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

Results

The Mobiserv project was started in December 2009 and has been running for almost 4 years. Here is a summary of the results per year, including videos of the final prototypes.

Year 4 Results

In project year 4, the partners focussed their work on implementing, integrating and fine-tuning the final Mobiserv prototype, on running user evaluation studies with primary and secondary users with the complete system, and on analysing results and new insights from these user evaluations. This included:

  • Finalization of the new Mobiserv prototype – Integrating the updated subsystems, updating and implementing new integrated functionalities, introducing more context awareness, the new user model, and an intelligent rules set, and updating its primary and secondary user interfaces and multimodal user interaction.
  • Running evaluation sessions with the final Mobiserv prototype. Extensive usability and user experience evaluation studies have been performed in the UK and in NL. The final system prototype and its components like the robot companion have been tested in a large range of studies involving primary users, secondary users (such as partners, formal and informal carers), and tertiary users (such as care managers and policy makers) in several settings such as home labs, people’s own homes, and care homes.
  • Dissemination; a new website has been launched, a new demonstration video has been created, and the team has provided a joint press release in 7 languages. This combination of the press release, website and video has drawn a lot of attention, both by online and offline media, and has led to several follow-up interviews. More scientific papers have been written and submitted to journals and conferences. Invited talks, presentations, demonstrations and interviews have been given, and events have been organized or participated in throughout Europe, in all partner countries, focussing on target users, on professionals from the health care sector, and on the general public.
  • Exploitation; the team used the final project period to brainstorm and think about future exploitation of the Mobiserv concepts. This has resulted in the development of an extensive project results exploitation plan and business opportunity plan for follow-up activities of the consortium and/or sub-consortia, including an initial market analysis of several markets in the healthcare sector and of potential competitors in these fields.


This video gives an impression of the final results of the project (2013).

The Mobiserv project has been a very broad and ambitious project, with many components that could have been research projects on their own. Final integration and implementation of all high-level functionalities in a fully functional and usable system turned out to be challenging.

This makes the team believe that there is much to be learned in the near future, but on the other hand they gained a huge amount of insights and very interesting, promising and motivating findings.

Overall, our findings have shown to both technical as non-technical partners that Mobiserv as a whole, but also certain subsets of the system, can really add value to people’s lives – keeping them more independent and improving their quality of life.

Year 3 Results

Year 3 of the project was focused on performing qualitative and quantitative evaluations of the full Mobiserv system. This included focus groups and individual user trials with both end-users and formal and informal carers. These extensive sessions have delivered the team many findings on usability, usefulness, efficiency, learnability, acceptability, and much more.

“Our studies have provided rich knowledge about the context of use, user experience, potential barriers, constraints, and criteria for acceptability of a social companion system. We have learned that seniors are receptive to service robots whenever the robot does not interfere with their daily routine and if they can customize the robot’s character and appearance. The robot should act in accordance to their preferences. Important challenges for acceptance are the robot’s voice, the level of system-initiative, and the level of social situation awareness.”

Findings have been reported to the team, and many improvements and changes have been proposed. Another report has been delivered, including updated scenarios, new requirements on user modelling, context awareness, intelligent rules, and a redesign of the graphical user interface, both for primary users and for carers.

mobiserv_trials
In the figures above, some of the user evaluation sessions are shown.

After analysis of the results of the user evaluation studies, development of the new Mobiserv system started again, based on these findings. This included:

  • A fully updated specification of the system architecture design.
  • Improving the algorithms for eating, drinking and emotion recognition, based on continuous performance tests.
  • Improving all parts of the wearable health supporting unit, and development of new algorithms to support real-time fall detection.
  • Design of the (informal) carer interface and on the design and implementation of a secure role-based access control system for this web interface.
  • Improving and extending the robotic platform’s hardware components and the overall Mobiserv application, improving its services and user-system interaction, and adding new functionalities.

mobiserv_demos
The figure above shows some of the demo events where Mobiserv has been presented and demonstrated in the 3rd project year (2012).

Next to evaluation studies and new developments, the team performed many scientific and non-scientific dissemination activities. A big audience has been reached via live presentations at conferences and workshops, via live demos, via papers in journals and proceedings, via printed media, via interviews and items on radio and television, and via online media. Because of the attention gained, many new contacts have been made with seniors, informal carers, professional care organizations and other stakeholders.

Year 2 Results

Project year 2 has been focused on the implementation of the first Mobiserv prototype – the mobile robot companion, the smart home sensors, the smart clothes, the intelligence of the system, and the user interaction modules. This included:

  • Specification of the architecture, its software and hardware components, and the interaction between them.
  • Development of innovative computer vision algorithms to detect eating behaviour, drinking behaviour and facial expressions of older adults. This included the set-up of a dedicated research database for eating & drinking activity recognition.
  • Development of multi-sensor embedded system for vital signs monitoring, including smart garments for daily and nightly use, small hardware data loggers hidden in these garments, and intelligent software for detection and analysis of the vital signs data.
  • Doing a thorough security analysis of the complete Mobiserv system and taking measures to improve on security where needed.
  • Design and development of the robotic platform, in terms of both hardware and software, and integration of all other Mobiserv components on it.


This video gives an impression of the results of the 2nd project year (2011).

Year 1 Results

Year 1 was focused on understanding people’s context of use, gathering user needs and perspectives on assistive technology, determining user requirements and criteria for acceptability, investigating potential barriers and constraints, creating personas and usage scenarios, and making concept designs. It was decided that Mobiserv will provide older adults with:

  • Well-being services for social and cognitive stimulation, keeping people active, and responding to the user’s context and emotions.
  • Nutrition coach with dehydration prevention by eating and drinking suggestions.
  • Health coach, encouraging physical activity and specific exercises, and supporting tele-medicine and vital signs monitoring.
  • Fall detection with direct communication to a care centre.
  • Mobile remote control for the home environment.
  • Video communication to friends, family, and carers.

Early prototypes have been used to run co-design workshops and to do first user evaluations of these Mobiserv concepts with end-users, their family and caregivers.

mobiserv_examples
The figure above shows some examples of support services that Mobiserv offers.