emotion recognition, which essential for our clinical applications and can be used also for other purposes.

5. The specific mechatronic design that we adopted combined with the use of haptic interfaces allows us to develop ground-breaking algorithms for different guidance solutions such as variable stiffness guidance, guidance based on the differential action of brakes and suggestion of a correct walking speed.

The most important impacts that we expect to have are the following.

a. Evidence for the benefits of service robotics, based on proof of concept and involvement of stakeholders. At the moment we have directly involved 293 stakeholders in the walker design. Besides, a number of public appearances has increased the project visibility among different classes of stakeholders, which has further been amplified by our website and by our participation to the social media.

b, Reduction of admissions and days spent in care institutions and prolongation of time spent in own home. The consortium has identified a correct management of the hospitalisation and post-hospitalisation phase as critical for the patient recovery. This allowed us to delimit a clear area of intervention for the therapeutic functionalities of the FriWalk, for which their application could make a real difference on her functional recovery after discharge. Actual numbers will be available only after the pilot studies, but we have set the bar of our success to 50% decrease of repeated admissions to the hosptial and death of the patients.

c. Improvement in Quality of Life of older persons and of their carers. The project goal is that the 30% of participants will perceive a reduction of loneliness and this will be evaluated by administering questionnaires.

d. Global leadership in advanced solutions for active and healthy ageing. The attention attracted from international media suggest a potential public appreciation on the relevance of ACANTO's challenges ad on the originality of ACANTO's approach. The number of scientific publications produced during P1 and P2 (34 papers) is in line with the ACANTO ambitious expectations. Finally,our IPR protection actions (currently 4 patents filed) make us confident on the ACANTO potential for creating industrial innovation.

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