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Managing active and healthy aging with use of caring service robots

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MARIO (Managing active and healthy aging with use of caring service robots)

Reporting period: 2015-02-01 to 2016-07-31

Many people with dementia report that dementia affects their confidence to engage in social activities, leaving them lonely and isolated. The impact therefore is life limiting and places significant burden on individuals and societal support systems. MARIO addresses these difficult challenges through the use of service (companion) robots. This 3 year €4 million project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, within the thematic section ‘Societal Challenge on Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing’. Co-ordinated by the National University of Ireland Galway, specifically the School of Nursing & Midwifery, the project assembles a team of experts including people with dementia and dementia support groups to work collaboratively to develop the companion robot ‘Mario Kompaï’. In developing and validating the robot, three pilot studies will be undertaken where the robot will interact with older people with dementia and their caregivers. A special area of focus is to explore the use of MARIO as a tool to assist caregivers and staff in the assessment of older people with dementia. The pilots will be undertaken in long stay care/residential settings in the West of Ireland, in community settings in Stockport (UK), and in the acute hospital setting in Southern Italy.
The MARIO project will lead to advances in the use of semantic data analytics, personal and social interactions, and unique applications tailored to better connect older persons to their care providers, community, own social circle and also to their personal interests. This project, dominated and guided by a user perspective, will advance the EU’s scientific and market leadership in service (companion) robots. More information can be found on the project website at:
The overall objectives of the project are:
•To address and make progress on the challenging problems of loneliness, isolation and dementia in older persons through multi‐faceted interventions delivered by service robots
•To conduct near project length interaction with end users and assisted living environments to enable iterative development and preparation for post project uptake
•To assist caregivers and physicians in the comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA) of subjects at risk to loneliness, isolation or dementia through the use of service robots
•The use of near state of the art robotic platforms that are flexible, modular friendly, low cost and close to market ready in order to realise field contributions in the immediate future
•To make MARIO capable to support and receive “robot applications” similar to the developer and app community for smartphones. This will empower development and creativity, enable the robot to perform new functionalities over time, and support discovery and improve usefulness for end users while lowering costs
•Through novel advances in machine learning techniques and semantic analysis methods to make MARIO more personable, useful, and accepted by end users (e.g. gain perception of non‐loneliness)
•To bring MARIO service robot concepts out of the lab and into industry by addressing licensing aspects via Apache, the integration of telecommunication aspects and application hosting environment.
Work is being carried out in line with the Grant Agreement – Annex 1 namely:
•Project Year 1 review for the period between 01/02/2015 to 31/01/2016. The overall assessment by the reviewers was positive, where according to the consolidated expert report (CER) provided; the project achieved most of its objectives and milestones for the period with relatively minor deviations.
•WP1 &WP2 completed.
•17 Deliverables submitted. An additional deliverable not part of the Grant Agreement, D12.1 also submitted, as requested by EU.
•3 Milestones reached, namely: Milestone 1 – Iterative RDI Cycle Begins (M5), Milestone 2 – 11 Kompaï Platforms Ready & Iteration Begins (M12) [*Note1 below] and Milestone 3 – Validation Begins (M18).
Number of robots changed from 12 to 11 in this milestone as discussed and agreed with the PO.
*Note2 - Unanticipated challenges related to Ethics:The current and ongoing changing structure of health and social care within Stockport following moves to form a more integrated Health and Social Care Service under a new entity, have identified unexpected ethical challenges for the MARIO project. This new entity has to be compliant not only with the regulations and approach of the Council but also that of the Local Health Care Trust. Therefore, it emerged that the research ethics application must comply with NHS regulations in the UK and be submitted through the UK Integrated Research Application System (IRAS).
The project ambition was built upon six lines of excellence.
1. Building resilience, rehabilitation and understanding the effects of loneliness, building resilience and rehabilitation for Persons with Dementia (PWD) (STO 1)
Status:48 interviews with PWD, and 92 caregivers conducted to capture the impact of loneliness and isolation and identify strategies which could be embedded in MARIO to overcome same; Reviewing scientific literature on strategies to reduce loneliness, promote social connectedness and enhance acceptability of robots; Developed MARIO applications to deliver psycho‐social interventions that aim to reduce loneliness. Formation of and consultation with the Expert Advisory Board to provide guidance on how best to reduce loneliness.
2. Service Robot Enabled Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA) and Multidimensional Prognosis Index calculation (STO 2)
Status : Collecting direct experiences and scientific evidence from the literature to perform CGA;2 video recordings and 3 audio recording about CGA administration performed; CGA Questions developed.The model of a Health Status Index drafted. MARIO’s CGA application requirements defined.
3. Frameworks for Ethics and Evidence of Claims (STO 5)
Status : Evaluated the scientific literature on the ethical and privacy debates regarding care robotics. Explored ethical claims and concerns with key stakeholders; embedding an ethical framework to guide the design and future validation process.
4. Cognitive interaction abilities, behavioral and social skills (STO 3)
Status: An analysis of the top current frameworks performed to detect the best tools to work with the cognitive abilities of the robot. The ChatScript project consulted and the developed chat engine downloaded, installed and tested. Some cognitive modules developed to test its performance. A framework based on the publish-subscribe message pattern defined and employed for local tests.
5. Use of Semantics for language, space and moods recognition (STO 4)
Status: First version of the Mario Ontology Network (MON) sketched. Analysis of the software and the hardware needed to support MON completed.Techniques to assess the sentiment of PWD explored. A workshop and a challenge related to semantic sentiment analysis technologies organised within the Extended Semantic Web Conference (ESWC) 2016.
6. Robot Applications (STO 3) Status:The idea of robots as platforms will inevitably lower the cost for developers to get their hands on robots and develop applications. The applications are expected to add extra value to the robots themselves making them more useful for larger audiences.