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Über dieses Buch

In this book, leading authors in the field discuss development of Ambient Assisted Living. The contributions have been chosen and invited at the 5th AAL congress, Berlin. It presents new technological developments which support the autonomy and independence of individuals with special needs. As the technological innovation raises also social issues, the book addresses micro and macro economical aspects of assistive systems and puts an additional emphasis on the ethical and legal discussion. The presentation is supported by real world examples and applications.



Sensor Technology


Application-Oriented Fusion and Aggregation of Sensor Data

A glance at the today’s research and industry community shows that AAL installations are normally offered as “complete solutions”, often including overlapping of almost equal or homogeneous sensors. Thus, redundant sensors are integrated in one single space when purchasing different AAL solutions, leading to an increase of acquisition costs and higher data volume. In order to counteract this problem, we present a method for application-oriented fusion and aggregation of sensor data. Here, the main contribution is a reference model and a semi-automatic approach for the determination of applicability of sensors to predefined AAL applications.
Gee Fung Sit, Chenbin Shen, Holger Storf, Cristian Hofmann

An Ambient Assisted Living Monitoring System for Activity Recognition – Results from the First Evaluation Stages

In a study 100 households will be equipped with a low-cost ambient monitoring system for activity recognition. These monitoring systems should identify emergency situations and evaluate the health state of a person. Complemented by the support of service providers from the area of nursing, additional reference information through interviews and self-documentation is collected. Through a central web platform all data is bundled and linked together. We will present initial results from the evaluation in the form of a preliminary study with 14 subjects. They form the basis for the rollout in 100 households.
Sebastian Chiriac, Bruno Rosales

Automatic Recognition of Emergencies with the Help of Optical and Acoustic Sensors

Within this article a sensor-based safety system is presented which enables an automatic recognition of emergency situations in every day domestic ambiance and triggers autonomously alerting measures without explicit user interaction. The development is performed in the research project sens@home [1] which is funded by BMBF (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research). Within the scope of this project a requirements’ analysis had been accomplished first by doing workshops, interviews and questionnaires with potential user groups. Considering the determined demands and requirements, potential adequate sensors have been selected. Here, the main focus was on reasonably priced and contactless sensors which assure a quick recognition. To meet these demands acoustic and optical 3D sensors turned out to be a promising solution. In the second step, by means of practical laboratory experiments, appropriate evaluation algorithms have been developed in order to combine data from several sensors and to elaborate scene-based accident recognition. The advantage of this solution based on low priced optical and acoustic sensors is, that typical emergencies can be detected automatically within a few seconds and there is neither a need for any physical contact or interaction of its users nor any expensive alterations as it can be build in cheaply in every kind of living space. In addition, a large part of the evaluation can already be accomplished in the sensor whereby no data will have to be saved or transmitted.
Marius Pflüger, Julia Kroll, Barbara Steiner

Assistance and Robotic Systems


Work Life in the Light of the Demographic Change: Case Study Force Assistive Device for Craftsmen

The trend of aging society has impacts on all parts of daily life. For instance work lifetime is expected to increase and in combination with rising quality and efficiency demands there is need for new technologies, working processes and assistance systems. For the latter, applied to the domain of craftsmen, systems seem to be reasonable which allow force assistance, augmentation, increase in safety and/or guidance functions. Required technology blocks to implement such functions are mainly available already today. This article is dealing with force assistance and describes an electro–mechanical system – the demonstrator of a so called “3rd Arm” – which actively supports the user when handling heavy power tools. The “3rd Arm” consists mainly of cost–effective mass–market compliant components. It is attached to a harness at the waist of the craftsman and relieves craftsmen from hard and fatiguing works. Two functions were implemented and evaluated. First the compensation of gravitational forces of the tool by means of a force control in order to achieve an utmost transparent behaviour. Secondly, so called “Virtual Fixtures” were used to implement a positioning assistance when repeating tasks are to be fulfilled at the same working height.
Steffen Petereit, Amos Albert, Nidhal Jeridi, Richard Schoenleber, Christof Rebmann, Heike Vallery

Criteria for Quality and Safety while Performing Unobtrusive Domestic Mobility Assessments Using Mobile Service Robots

A new concept for safely performing and qualitatively evaluating assessments in domestic unsupervised environments, especially when utilizing mobile service robots, is presented. The presented approach is based on the idea that classical geriatric assessments, especially from the domain of mobility, may be divided in components which happen naturally throughout the day in domestic environments. Those components are measured separately and are recombined to com-plete assessment tests later on. In order for physicians to decide how reliable assessment results from the domestic do-main are, we define technical quality criteria for the components of the Timed Up&Go assessment test. The approach is evaluated within an experiment in a living lab utilizing sensors, especially a laser range scanner, equipped with a mobile robot. Results show that the presented approach may be used to separate sensor measurements promising good assess-ment results from those containing insufficient data. Additionally, using mobile robots to perform assessments in domestic environments holds the potential danger for the inhabitant to stumble over the robot. Therefore, the paper also evaluates the aspect of inhabitants’ safety during domestic assessments based on the experiment’s data. A novel approach to navigate safely using the previously presented approach of optimal observation lots (OOL) is presented.
Thomas Frenken, Melvin Isken, Nils Volkening, Melina Brell, Andreas Hein

User Acceptance of a Mobile LED Projector on a Socially Assistive Robot

A prototype of a LED projector module mounted on and carried by the humanoid robot NAO was iteratively developed in the KSERA project. It offers an additional visual information channel for the users (text, graphic, and video) by being able to come to the user where ever they are. Several mock ups were built to explore advantages and challenges of the mobile projector solution. Ten users, comprising six older persons and four experts from the care domain participated in laboratory tests to explore the user acceptance and expected usefulness. The novel projector solution was also compared with already existing solutions such as stationary screens. It could be shown that the novel solution of the mobile projector was well accepted bringing added value from the points of view of older persons as well as care experts. Challenges remain regarding suitable surfaces needed for projection and the currently limited brightness.
Paul Panek, Georg Edelmayer, Peter Mayer, Christian Beck, Marjo Rauhala

Activity Recognition


Different sADL Day Patterns Recorded by an Interaction-System Based on Radio Modules

In this contribution different behavior patterns of different people are being analyzed. They are recorded by a system with small units based on a microcontroller and radio modules. Due to the demographic change, there is a need in Germany for systems that give elderly people the opportunity to live an autonomous life for as long as possible. There is a great demand of supporting systems that are able to ensure medical safety for these people. In order to determine the health state of a person an obvious choice would be to draw conclusions from the behavior patterns which can be deduced from the ADL (Activities of Daily Living). Different technologies are available for recording ADL. Some of them are presented in this paper. Following that, the system “eventlogger” will be introduced and the interaction of patients, mapped in a geriatric day hospital, and the resulting behavioral patterns, will be analyzed.
Jakob Neuhaeuser, Moritz Wilkening, Janine Diehl-Schmid, Tim C. Lueth

Smart Meter: Detect and Individualize ADLs

Smart meters offer a low-cost, simple, and unobtrusive method to design monitoring systems for the detection of emergency situations in homes. The aim of this paper is to automatically detect the activity (Activity of Daily Living, ADL) of occupants based on such data. The approach trains a Semi-Markov-Model that describes the daily use of appliances, such as domestic appliances, sanitation, and heating system. Human habits are detected within the Semi Markov Model and rated by a similarity measure that calculates the probabilities for the ADL executed by the occupant based on the appliances he uses. This rating influences the probability for the ADL and permits model adaptation to individual user behavior. Considering the timeline of appliance usage, the probability estimations of each model state allow individualized and situation depending conclusions about the ongoing activity of the occupant.
Jana Clement, Joern Ploennigs, Klaus Kabitzsch

A Novel Indoor Localization Approach Using Dynamic Changes in Ultrasonic Echoes

In this paper a novel approach to continuous and unobtrusive localization of a person inside his or her domestic environment based on ultrasonic sensors is presented. The approach uses half rings with ultrasonic sensors mounted on the ceiling of the environment. The person’s position is computed by analyzing the detected echoes of the available sensors. After distinguishing between echoes caused by the static environment and echoes caused by the person, only the last-mentioned echoes are utilized to determine the position. This position can then be used for further analyses such as mo-bility assessments or for providing location dependent services.
Enno-Edzard Steen, Marco Eichelberg, Wolfgang Nebel, Andreas Hein

Unobtrusive Fall Detection Using 3D Images of a Gaming Console: Concept and First Results

Image based fall detection is costly and rated obtrusive by those being monitored. The approach presented in this paper uses a cost efficient gaming console for 3D image generation. The image itself covers a range of about up to 30cm above the floor and allows for a nearly invisible positioning e.g. under the bed. Image analysis allows classifying events like “feet in front of the bed”, “fall”, “leaving the room” and “activity in the room”. For use in nursing homes and in home environments a system design has been implemented which is compatible with the guidelines of the Continua Health Alliance and fulfils data privacy requirements. The system supports the nursing home in its obligations for documentation of events. It was successfully tested in a laboratory environment and in a small scale test using three rooms of a nursing home in order to prepare for a large scale trial.
Christian Marzahl, Peter Penndorf, Ilvio Bruder, Martin Staemmler

Evaluation, User Acceptance and Usability


Rule-Based Approach for Simulating Age-Related Usability Problems

Ambient Assisted Living requires easy to use interfaces, making usability a critical feature. Because usability evaluations are resource and time consuming, several automation efforts have been made, one of which is the simulation of users interacting with UIs. In this article, we present ongoing work of a tool for automated usability simulations that allows simulating agerelated deficits. The tool is specifically intended to be used by IT practitioners, i.e. in difference to cognitive architectures that allow similar simulations, this tool does not require extensive knowledge in cognitive science. A core component of the simulation tool is its rule-based User Model (UM). During a simulated interaction, the UM selects actions causing a model of the UI to change states until a specified task goal is satisfied or the UM “gives up”. Interactions of the UM are calculated from probabilities which are informed by rules drawing on user and UI attributes. Using a Monte Carlo approach, the simulation is iterated, resulting in a set of task solutions where non-optimal solutions may indicate usability problems. By analyzing which rules led the UM to interact non-optimally, our approach can offer hints on how to improve the UI. While our approach cannot render user-based evaluations unnecessary, our aim is to substantially reduce the effort involved in usability testing of UIs as well as to provide an automated tool that can be used early on in the development process.
Aaron Ruß, Michael Quade, Michael Kruppa, Mathias Runge

Usable User Interfaces for Persons with Memory Impairments

Taking active part in the self-serve society is required as long as possible. Information technology can be used to support this. However, little or no familiarity with information technology represents a major barrier. Another serious hindrance is low accessibility of user interfaces, i.e. solutions which fail to follow the principles of healthy and intuitive design. In this paper, we present design principles that can make an AAL self-service technology for elderly accessible. These principles form a set of guidelines that has been applied in the development of the assistive technology Mylife. Mylife aims to support independence for older people with reduced cognitive function by giving them access to simple and intuitive services that are adapted to their individual needs and wishes. Mylife uses services available on the Internet, such as calendar, photo album, music, news and communication, and presents them together on everyday devices with a touch screen. Mylife is flexible and can be gradually modified to follow the user’s cognitive development. Caregivers administer the setup, personalisation and content management of the Mylife product via a web-interface. The web-interface allows the caregiver (secondary end-user) to administer the setup of the primary end-users’ Mylife device, including personalisation and daily content management.
Riitta Hellman

Tablets for Seniors – An Evaluation of a Current Model (iPad)

Internet usage in Austria varies between age groups in a way that only about 30% of older users above 60 have access to Internet services compared to nearly 100% in the age group between 14 and 30. This digital divide exists because of technical, social and economical barriers that affect especially older users. Weather or not current tablets have the potential to minimize these barriers was the central question behind the usability study described in this paper. The study undertaken involved 11 seniors (60+) and targeted to evaluate the general usability and acceptance of a selected tablet. The results of the study show high acceptance and satisfaction rates among the user group and hence suggest a future focus on the development of tablet based applications for seniors as well as initiatives to conquer the information demand of the target group.
Franz Werner, Katharina Werner, Johannes Oberzaucher

Two Steps Forward and One Step Back? on the Acceptance and Use of AAL Technology in Households

Many projects in the field of Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) employ home automation technology and the procurement of domestic support services to enable older adults to live independently as long as possible in their familiar domicile. The specific needs of individuals and the constraints of the elderly, to actually use these technologies and services, are however, often not observed. In two pilot projects, the acceptance of home automation and AAL technology and of services was examined by sociologist of the University of Kaiserslautern. The willingness to use the technologies and the potential use of services are high, but the consent often applies to “other” people or “for later”. In order to avoid disappointment in practical projects, a consistent focus on the target group is crucial.
Lynn Schelisch, Annette Spellerberg



Taxonomy-Based Assessment of Personal Health Monitoring in Ambient Assisted Living

Introducing Ambient Assistive Living (AAL) systems onto the market is a challenge. An interdisciplinary evaluation of system design should be integrated into the development process at an early stage. A toolkit to facilitate the evaluation process for developers as well as stakeholders and policy makers is presented. This toolkit includes a taxonomy that outlines the technological traits of personal health monitoring (PHM) and application fields of PHM within the AAL domain. The taxonomy can be used either within the toolkit, or as a stand-alone tool; its aim is to achieve a better mutual understanding of the concepts used in the dynamic field of AAL.
Gunnar Nußbeck

Data Stream Management in the AAL: Universal and Flexible Preprocessing of Continuous Sensor Data

Continuous and potentially infinite sequences of data—so-called data streams—are processed in many applications of Ambient Assisted Living (AAL). The preprocessing of such high frequent data is normally done by fixed code or hard wired hardware. This leads on the one hand to an inflexible and extensive to change processing and on the other hand to very specialized solutions. Like databases data stream management systems (DSMS) offer a universal processing of data, but are designed for highly frequent and potentially infinite data streams. Thus, DSMS are an alternative approach for processing sensor data. Therefore, this paper shows how DSMS can be used in the AAL for an universal and flexible preprocessing of sensor data. For this, DSMS and its features are introduced and we show which advantages over existing solutions a DSMS can offer for future researches in AAL.
Dennis Geesen, Melina Brell, Marco Grawunder, Daniela Nicklas, Hans-Jürgen Appelrath

TinySEP – A Tiny Platform for Ambient Assisted Living

Many AAL software platforms developed in the last years are not widely accepted outside of their projects, because of their high complexity. Moreover, many successful software frameworks are based on the thin architecture approach: they implement only basic functionality, being more flexible in practical use cases. In this work we present the Tiny Smart Environment Platform. TinySEP is a compact platform, which makes use of two approved concepts of the software engineering. It combines the benefits of complex modular platforms and proprietary monolithic solutions.
Sebastian Wille, Ivan Shcherbakov, Luiza de Souza, Norbert Wehn

Telemedical ILOG Listeners: Information Logistics Processing of Telemedical Values Using CEP and HL7

Optimal healthcare supply today relies extensively on the usage of technology to reduce the emerging costs and ensure high quality standards. Especially telemedicine, as a technology that offers the chance to optimize medical data transfer, is regarded as the promising strategy. As a result of the all-encompassing interconnection of healthcare sources, the actors like physicians are confronted with a growing amount of information, also known as information overload. Therefore we propose a new approach, according to the principles of information logistics (ILOG). Based upon complex event processing (CEP) we investigated the concept of Telemedical ILOG Listener (TIL) to process telemedical events in a very modular way. A telemedical event includes the medical data, attributes necessary for CEP and attributes to represent the dimension of ILOG. To standardize the representation of telemedical events we introduce the HL7 Telemedical Event Format.
Sven Meister, Valentin Stahlmann



Context Management for Self-adaptive User Interfaces in the Project MyUI

Good Human-Computer-Interfaces are necessary for an uncomplicated and reasonable use of software and devices, but depend heavily on the special capabilities of the user. Because it is nearly impossible for a “universal” design to fit to the very broad set of different persons, the appearance and behavior should be customized to the individual user. Current approaches are trying to give users the ability to customize the user interface by providing them detailed configuration abilities, which consumes a lot of time and is hard especially for older people. Also difficulties arise for older people and people with certain limitations, because their capabilities change with aging or with advancing deceases. This makes a row of subsequent adjustments to the Human-Computer-Interface necessary. The MyUI project funded by the EU tries to develop a framework to overcome this problems by using adaptive interfaces.
Oliver Strnad, Artur Felic, Andreas Schmidt

RehaWeb - An Information System for Cardiologic Rehabilitation Assistance in the Third Phase

The RehaWeb system aims at motivating heart patients in rehab with a combination of social networking features, editorial contents as well as mobile support and monitoring. Hikes on selected routes can be planned with RehaWeb community friends. A smartphone application guides the way and collects vitals. All data is transmitted to the RehaWeb server, where it can be accessed as exercise diary by the patient and medical staff. The personal progress and other topics can be discussed with other user in the forums.
Oliver Dohndorf, Andre Göring, Heiko Krumm, Andre Schneider, Aike Sommer, Stephan Sladek, Clemens Busch, Jan-Dirk Hoffmann, Detlev Willemsen

3D Interaction in AAL Environments Based on Ontologies

The interaction between a technical system and the user is a main issue in information technology. In the field of Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) this is even more important due to the physical or mental restrictions of the users. Explicitly controlling a technically heterogeneous environment like a living area can be very complicated (e.g. using remote controls with complex interfaces) or even physically annoying (e.g. search remote controls or need to walk to a light switch). Thus, it is desirable to control the environment by simple pointing gestures or by using a centralized device. The base for this is a valid 3D representation of the environment including all required elements. In this paper, we present a new approach of an ontological representation of the real world and the dynamic service in-vocation according to this ontological 3D information. This concept is further described and validated by two application examples using a 3D GUI at a Tablet-PC and pointing gestures to control the AAL Space.
Alexander Marinc, Carsten Stockloew, Saied Tazari

Training Systems


SmartSenior’s Interactive Trainer - Development of an Interactive System for a Home-Based Fall-Prevention Training for Elderly People

In this article we picture the process of development for an interactive training system for the prevention of falls for older people in the project SmartSenior. Initially, we will depict the medical background of falls, which is the basis of the user-centered design of our device. Following a thoroughly evaluation of evidenced-based therapeutic strategies and a detailed requirement analysis, an interdisciplinary team consisting of physical therapists, medical practitioners and system engineers developed a technical architecture to enable older people to train their individual functional deficits via a home based telemedical infrastructure. Furthermore, we describe the sensor technology, feedback system used for motivation and correction of the trainee and the security model for the transmission of movement data to an assisting physical therapist.
Michael John, Stefan Klose, Gerd Kock, Michael Jendreck, Richard Feichtinger, Ben Hennig, Norbert Reithinger, Jörn Kiselev, Mehmet Gövercin, Elisabeth Steinhagen-Thiessen, Stefan Kausch, Marco Polak, Boris Irmscher

Serious Gaming: Enhancing the Quality of Life among the Elderly through Play with the Multimedia Platform SilverGame

The objective of the SilverGame project is to develop a multimedia platform tailored specifically to the needs of the elderly by connecting play-based applications with web-based information and communication services to encourage mental and physical well-being as well as social interaction among the elderly. The project aims to offer users the possibility to enjoy within their homes, leisure activities such as singing, exercise and driving either alone or jointly with other users. They will also be able to access or exchange information using integrated online channels. A prototype multimedia platform and three serious games which can be played using the TV set are being developed by the project partners. The application is operated using an intuitive touch screen interface on a handy tablet computer designed specifically for the elderly target group. The multimedia platform is intended to be offered as a complete system including easy-to-install and easy-to-use hardware. The applications and the services will be available to buy on a modular basis permitting further upgrading at any time.
Joachim Senger, Timo Wälisch, Michael John, Hui Wang, Ahmed Nabil Belbachir, Bernhard Kohn, Andreas Smurawski, Reha-Zentrum Lübben, Grenville Jones

A Washable Smart Shirt for the Measurement of Activity in Every-Day life

In this article, a washable measuring system for the everyday detection of activity is being presented and evaluated. The measuring system consists of an ordinary pullover with eight acceleration sensors sewn in at the arms and the torso and integrated detection electronics with a radio module and a interchangeable microSD card. The sensors and the detection electronics are made washable by a waterproof encapsulation. The sensor values are sampled at a sampling rate of 10 Hz. Based on the acquired acceleration data, an activity index is calculated and saved on the microSD card. The system was tested and evaluated on four test subjects after being washed. The test subjects were asked to protocol their activities. The recorded data was then compared with the protocol. Every change of activity in this experiment could be clearly detected. The test subject’s posture was also detected correctly. Hence, a platform for further usages such as diagnosis system for tremor, dyskinesia and hypokinesia within the scope of a Parkinson’s disease was created.
Khalil Niazmand, Jakob Neuhaeuser, Tim C. Lueth

Community Conclusions


How to Overcome the Market Entrance Barrier and Achieve the Market Breakthrough in AAL

Since the changing demographics the European Commission as well as near all national funding organisations see the necessity to support assisted technologies through huge funding instruments. Despite its tremendous market potential, AAL (Ambient Assisted Living) is still on the cusp of a mainstream break-through. A lack of viable business models is considered almost unanimously to be the greatest market obstacle to a broad implementation of innovative AAL systems. This paper describes the sustainable approach by universAAL and AALOA to overcome this market entrance barrier by mobilizing the AAL community and influencing the funding programs to achieve the market breakthrough in AAL.
Reiner Wichert, Francesco Furfari, Antonio Kung, Mohammad Reza Tazari


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