A Conceptual Framework for the Design and Development of AAL Services

A Conceptual Framework for the Design and Development of AAL Services

Alexandra Queirós (University of Aveiro, Portugal), Joaquim Alvarelhão (University of Aveiro, Portugal), Anabela G. Silva (University of Aveiro, Portugal), António Teixeira (University of Aveiro, Portugal) and Nelson Pacheco da Rocha (University of Aveiro, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3986-7.ch030
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Abstract

A digital environment with a pervasive and unobtrusive intelligence able to proactively support elderly people in their daily lives, enabling them to live independently for longer, and reducing the need for long term care is the fundamental idea of the Ambient Assisted Living (AAL). After considerable research investment, there is a good understanding of the domain problem. However, the need to broaden the scope of problems being addressed is undeniable. Ecological approaches for design and development of AAL services are required in order to reinforce a strong focus on people. The chapter presents a comprehensive model based on the International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health (ICF) to characterize users, theirs contexts, activities, and participation, and to structure a semantic framework for AAL services.
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Background

Over the last decade, considerable research efforts have been pursued by the European Commission, national governments and relevant industries to provide an adequate technology response to the challenges of an ageing society.

AAL is currently one of the important development areas, where accessibility, usability and learning play a major role and where future interfaces are an important concern for applied engineering (Kleinberger, Becker, Ras, Holzinger & Müller, 2007). The growing political importance of AAL is evident by the AAL Joint Programme, the initiative taken by the European Union with several Members States (July, 2008) in order to obtain synergies in terms of management and financial resources by ensuring a single common evaluation mechanism with the assistance of independent experts (European Parliament, 2008).

The general goal of AAL solutions is to apply the Ambient Intelligence (AmI) concepts and technologies to enable elderly people, or other people with specific demands, to live longer in their natural environment. In technological terms, AAL comprises a heterogeneous field of applications ranging from quite simple devices such as intelligent medication dispensers, fall sensors or bed sensors to complex systems such as networked homes and interactive services.

Therefore, AAL solutions have high demands on the accessibility, usability and suitability of the developed services: user acceptance and support of natural user interaction are absolute necessities (Kleinberger, Becker, Ras, Holzinger & Müller, 2007).

Key Terms in this Chapter

AAL: Ambient Assisted Living: Intelligent technologies, products and services to enable people with specific demands (e.g. elderly) to live longer in their natural environment.

WHO: World Health Organization.

Functioning: A complex interaction between the health condition of the individual and the contextual factors of the environment as well as personal factors. The same applies to disability.

Context Awareness: Property of a system that uses context to provide relevant information and/or services to the user.

User Modeling and Profiling: Methodologies and components to enhance the effectiveness and usability of services and interfaces allowing to predict user’s behavior and to adapt interface features to the user and the context in which they are used.

Active Ageing: Promotion of older adults in social, economic, cultural, spiritual and civic affairs, while providing them with adequate protection, security, and care.

AMI: Ambient Intelligence: A digital environment with a pervasive and unobtrusive intelligence able to proactively support people in their daily lives.

ICF: International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health: WHO’s framework for measuring health and disability at both individual and population levels.

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