Instrumenting the eHome and Preparing Elderly Pilots: The USEFIL Approach

Instrumenting the eHome and Preparing Elderly Pilots: The USEFIL Approach

Panagiotis E. Antoniou (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece), Evdokimos Konstantinidis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece), Antonis S. Billis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece), Giorgos Bamparopoulos (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece), Marianna S. Tsatali (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece) and Anastasios Sioundas (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8234-4.ch018
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Abstract

In this chapter the lessons learnt from the build-up and integration of the USEFIL are demonstrated. First an introduction to Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) platforms, the infrastructure for eHomes of any purpose eHome is presented, in the context of their emergence as a viable way for managing healthcare costs in an aging first world population. Then technical and sustainability issues that are present after several years of maturation are touched upon. The USEFIL project's aim at an AAL platform that utilizes low cost “off-the-shelf” technologies in order to develop immediately applicable services, to assist elderly people in maintaining an independent, healthy lifestyle and program of daily activities is then briefly discussed. Afterwards, the methodological framework as well as principal results of the preparation and running of the pre-piloting phase of that platform are presented. Closing, current trends are explored in conjunction with future directions as triggered by this project in the context of cognitive impaired elderly support.
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Introduction

Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) platforms are beginning to emerge as a viable way for managing healthcare costs in an ever aging first world population (Marin, Navarro, & Lawrence, 2011). AAL systems consist of medical sensors, wireless sensor and actuator networks (WSANs), computer hardware, computer-networks, software applications, and databases, in order to provide services in an Ambient Assisted environment.(Delicato, Fuentes, Gámez, & Pires, 2009),(Sliwa & Benoist, 2011). After several years of maturation, still current AAL solutions are challenged with issues such as unacceptable installation and deployment complexity, cumbersome user interfaces, security threats, lack of quality-of-user-experience, and higher costs (Memon, Wagner, Pedersen, Beevi, & Hansen, 2014).

Having identified these issues several years ago, the USEFIL AAL system (Artikis et al., 2012) was conceived as a platform utilizing low cost “off-the-shelf” technologies in order to develop immediately applicable services, to assist elderly people in maintaining an independent, healthy lifestyle and program of daily activities (Billis, Papageorgiou, Frantzidis, Konstantinidis, & Bamidis, 2013). Its major, expressed, design specification during the design of the system was non-intrusive installation and Unobtrusive operation. This approach while not outright novel, it is a departure from a more industrialized, monolithic, approach in the development of elderly AAL environments. This chapter is a brief exposition of the means and methods of the USEFIL project towards an elderly support e-home. The focus of this work is on demonstrating the pitfalls and solutions of a modular, low cost approach that is not based on overwhelming development overhead but instead focuses on key optimizations of existing enabling technologies. Additionally, insights are presented on the pilot preparation and results that are validating this approach not only as effective, but also as an efficient, elderly support e-home.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Ambient Assisted Living: Concepts, methods, electronic systems, products and services, which transparently assist the daily lives of people in need of support.

Unobtrusiveness: A state of being unobservable, inconspicuous. AU56: Endnote 1

Mild Cognitive Impairment: An intermediate stage between normal age related and pathological dementia related cognitive decline.

Ecological Validity: The degree to which behaviors observed and recorded in studies reflects behaviors that actually occurs in natural settings.

Systems Usability: The extent to which a system can be used in a defined context for a particular goal by specific user base with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction.

eHome: A set of electronic systems, products and services that facilitate in-house daily activities.

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