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GrowMeUp

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - GrowMeUp (GrowMeUp)

Reporting period: 2017-02-01 to 2018-01-31

The GrowMeUp system is an affordable robotic platform, whose purpose is to increase the years of independence, active living and the quality of life of older persons with light physical or mental health problems who live alone at home. The system will be able to learn older persons needs and habits over time to enhance existing or learn new services, with the purpose of efficiently compensate for older persons capabilities degradation and to gradually adapt its interaction over time. The system will be introduced early enough to the elderly, with the aim of creating a positive long-term relationship between the older person and the robot, considering friends, family and caregivers as active collaborators with whom the robot can interact with. The robot is connected to a virtual care network that provides for continuous care, motivation and education to the older persons of how to best use the platform. The four key innovations are as follows:

Cloud Technologies aims:
• To enable different robots to share knowledge continuously and extend their capabilities with reduced effort;
• To capitalize on information made available from other robots, from the elderly or from caregivers;
• To reduce the computational burden on the robot, relieving more demanding tasks from the robot.

Behavior and Emotional Understanding aims:
• To create a scalable and adaptable mathematical model of the elderly typical behavior;
• To enable the system to predict and identify erroneous situations, triggering timely and appropriate services;
• To empower elderly people with a better management of their lives;
• To understand the elderly and provide adequate motivation and guidance on their daily tasks;

Intelligent Dialoguing aims:
• To enable older people to effortlessly and intuitively interact with the system using natural dialogues;
• To understand elderly and use context information so that the robot is able to adapt its interaction and discourse;
• To increase the acceptance by elderly people;

Personalized care aims:
• To provide a set of services that are served differently to all users, according to their preferences and profiles;
• To create a positive long-term relationship between the elderly and the robot, empowering the older person with a personalized robot companion and assistant;
• To foster the integration of the older person within its social circles through the virtual care team network.

All participants in the GrowMeUp interdisciplinary consortium (Figure 1) collaborate in complementary national and international networks, including EU funded projects. These will provide a platform for the continuous exchange of cutting-edge results and novel ideas in these research areas. Moreover, members of the consortium have bilateral collaborations with (non-) European research groups and companies. This illustrates that the present project will be embedded in a broad research network of on-going collaborations on topics of high relevance to the project.

Figure 1: GrowMeUp Consortium at Zuyderland Facilities during the Kick-Off Meeting
The prototypes of the robotic platform are at elderly homes and care centres in Portugal and in the Netherlands (Caritas and Zuyderland end-users respectively). The Cloud Knowledge-base is hosted at University of Cyprus servers, which exposes all necessary methods to interact with the database, but also some of the services such as medication and agenda management or notifications. An existing platform has been enhanced to accommodate the requirements of the GrowMeUp project. The enhancements are divided in three different areas of intervention: 1) aesthetic; 2) Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) hardware; 3) External Sensor Networks connecting to the robot. Bellow, the GrowMeUp robotic platform is illustrated in Figure 2.

Figure 2: GrowMeUp robotic platform external appearance.

The robotic platform is equipped with an intelligent dialoguing system that allows elderly to interact with the robot in an effortless and natural fashion. We continuously tested the robot dialogue interface with the Google Cloud API for speech recognition and the Cerevoice speech synthesizer that were using in both Portuguese and Dutch Trial sites with positive feedback from users. The robot is able to perceive information from the interaction with the user, triggering different responses from the system to the user, mainly through different service categories: Care & Wellness, Guidance and Education/Leisure. Information coming from an external sensors, from the cloud knowledge base and from the robot itself is also taken into consideration in the process of understanding the elderly needs. This understanding is enabled thanks to a set of learning mechanisms enable a robot to learn new objects, new users and algorithms for detecting falls or selecting appropriate services from the cloud. This makes the robot equipped to respond specifically to each older persons needs according to her/his preferences and needs.
The main goal of the GrowMeUp project is to increase the independence and quality of life of elderly persons at their homes, with three main socio-economic impacts: 1) increase the usability and acceptance of ICT robotic technologies by society in general and the ageing population in particular; 2) increase the sustainability of the care system by providing a system that is expected to optimize the need for care support and to help elderly people to live independently and be active until latter stages of their lives; 3) create and promote new products and services within different market segments within the AAL domain, where the 3 industry partners have specific interests in different outcomes of the project. More specifically PAL robotics in the area of social robotic platforms, Citard Services within the area of ICT service provisions and cloud technologies and finally ProbaYes is interested in entering the AAL market with learning algorithms applicable to different AAL systems.

The robotic platform was validated through the execution of 9 use cases at participant end-users. Quantitative analysis of results indicate that both older persons and formal / informal caregivers find the robot useful and motivating towards a more independent and active life. However, we found that advances are still needed to achieve full autonomy, specifically in terms of the maturity of Navigation technologies in highly cluttered environments with low-cost hardware and additional dialogue workflow improvements in crowded environments.

Figure 3: Robots working at each of the end-users.

Please visit our project public website:

http://www.growmeup.eu

List of partners and main contacts:

UNIVERSITY OF COIMBRA (Coordinator) - Jorge Dias / GrowMeUp Management - Jorge@deec.uc.pt / growmeup@uc.pt

UNVERSITY OF GENEVA - Dimitri Konstantas - Dimistri.konstantas@unige.ch

ZUYDERLAND- Cindy Wings - c.wings@orbisconcern.nl

UNIVERSITY OF CYPRUS - George Samaras - cssamara@cs.ucy.ac.cy

PAL ROBOTICS - Francesco Ferro - Francesco.ferro@pal-robotics.com

PROBAYES - Kamel Mekhnacha - Kamel.Mekhnacha@probayes.com

CITARD SERVICES LTD. - Eleni Christodoulou - cseleni@citard-serv.com

CARITAS - Carina Dantas - carinadantas@caritascoimbra.pt
Results for Fall detection
GrowMeUp robotic platform external appearance.
GrowMeUp Consortium at Zuyderland Facilities during the Kick-Off Meeting
Results for Object Recognition
Robots working at each of the end-users.
Results for Fall detection
Robots working at each of the end-users.