Reviewing Home Based Assistive Technologies

Reviewing Home Based Assistive Technologies

Panagiotis D. Bamidis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece), Evdokimos Konstantinidis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece), Antonis S. Billis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece) and Anastasios Sioundas (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8234-4.ch017
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Abstract

Population ageing is an unprecedented challenge for human societies, which recently is globally tackled by new technologies. In this chapter technologies tailored for use by the elderly people termed ambient assisted living and e-health are discussed. Focus is only placed on those technologies that can be adapted for home use. Emphasis is drawn both on the technical front as well as on the application front based on recent literature. The scope is to make sure the audience reaches a sufficiently broad understanding of what technology is available for home use by elderly people. Applications and research efforts spent but also funded at the European level with a clear focus on those supported by elderly trials are provided. The chapter is enriched with case studies from various projects.
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Introduction

It has been more than a decade since the appearance of systems capable of monitoring health from a distance using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) gave birth to a term named “e-health” thereafter. e-Health may be used to monitor one’s health from home (Homecare Applications; tele-homecare). Basically different types of networks have been identified for homecare applications and substantial advances have been made over recent years in applying technology to meet the needs of older people. In parallel and in accordance with e-Health solutions, the field of Ambient-Assisted Living (AAL) has been developed, aiming on alleviating the difficulties of everyday life for the elderly or people with disabilities in general.

The objective of this chapter is to provide an overview of technologies used for AAL and e-health but with focus only on those that can allow for a home-based use and be tailored for use by the elderly people. Emphasis is drawn both on the technical front as well as on the application front. Regarding the former, recent literature is reviewed so as to enable a sufficiently broad understanding of what technology is available for home use by elderly people. As for the latter front, that is applications, the chapter takes an approach to review research efforts spent but also funded at the European level; focus is only given to those supported by elderly trials. The chapter is enriched with case studies from projects that the author team has participated.

Key Terms in this Chapter

XML: Extensible Mark-up Language. Is a simple, very flexible text format derived from SGML (ISO 8879). Originally designed to meet the challenges of large-scale electronic publishing, XML is also playing an increasingly important role in the exchange of a wide variety of data on the Web and elsewhere.

Web Services: Are business process interfaces. Each web service is a point of interaction to either give inputs/receive outputs from a business process. The web server provides the web service. They run in the background and wait for clients to connect to them. Basically it frees the programmer of writing code for the web service. They are URL addressable and can be invoked by any browser by just typing the path to the web service. Web services use HTTP protocol to communicate with clients. The open and common standards used by Web Services ensure that any kind of application can interact with a web service.

W3C: World Wide Web Consortium.

Exergaming: Physical exercises within a gaming session; game-blended physical exercise/activity.

Bulletin Board System: A computer server running custom software that allows users to connect to the system using a terminal program. Users can upload/download software/data, read news and bulletins, exchange messages etc.

GUI: Graphical User Interface.

IP: Internet Protocol. Set of communication standards which control activity on the internet. An IP address is the number assigned to any computer connected to the internet, and is the only way in which information sent through the internet can find its way to that computer. It is a number of the form A.B.C.D where each letter represents a number from 0 to 255, e.g. 193.63.56.222.

Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs): Role-playing video games and massively multiplayer online games, possibly in the form of web browser-based games; a very large number of players interact with one another within a virtual world.

IST: Information Society Technologies.

VideoIP: Video over IP communications.

VOIP: Voice over IP communications.

Blog: A truncation of the expression weblog, it is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first).

Instant Messaging (IM): A type of online chat which offers real-time text transmission over the Internet.

Wiki: A web application, which allows collaborative modification, extension, or deletion of its content and structure.

ICT: Information and Telecommunication Technologies.

Alzheimer's Disease: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disorder characterized by cognitive and intellectual deficits and behavior disturbance.

HCI: Human-Computer Interaction.

IT: Information Technology.

WAI: Web Accessibility Initiative.

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