Mobiserv – An Integrated Intelligent Home Environment for the Provision of Health, Nutrition and Well-Being Services to Older Adults

This week, Aljazeera Europe features the Bristol Robotics Laboratory and the Mobiserv project in their programme called The Cure:

Across the world people are living longer and maintaining the health of this older population is an enormous challenge. However, scientists at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory in the UK believe they may have found the answer – Molly.

Programmed with functions such as reminders about appointments and medication, Molly is a robot which can also detect if the user is unwell by monitoring their heartbeat and temperature and can sense if they have fallen over. Molly might just be the future of care and allow the older population to live healthy and independent lives.

In the 6-minute video report, Dr. Praminda Caleb-Solly, who has been working on the project for 4 years, explains what Mobiserv is about.

Watch “Robots for the Elderly” at the website of Aljazeera’s The Cure.

 

During the final project review, held in Brussels on the 9th of October 2013, experts of the European Commission have thoroughly assessed all project activities and results.

They concluded that all milestones have been reached, and they have approved all deliverables. Therefore, the European Commission now considers the project as completed.

Some quotes from the final review report:

“The overall quality of the results presented is good: The consortium has managed to achieve its main objectives and bring the project to a successful end.”

“This was a very ambitious project with the required expertise in the consortium. The project had some delay at the beginning of the reporting period, but assured to catch up during the prolongation period.”

“The main achievements of the project are 1) the delivery of the final Mobiserv system prototype, and 2) the evaluation of the Mobiserv system and its components like the robot companion in a large range of studies with primary users, secondary users and tertiary users in several settings.”

“The results of the evaluations (…) generated a wealth of information presented in a useful comprehensive report that can be used for dissemination and exploitation.”

“The project has worked hard on the dissemination and exploitation plans. These plans are focussed and demonstrate the possibilities for exploitation and directions for achieving impact.”

To highlight our results and reflect the finished state of the project, the Results section and the Downloads section of this website have been updated. Have a look at these pages for a summary of achievements, our final demonstration video, public deliverables, and scientific publications.

Mobiserv in the News

In the last couple of weeks, Mobiserv has gained quite some attention from the international press. The main reason for this is an article about Mobiserv and an interview with the project coordinator by the European Commission.

See the full article at Europa.eu: Feature Stories: A personalised robot companion for older people
(available in English, German, Spanish, French, Italian and Polish)

Here are some links to other articles based on this feature story:

 

New Mobiserv Video

To facilitate the evaluation and demonstration activities in the Netherlands, a new project video has been created.

The video focuses on a married couple living on their own, one of them with an early form of dementia. The video not only highlights the benefits of the Mobiserv system for the primary user, but also for the informal carer, in this case the partner.

To be as accessible as possible for the target audiences in the Netherlands, this video is in Dutch. The version below features English subtitles.

PRESS RELEASE

Mobiserv project starts real user trials in the UK and The Netherlands

In the past 3 years, a European team of universities, research institutes, commercial companies and care organisations have been working on a new type of social carer: a robot companion for older adults. Integrated together with smart garments and vision systems, this social robot reminds them about eating, drinking and medicines, offers structure throughout the day, and helps people to stay active by suggesting a variety of activities. The main goal of Mobiserv is not only to keep people independent and boost their quality of life, but also to support and empower their social carer, often the partner, in providing care.

To find out how people experience and feel about this companion in their home, researchers of the University of the West of England in Bristol (UK), the Smart Homes institute in Eindhoven (NL), and care organisation Ananz in Geldrop (NL) will perform extensive user evaluation studies with the robot companion in the upcoming months, varying from usability tests in a home lab, to full-day experience tests in a test home, to multi-day experiences in their own homes.

Enabling Technologies

Mobiserv_robot_2The technical partners in the team have developed cutting-edge technologies to meet the objectives of Mobiserv. The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece developed specific algorithms to detect eating and drinking activities. The manufacturer of intelligent clothing Smartex in Italy together with research institute CSEM in Switzerland developed smart clothes for older people that monitor heart rate, respiration, temperature, posture and physical activity. The Lappeenranta University of Technology in Finland supervised all communication by the system and its components and provided algorithms to secure confidential and personal information gathered by the system. Finally, the French company Robosoft developed the personal robots, including sophisticated algorithms for navigation, obstacle avoidance, person detection, human-robot interactions and the actual services.

Provided Services

These technologies have been developed to enable a set of services that was determined at the start of the project by conducting extensive user research with end-users and their formal and informal carers. The set of services include reminders, suggestions, and encouragements on a physical, cognitive and social level. For example, when a person does not drink for a certain time, which can lead to dehydration, the robot will approach the person and encourage him/her to drink, or even suggest a specific drink, based on the person’s preferences or needs. The same holds for food, physical exercises, activities, and also for social contact; when a person does not communicate with anyone for a while, the robot will suggest to make a call, or to go out and visit someone, helpful for those at a risk of social isolation. In addition to this, the robot keeps an eye on vital signs and sleeping patterns, and it can detect a fall. In case of an emergency, it will automatically contact a carer. The robot works in partnership with the person, offering nutrition/activity/safety coaching, and it is expected that it will contribute to a healthier and more enjoyable life, not only for the end user, but also for the social carer.

Final User Evaluations

ref_dag_1Currently, the Mobiserv team is focussed on the preparations for the final user evaluation studies. Based on the findings from user studies in the previous years, the Mobiserv robot and services are being improved and fine-tuned to be useful, acceptable, and fun to use. In the upcoming evaluation studies, people will freely use their robot companion, and carers will personalize and use the system to support their beloved ones. The purpose of the evaluations is to enable end-users and caregivers to experience what Mobiserv can do for them, to further improve Mobiserv, and to find out how to proceed in bringing this robot and its services to market. The ultimate goal is to enable people to support themselves, and others, in their wellbeing and independence.

The user evaluations will take place from April to June 2013, both in the UK and in The Netherlands. In the period from June to August, the Mobiserv project and its companion robot will be presented and demonstrated at several events throughout Europe, open to a wide audience and press, in all seven partner countries of the project. For the latest information about these public events and the project, or ideas to organise a demo at your premises, please visit the project’s website at www.mobiserv.info.

The Mobiserv consortium is currently fully up and running in preparation of the upcoming user evaluation studies to be carried out in Bristol (UK) and Eindhoven (NL). Technical partners like Robosoft and Smartex work together intensively with user partners University of the West of England in the UK and Smart Homes in the Netherlands.

Mobiserv_eatingGoal of these upcoming user trials is to enable end-users, their informal carers, and professional caregivers to experience what Mobiserv actually is and can do for them. This requires trials that run for a longer duration, in which people can freely use the personalized autonomous system.

Clearly, the demands for the stability and maturity of the prototype are beyond the requirements needed for controlled usability testing sessions. We look forward to the integration meetings in March and April, where we will install and fine-tune the system at the trial sites.