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Multiple-actOrs Virtual Empathic CARgiver for the Elder

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - MoveCare (Multiple-actOrs Virtual Empathic CARgiver for the Elder)

Reporting period: 2018-07-01 to 2020-03-31

According the UN Department of Economic and Social affairs there were 901 million people aged over 60 in 2015, projected to rise to 1.4 billion in 2030 The overall size of the EC population is projected to not only be larger by 2060 but also much older than now. The economic dependency ratio defined as the ratio between those typically not in the labor force (the dependent part) and those typically in the labor force (the productive part). In the next years there will be more persons not in the labor force rather than labor force
These reprsts stress that governments must ensure policies that enable older people to continue participating in society avoiding that they retire in nursery homes too early. MOVECARE ambition is to provide a revolutionary contribution to overcome this issue.
MOVECARE develops and field-tests an innovative multi-actor platform, that integrates an existing robotic system with domotic sensors network, smart objects, a virtual community and an activity center, to provide assistance, transparent monitoring and activities to the elder at home through a full-fledged, modular, personalized, and compliant approach that does not require the elder to wear any particular device or to change habits.
MoveCare takes care of integrating suitable user and system oriented metrics to assess improvement in multi-actor system abilities as described by the Multi-Annual Road map by SPARC.
We have identified all the users and the required functionalities. A User Centred Design approach has been adopted with a) an in depth analysis of the literature on elders living independently. b) meetings at KORIAN and RMHS structures where elders live independently followed by plenary discussion. c) extensive collection of users needs through interviews and focus groups. A key output of this work has been the definition of scenarios of use, each involving several components, that have served as north star for development.
Functional specifications have then been translated into technical specifications and to the concrete implementation of the MOVECARE components. In particular,
- Giraff.X first prototype has been realized. It implements ROS middleware with a robust navigation system; it hosts localization of lost objects through RF-ID.
- A micro-architecture, with a micro-controller connected with sensors (pressure, angular velocity, linear acceleration, pressure) and a micro-transmitter BLE, has been realized and tested. It has been embedded inside an anti-stress ball and a smart pen. Digital tablet version of cognitive tests (TMT-A, TMT-B and Bells) has been developed and tested. The infrastructure of domotic sensors and distributed command system have also been developed.
- The infrastructure of the Community Based Activity Centre has been developed: it provides both activities and audio-video of players and runs on different devices. Several cognitive and physical activities have been developed and tested. Gamification and automatic narration are being explored since the second year. The Virtual community has been implemented as a cloud application that provides: users available for activities, suggestion for outdoor activities, collection of past memories and supports compliance with therapy.
- A first prototype of the Virtual Caregiver has been realized and its communication with all the components verified.
To make technical development most effective, particular care has been put on the integration of the different components- Several early rounds of testing with elders have been realized to maximize the effectiveness of the components implemented and results reported to the whole consortium.
Particular attention in the most promising activities and channels to disseminate MOVECARE results has been paid. Ethical analysis of the intricacies has been carried out, critical elements have been identified and reported into a comprehensive document for ethical submission for the pilot to be carried out in due time.
Giraff.X robot is improved from being tele-operated to being an autonomous body, navigating by RGB-D cameras and 2D laser scanner and guided by the VC. The use of small RF-ID tags attached to some everyday objects in combination with a RF-ID antenna mounted on Giraff.X is explored to assist elders to find lost objects with an innovative approach.
Specific clinical indexes of frailty are measured completely unobtrusively through smart objects: grip force through an anti-stress ball and gait step length and stability through insoles. A smart pen has been developed to collect motion and pressure data (“motion signature”) in normal hand-writing, providing indexes related to both physical and cognitive degradation. The real-time analysis of the voice picked up by the distributed microphone system and the smart phone is being explored to early detect cognitive decline. Along the same line, we have developed a new modality of providing clinical tests along specific cognitive dimensions: episodic and prospective memory, apathy, temporal orientation and confabulation, through distributed spot questions provided by the VC to the elder in different days. This new monitoring approach could be called transparent to the user because the elder is not aware of being monitored as the monitoring system is completely pervasive and distributed in the environment. Moveover, it allows acquiring the elder natural behavior without splitting the monitoring stage from the ordinary life and may set the ground for novel early detection of neurological decline.
For therapy adherence, we aim at a more effective reminder system, based on a multi-media approach.
We have developed a novel concept of a Community Based Activity Center: a multi-device platform that allows elders, who live in different houses, to do activity together and at the same time interact audio-video. The activity center becomes in fact a social engine. We also explore gamification in AAL setting as a tool to boost motivation to use the CBAC.

With this innovation MOVECARE impacts forseen are the following:
• To provide a multi-actors heterogeneous system to support the independent living of the elders, in terms of monitoring, assistance and suggestions. MOVECARE assembles off-the-shelf components in a robust and reliable way to get a low-cost system that can be deployed massively at elders’ home.
• To realize an autonomous integrated system with a robust design against errors or inaction of any specific actor. Redundancy of components in the MOVECARE system is exploited through technology equivalence, providing multiple devices and modalities for the different functionalities.
• To develop and test novel methodologies and metrics, both functional to describe user experience and technical to characterize the system functioning, for the assessment of a heterogenous multi-actors system.
• To increase elders safety and confidence in living independently at home longer by constant monitoring everyday life in a completely transparent and unobtrusive way.
• To study a new care model of elders living independently that empowers both the elders and informal caregivers, strengthening the relationship between users and caregivers producing a better coordination of the care.
• To empower elders. MOVECARE changes the personal behaviour and attitude to improve lifestyle.
• To improve social inclusion through a virtual community that connects elders and promotes socialization.
MOVECARE components and their connections