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ENRICHME Report Summary

Project ID: 643691
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ENRICHME (Enabling Robot and assisted living environment for Independent Care and Health Monitoring of the Elderly)

Reporting period: 2015-03-01 to 2016-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

ENRICHME is designed to enrich the day-today experiences of elderly people at home by means of technologies that enable health monitoring, complementary care and social support, helping them to remain active and independent for longer and enhancing their quality of life: the ENRICHME system consists of an interactive mobile robot integrated within a domestic smart environment and RFID ecosystem, for long-term human monitoring and interaction. The robot platform in ENRICHME is capable of moving autonomously in the elderly person’s house, periodically but discreetly monitoring the activities of the person and some of his/her physiological parameters. To achieve this, the robot is in constant communication with a smart-home system comprising RFID-tagged objects and various sensors in strategic points of the environment. Typical services will include reminders about appointments or important activities, which are communicated by the robot using the most appropriate voice tone and visual signals, thanks to its adaptive human-robot interaction capabilities. It will also enable the identification of potentially dangerous situations by detecting anomalies in the person’s behaviour. The human robot interaction (HRI) will also explore motivation and success in learning by applying concepts from game theory and collective decision making, to dynamically optimize the interaction parameters and to provide encouragement through time-extended personalized protocols.

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

The first 18 project months were mostly devoted to the identification and development of new technological solutions, which can be considered as preparatory to the following testing and validation activities. In this sense, it was necessary to create conditions at the early introduction stage allowing the final users (elderly persons and caregivers) to accept the robot and eliminate concerns regarding the ability to operate it. The design of the ENRICHME system was therefore defined carefully, taking into account not only the complexity of the ethical and legal issues, but also the needs and expectations of the final users.
For this reasons users were involved in the definition of system requirements with a mixed method (qualitative and quantitative evaluation). Based on the literature review and the expertise of the ENRICHME project partners, the Users’ Needs, Requirements and Abilities Questionnaire (UNRAQ) was developed. The UNRAQ was then published and adopted by other scientific institutions.
Based on the results of this investigation and on the comparison with other EU projects, the functional and non-functional requirements were identified.
Furthermore, starting from the scenarios presented in the project proposal, the user studies in ENRICHME and other EU-projects that focused on social robotics and AAL for people with MCI, 4 personas were created (typical people with MCI) and 7 use cases were extracted that could be most helpful to them, in order to stay independent in their own homes.
Requirements were then reviewed according to the identified use cases and the ethical and legal issues analyzed at national and European level.
The architecture design of the whole system was based on these requirements. considering the current technological progresses and feasibility, the standards and interoperability issues and the suggestions from the experts involved in the project Advisory Board.
Services provided by the ENRICHME system were then defined and delivered by an integrated and coordinated execution of tasks, mostly implemented as software modules for human and environment monitoring, intelligent reasoning and robot control, as well as human-computer and robot interaction.
Perception algorithms for Human Robot Interaction (HRI), such as face and facial expression recognition, were implemented for the platform. Interactive applications such as cognitive games were developed for the touch screen interface of the robot.
Some experiments were conducted during the realization of the ENRICHME system to preliminary test the system at technical level: two experiments based on thermal camera imaging to detect stress and deception; another one on influence of personality on task execution when being reminded by a robot; one on teaching healthy nutrition habits with the Kompaï robot and the effects of stress and user’s personality.
A few preliminary interactions with real users in one of LACE Housing’s residential schemes were organized and analyzed to improve the system.
Also algorithms for autonomous localization, mapping and navigation for the robot were implemented. The software related to the services for assisted living was realized. The ENRICHME’s Networked Care Platform was created, technically tested and delivered. It is now accessible on web through a validated registration.
Testing partners were committed in the refinement of subject selection criteria and in the design of testing activities and procedures then submitted to the local ethical committee to gain the approval for testing activities implementation.
The AAL testing sites started to identify enroll patients and caregivers for tests.
Achievements during the period were disseminated through scientific publications, articles in journals, press releases, TV news, workshops, conference lectures, project website, Twitter and Facebook ENRICHME pages.

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)

The achievement of the ENRICHME’s research objectives is expected to impact on three main areas:
● Well-being and health of elderly people by improving the quality of life of citizens with cognitive deficits and that of their careers.While robots cannot replace humans, we seek to understand the degree in which robots can augment humans, either by directly interacting with the person, or by providing domestic assistance to elderly people. Further social impact will be on the families of the older persons, by improving their capacity to care for him/her whilst giving them more time to do other activities (e.g. go shopping leaving the older person at home).
● Socio-economic burdens by reducing costs of healthcare system for home assistance. The attendance of frail users currently requires human presence, monitoring and care by nurses or informal careers, which is obviously a high economic burden. (Almost) continuous presence and monitoring by caregivers is not possible, either at home or in retirement facilities.
● Scientific community by proposing novel technological solutions for real-world applications of robotics and Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) in the context of elderly care, and by validating long-term studies of these solutions.

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