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Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on PErvasive Technologies Related to Assistive Environments

Fullname:Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on PErvasive Technologies Related to Assistive Environments
Location:Corfu, Greece
Dates:2009-Jul-09 to 2009-Jul-13
Publisher:ACM
Standard No:ISBN: 1-60558-409-6, 978-1-60558-409-6; ACM DL: Table of Contents hcibib: PETRA09
Papers:76
Pages:452
Links:Conference Home Page
Realistic and robust head-eye coordination of conversational robot actors in human tracking applications BIBAKFull-Text 1
  Jartuwat Rajruangrabin; Dan O. Popa
Recent advances in computing and robot technology create new opportunities for building robots with increasingly more sophisticated interactivity. One such application is the visual interaction between humans and humanoid in tasks such as mimicking and following. Achieving realistic head-eye motion of the humanoid requires understanding of human kinesiology that dictates the way human coordinate head-eye motion and the ability to control the motion of humanoid to move in the same manner that humans do. In this paper we propose an efficient head-eye motion coordination scheme using an optimization approach -- an objective function is formed based on human kinesiology and then optimized for obtaining a realistic head-eye trajectory. The tracking robustness during conversational interaction with a human is further enhanced through a visual feedback scheme, which reduces modelling errors of the humanoid hardware. Experimental results show the tracking efficiency and realism of the motion generated by the proposed scheme with Lilly, a humanoid under development in our lab.
Keywords: human-robot interaction, humanoid robot, robotic actor
An efficient k-anonymous localization technique for assistive environments BIBAKFull-Text 2
  Francesco Buccafurri; Gianluca Lax
In health assistive environments the possibility of knowing patient's position can be very important, since may represent a valid support to medical activities and assistance strategies. However, we cannot assume in general that the utility of having precise information about patients' location is stronger than the right of keeping private the access to some place and, more in general, the exact movements that patients do in the environment. Thus, besides the standard precise localization issue, we consider also the issue of providing approximate non-deterministic answers about patients' positions in such a way that privacy is protected but they can be anyway found with a small number of attempts. The solution enforces the general concept of k-anonymity, which we adapt in our context in a way different from the classical one. An important aspect of our technique is that it is strongly efficient and implementable via very cheap devices, which is a very relevant issue in pervasive environments where wireless devices with limited processing capability and power have to be utilized.
Keywords: assistive environments, location tracking, privacy
Assistive music browsing using self-organizing maps BIBAKFull-Text 3
  George Tzanetakis; Manjinder Singh Benning; Steven R. Ness; Darren Minifie; Nigel Livingston
Music listening is an important activity for many people. Advances in technology have made possible the creation of music collections with thousands of songs in portable music players. Navigating these large music collections is challenging especially for users with vision and/or motion disabilities. In this paper we describe our current efforts to build effective music browsing interfaces for people with disabilities. The foundation of our approach is the automatic extraction of features for describing musical content and the use of self-organizing maps to create two-dimensional representations of music collections. The ultimate goal is effective browsing without using any meta-data. We also describe different control interfaces to the system: a regular desktop application, an iPhone implementation, an eye tracker, and a smart room interface based on Wii-mote tracking.
Keywords: assistive technologies, content-aware user interfaces, eye tracking, music information retrieval, sound analysis
SAL: a simulation and analysis tool for assistive living applications BIBAKFull-Text 4
  Alan Bowling; Zhengyi Le; Fillia Makedon
Simulation and analysis of assistive environments are important because they provide a first step towards creating an actual application for the real world. This work details the development of simulation and analysis tools for the Assistive Living Laboratory intended for use in the design of hardware and software for an assisted living system composed of monitoring and response systems. Monitoring is accomplished using a heterogeneous array of sensors which allow determination of the patient's current condition, and assessment of whether some action or intervention is required. The response subsystem carries out any intervention and is monitored to determine the success of the action. The analysis tools consider system performance and facilitate a design capable of monitoring and responding to the needs of the patient. The simulation tool includes the physics and programmed logic of the entities involved in the problem, and allows verification of the final system design. This simulator will help the development of applications for improving the quality of life of people living in assistive environments.
Keywords: assistive living environment, human and physics factors, monitor and response, simulation, simulation and analysis tool
STFL: a spatio temporal filtering language with applications in assisted living BIBAKFull-Text 5
  Athanasios Bamis; Andreas Savvides
In this paper we introduce the Spatio Temporal Filtering Language (STFL), which is a language framework that aims to provide the primitives for easily defining rules and sequences of rules and constraints. These sequences of rules can be used to convert low-level streams of sensor data into higher-level semantics and provide triggers for actuation. Among others STFL provides support for heterogeneous types of sensors, composability and code reusability. Special emphasis is given on the support of different categories of users by providing different types of interfaces spanning from a natural-like language aiming at end-users to a regular scripting language aiming at system developers. The expressiveness and power of STFL is presented through an assisted living scenario.
Keywords: actuation, assisted living, human activity monitoring, spatiotemporal filtering
Decision making in assistive environments using multimodal observations BIBAKFull-Text 6
  Yong Lin; Eric Becker; Kyungseo Park; Zhengyi Le; Fillia Makedon
An assistive environment is a smart domestic space based on pervasive computing to support the elderly and disabled. Unlike sensors, which can only provide passive monitoring, a robot can be an active element to improve the quality of life for the human. In this paper, we propose an active service of the robot in assistive environments, to help human in the case of emergency situation. It works on a hierarchical partially observable Markov decision process (POMDP). The multimodal observation series are used in the decision and evaluation process.
   An active robot is a kind of robot that can provide a preferable and necessary active service to the human. This is used in our emergency response system (ERS) to deal with the emergency situations, such as an older adult falls down or emergency diseases. The purpose of multimodal observations is to guarantee the precision of report for the emergency situations. Four observation sources are introduced in this paper: the vision recognition, the voice recognition, the physical input devices and the foreign systems. For each observation source, there are two observation series. Multiple information sources give the agent more opportunities to learn from the real world, so as to make more reasonable predictions, evaluations and decisions.
Keywords: assistive environment, decision making, elderly care, human-robot interface
Human behavioral detection and data cleaning in assisted living environment using wireless sensor networks BIBAKFull-Text 7
  Kyungseo Park; Eric Becker; Jyothi K. Vinjumur; Zhengyi Le; Fillia Makedon
Due to the increasing number of the elderly, more and more people need to have additional health care such as medical or environmental monitoring information at home or nursing facility. Most elderly people are likely to have a sudden behavioral changes due to their aging or existing health problems. Therefore, it is necessary to have an autonomous system that can monitor them in order to prevent emergent situation in advance. In this paper, we present a wireless sensor network system that can recognize human behavioral patterns of the elderly who lives alone. We model episodes that are series of events for a person who lives in an one-bedroom apartment. We propose data cleaning techniques in both sensor and base station sides for the erroneous environment of wireless sensor networks. Based on these techniques, we try to extract discrete events as close as possible to effective events. We introduce non-real time analysis to recognize human behavioral patterns on the centralized system, which can be further extended to a real-time analysis. We also adopt an existing search technique to apply it to detect similar or abnormal behavior. We experiment the proposed system by gathering behavioral pattern data from the miniature one-bedroom apartment that is equipped with SunSPOTs in our HERACLEIA Laboratory. We look up the resulting episodes from our experiment in the dictionary that is a set of predetermined episodes using the suggested algorithm.
Keywords: assisted living environment, data cleaning, human behavior detection, search episodes
Providing QoS in ontology centered context aware pervasive systems BIBAKFull-Text 8
  Roman Arora; Vangelis Metsis; Rong Zhang; Fillia Makedon
There has been significant research in adapting the Semantic Web technologies to create flexible context aware pervasive systems to enhance fields such as assisted living or smart environments. Several ontology based techniques have been proposed to simplify modeling knowledge and its relationships, and several ontology centered middleware tools are currently being developed to provide flexible and viable solutions for application developers. However, middleware built on the basis of Semantic Web generally suffers from drawbacks in performance, which limits its practical applications in the real world. This paper proposes a framework to facilitate Quality of Service (QoS) in ontology centered context aware pervasive middleware. Our approach suggests that context-aware middleware that operate by contracting mutual agreements with the client applications and provide controls over the amount of data to be processed by them can achieve predictable performance and response times. We also propose a service contract scheme that allows both client applications and middleware to participate in the decisions regarding the necessary data transformations required by the different system components in order to improve the overall system performance.
Keywords: context aware applications, middleware, pervasive computing, quality-of-service (QoS)
ODM-based architecture for the development of mobile context-aware applications BIBAKFull-Text 9
  Samyr Vale; Slimane Hammoudi
The development of context-aware applications makes face to many challenges. These applications must take into account context definition, representation, interpretation and reuse. Most ubiquitous applications focus on the development of legacy artifacts or ad hoc architectures to capture and to adapt context into business logics. There is no pattern for context-aware development. In this paper, we present an ODM-based Architecture for the Development of Mobile Context-aware Applications. ODM (Ontology Definition Metamodel) is the OMG proposition for the development of ontologies founded on the concepts of the Model Driven Engineering. Our architecture provides the development of context-aware activities and business logic in independent and individual models and on different abstraction levels. We also present in this paper a well-defined context and context-aware metamodels with the current elements in mobile environments.
Keywords: context-awareness, metamodel, ontology, transformation
Towards an intelligent and supportive environment for people with physical or cognitive restrictions BIBAKFull-Text 10
  Julio Abascal; Borja Bonail; Roberto Casas; Álvaro Marco; José Luis Sevillano; Daniel Cascado
AmbienNet environment has been developed with the aim of demonstrating the feasibility of accessible intelligent environments designed to support people with disabilities and older persons living independently. Its main purpose is to examine in depth the advantages and disadvantages of pervasive supporting systems based on the paradigm of Ambient Intelligence for people with sensory, physical or cognitive limitations. Hence diverse supporting technologies and applications have been designed in order to test their accessibility, ease of use and validity. This paper presents the architecture of AmbienNet intelligent environment and an intelligent application to support indoors navigation for smart wheelchairs designed for validation purposes.
Keywords: ambient intelligence, ambient supported living, smart homes
Human-robot team dynamic performance in assisted living environments BIBAKFull-Text 11
  Alan Bowling; Eric Olson
In this work it is assumed that some interaction must occur when introducing robots into an environment for the purpose of assisting humans. This interaction may take several forms, but the one considered here is following, which means the robot(s) should follow the human. The robot should maintain some distance but keep him/her in its line of sight to prevent losing the target. In a human environment, this is a challenging task due to the corners or doorways that a human may disappear through or around. Here, the task of maintaining a line of sight to the human while turning a corner is modeled as a rotation of the human-robot team, in order to determine the performance requirements for the robots. The development of a description for a team rotation is the key element in the proposed work. The methodology is illustrated using omnidirectional robots with mass, inertia, and actuator limitations.
Keywords: dynamic performance, human-robot interaction, mobility
Dynamic service composition in ubiquitous environment BIBAKFull-Text 12
  Yun-Young Hwang; Kyu-Chul Lee
Service Component Architecture (SCA) defines how to create components and how to combine those components into complete applications. SCA defines a general approach to doing both of these things at design time of applications. In ubiquitous, we consider dynamic factors such as frequently movement of user or device location and change of service status. SCA does not consider about that, but this specification proposed good solution about service composition. For this reason, we suggested the service composition approach, which is extended of SCA. Our approach supports dynamic service composition, which is considered the dynamic factors of ubiquitous environment. In addition, it reflects the user requirement like that what kind of service to do in what order. It also supports coordination of service when the client can no longer use the service because it is putted off the power or has another problem.
Keywords: dynamic service composition, service oriented architecture and service component architecture
UbiSmartWheel: a ubiquitous system with unobtrusive services embedded on a wheelchair BIBAKFull-Text 13
  Octavian Postolache; Rui Neves Madeira; Nuno Correia; Pedro Silva Girão
Ubiquitous Computing has the main goal of building computing systems that support and facilitate the daily lives of users, but being the least intrusive possible. There are many technological advances reported in literature, but the current scenario is still far away from an everyday life fulfilled with ubiquitous systems. The main objective of this work is to present a pervasive biomedical assistive environment for the elderly, with a wheelchair as a smart object. The wheelchair includes embedded sensors to measure physiological parameters such as heart rate and respiratory rate, mechanical quantities such acceleration. A LF RFID reader is associated with in order to assure the wheelchair user identification and wheelchair trajectory estimation considering different RFID tags that are distributed on the floor. Based on the implemented RFID system accompanying persons of the wheelchair's user are identified too. A generic architecture was designed to implement this kind of computing infrastructure in any physical space, like a home for elderly. It takes into account the distribution of the system by the various entities in the environment, which are users (elderly, watcher, and clinic), objects (e.g., the wheelchair) and situated displays.
Keywords: RFID, assistive technology, ballistocardiography, elderly, smart spaces, ubiquitous computing, unobtrusive sensors
Emergency incidents detection in assisted living environments utilizing sound and visual perceptual components BIBAKFull-Text 14
  Charalampos Doukas; Ilias Maglogiannis; Aggelos Rouskas; Aristodimos Pneumatikakis
The paper presents the concept and an initial implementation of a patient status awareness system that may be used for patient activity interpretation and emergency recognition in cases like elder falls. The system utilizes audio and video data captured from the patient's environment. Visual information is acquired using overhead cameras and audio data is collected from microphone arrays. Proper audio data processing allows the detection of sounds related to body falls or distress speech expressions. Appropriate tracking techniques are applied to the visual perceptual component enabling the trajectory tracking of the subjects. Sound directionality in conjunction to trajectory information and subject's visual location can verify fall and indicate an emergency event. Post fall visual behavior of the subject indicates the severity of the fall (e.g., if patient remains unconscious or patient recovers). A number of advanced classification techniques have been evaluated using the latter perceptual components. The performance of the classifiers has been assessed in terms of accuracy and efficiency and results are presented.
Keywords: assisted living environments, event detection, visual and audio classification
Communicating through gestures without visual feedback BIBAKFull-Text 15
  Irene Sturm; Maria Schiewe; Wiebke Köhlmann; Helmut Jürgensen
Human-machine interaction by gestures helps to improve communication: it utilizes means of communication which are common to humans but alien to machines. We consider ergonomic, functional and semantic issues in gesture-based interfaces without visual feedback. Such situations arise with the unobtrusive usage of wearable devices but, more importantly, with interfaces for visually impaired persons. We consider the latter scenario -- that of blind users -- in view of forthcoming haptic interface technology and investigate properties of gestural interaction models.
Keywords: gestural interaction, haptics, nonvisual communication, visually impaired
Towards automated large vocabulary gesture search BIBAKFull-Text 16
  Alexandra Stefan; Haijing Wang; Vassilis Athitsos
This paper describes work towards designing a computer vision system for helping users look up the meaning of a sign. Sign lookup is treated as a video database retrieval problem. A video database is utilized that contains one or more video examples for each sign, for a large number of signs (close to 1000 in our current experiments). The emphasis of this paper is on evaluating the trade-offs between a non-automated approach, where the user manually specifies hand locations in the input video, and a fully automated approach, where hand locations are determined using a computer vision module, thus introducing inaccuracies into the sign retrieval process. We experimentally evaluate both approaches and present their respective advantages and disadvantages.
Keywords: ASL recognition, American Sign Language recognition, gesture recognition, video indexing
Event-based experiments in an assistive environment using wireless sensor networks and voice recognition BIBAKFull-Text 17
  Eric Becker; Zhengyi Le; Kyungseo Park; Yong Lin; Fillia Makedon
As the population is aging, more and more people require additional health care, either at home, in the work place or in a nursing facility. Now, a need exists for health monitoring outside of hospital conditions. These new conditions make this technology of interest for developing health care monitoring systems that can be deployed in many different environments, including the home. Other systems in development employ a wide range of different sensors, including cameras, and recording the information for processing. These systems all involve using an apartment environment seeded with sensors for detecting human behavior and activities. While these systems are embedded in assistive environments, they do not have a comprehensive approach to describe events, or handle a general and rapid deployment into different configurations using wireless technology. In this paper, we are presenting our ongoing project of deploying sensors into an assistive environment. We currently are using SunSPOT sensor motes, where each one has been programmed for a specific role based on rules describing events. In addition, we are developing a voice recognition system for reaction to human input in the same environment. Our system can be rapidly deployed without requiring additional wiring or unwanted intrusion into the human patient's life.
Keywords: assistive environments, pervasive computing, robotics, wireless sensor networks
EOG signal processing and analysis for controlling computer by eye movements BIBAKFull-Text 18
  B. Estrany; P. Fuster; A. Garcia; Y. Luo
We have successfully designed and built a human computer interface system to interface with the computer by human eye EOG signal (Electrooculography). The EOG signal has very low voltage and very sensitive to interference. This paper introduces the software we developed for processing the EOG signal which lead to a reliable human computer interface by eye movements.
Keywords: EOG (electrooculography), eye movement tracking, human-computer interaction, software
Managing context evolution in pervasive environments BIBAFull-Text 19
  Goce Trajcevski; Peter Scheuermann
In this work we address the problem of managing the evolution of different context dimensions in context-aware pervasive environments. We postulate that, in addition to the correlation of different observed/measured values from different sensors, the reaction to a particular event may need to have proactive consequences, in the sense of focusing on monitoring activities in different locations, that previously were of no interest. Towards that end, we argue that a modification of the triggers used in the Active Databases, may provide a paradigm that caters the desired awareness.
Identifying people in camera networks using wearable accelerometers BIBAKFull-Text 20
  Thiago Teixeira; Deokwoo Jung; Gershon Dublon; Andreas Savvides
We propose a system to identify people in a sensor network. The system fuses motion information measured from wearable accelerometer nodes with motion traces of each person detected by a camera node. This allows people to be uniquely identified with the IDs the accelerometer-node that they wear, while their positions are measured using the cameras. The system can run in real time, with high precision and recall results. A prototype implementation using iMote2s with camera boards and wearable TI EZ430 nodes with accelerometer sensorboards is also described.
Keywords: association problem, consistent labelling, unique identification
A mobile rehabilitation application for the remote monitoring of cardiac patients after a heart attack or a coronary bypass surgery BIBAKFull-Text 21
  Valérie Gay; Peter Leijdekkers; Edward Barin
This paper describes a personalised rehabilitation application using a smart phone (PDA) and wireless (bio) sensors. It instructs and motivates patients to follow their exercise programme and keeps track of their progress. It also monitors the relevant biosignals and provides immediate feedback to the patient.
   Sensors transmit data to the mobile phone where it is analysed locally and the data can also be instantaneously transmitted to a healthcare centre for remote monitoring by a health professional.
   The rehabilitation application is personalised for each cardiac patient and provides tailored advice (e.g. exercise more, slow down). A trial with a rehabilitation centre is in progress in which we investigate whether the personalised rehabilitation application improves the success of the rehabilitation programme in terms of patient compliance with recommended life style changes (such as increase physical activity or lose weight) and whether use of the system brings peace of mind to cardiac patients.
Keywords: cardiac rehabilitation, remote monitoring
Ubiquitous wireless infrastructure for elderly care BIBAKFull-Text 22
  Muid Mufti; Dimitris Agouridis; Sami ud Din; Adeel Mukhtar
Monitoring and ensuring the well being of elderly citizen has become an important part of our social care network. Many technologies have been successfully deployed for collecting vital health statistics of elderly and disabled people. We propose a hierarchical pervasive wireless infrastructure for in home care of elderly people. The core wireless sensor network is based on inexpensive transceivers operating in 915 MHz ISM band The connectivity with the monitoring and response centers is deployed using redundant range WiMAX links along with redundant multihop WiFi network. Successful test deployment has shown feasibility of this methodology in many areas beyond in home care of elderly and disables.
Keywords: WiFi network, WiMAX links, elderly care, remote assistance system (RAS), wireless sensor network
The application of a physical activity and location measurement system to public health interventions to promote physical activity BIBAKFull-Text 23
  G. MacLellan; L. Baillie; M. Granat
At least 60% of the world's population is not sufficiently active to benefit their health. This can be attributed in part to reduced participation in active leisure pursuits, and an increase in sedentary behavior in the workplace. Another key factor is that walking has declined in recent decades and this is thought to be due to an increase in car use and layout of urban environments which are dominated by cars and so do not appeal to pedestrians [4]. Other aspects of the local environment such as availability of parks and other recreation facilities, land use and transport system can also have a discouraging or alternatively an encouraging influence on walking and other forms of physical activity [6].
   As local environment and travel patterns strongly influence physical activity, location context can be a valuable additional source of information when analyzing activity levels and activity patterns. The system described in this paper measures concurrent physical activity and location (GPS) and uses this data to produce measures relating to the following two areas:
  • Physical activity at different locations
  • Travel (walking and motorized transport) Information produced is designed to identify:
  • Changes in activity levels (general and within certain locations)
  • Scope for increased activity in particular settings
  • Amount, frequency and intensity of walking and its contribution to travel
  • Potential barriers to physical activity. This can inform individuals of their physical activity levels and provide quantifiable outcomes on the impact of interventions to increase physical activity.
    Keywords: accelerometer, global positioning system (GPS), health, measurement, physical activity, travel
  • A scheme for on-site service provision in pervasive assistive environments BIBAKFull-Text 24
      G. Pantziou; P. Belsis; D. Gavalas; C. Konstantopoulos; B. Mamalis
    Remote healthcare monitoring and on demand provision of support attracts a lot of interest due to the ability to provide assistance to elderly and patients when needed; thus on one side the hospitals demand less personnel to be engaged in monitoring patients, whereas on the other side the patient does not need to remain hospitalized unless there is need to. Wireless and wearable devices enable the constant monitoring of vital parameters; with the aid of appropriate infrastructures they can be sent to the hospital and when it is needed help can be sent at home. As the number of remotely monitored patients grows, there is a need for efficient management of emergency messages originating from portable and wearable devices as well as a demand for an efficient management scheme for mobile units, which provide help at home or transfer patients to the hospital. We present an architecture that enables provision of help at home with wearable devices and wireless transmission methods. Our approach also focuses on providing help at home in an efficient manner minimizing the service time while maintaining high availability for the high priority calls. We present an algorithm that enables the management of prioritized messages and manages the mobile units providing assistance at home in an efficient manner.
    Keywords: assistance at home, medical information systems, mobile k-server problem, remote healthcare monitoring
    Zombee: a home automation prototype for retrofitted environments BIBAKFull-Text 25
      Dacian Tudor; Andrei Stancovici; Bogdan Popescu; Vladimir Cretu; Gernot Reisinger
    As home automation systems become more and more present, we propose a new solution by addressing some of the shortcomings of current solutions. We are developing an open system specially built for existing environments which need flexible automation functionalities. Our solution has the advantage of seamless integration in the existing home structure without important changes such as wiring when installing our system. The system is easy to operate and offers great flexibility in regular monitoring and controlling home automation tasks. Zombee brings a new approach by supporting the user to create complex automation programs, which are orchestrating device interactions tailored to the user's needs. These programs are run in background without any assistance from the user. In this manner, the user sets its own use-cases and can change the behavior of the system programmatically.
    Keywords: ZigBee, home automation, wireless communications
    Assistive technologies for use in the home to prolong independence BIBAKFull-Text 26
      Kathryn Daniel; Carolyn L. Cason; Sherry Ferrell
    In this paper, we describe applications of computing assisted technology to home environments of elderly persons.
    Keywords: aging, assistive technology for persons with disabilities, computers and society, gerotechnology, human safety, social issues
    Experiencing NFC-based touch for home healthcare BIBAKFull-Text 27
      Rosa Iglesias; Jorge Parra; Cristina Cruces; Nuria Gómez de Segura
    Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) aims to enhance quality of life of elder and impaired people. Thanks to the advances in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and medical technologies, it is now possible to support new home healthcare services to improve their quality of life. In particular, Near Field Communication Technology (NFC) seems to play an important role in elderly homecare.
       In this paper, a health monitoring system is shown where users can identify themselves by simple touch with an NFC-enabled device and different health information can be wirelessly collected and associated with the identified user. Furthermore, this system enables caregivers or physicians to monitor these health readings and patient actions at home. This system was tested with 17 users that led us to a better understanding of usability and effectiveness of this health system and user needs, and showed their preferences for a certain NFC-enabled device to be used in user identification.
    Keywords: ambient assisted living, elderly people, healthcare, near field communication
    A mediation framework for achieving interoperability in pervasive grid-based homecare systems BIBAKFull-Text 28
      V. Koufi; F. Malamateniou; G. Vassilacopoulos
    Healthcare is an increasingly collaborative enterprise involving many individuals and organizations that coordinate their efforts toward promoting quality and efficient delivery of healthcare. In cases where healthcare delivery is intended to be provided at patients' homes, the delivery process can be facilitated through the use of pervasive homecare systems. In such systems, interoperability is highly demanded in all the levels including the service and data levels. This paper presents a mediator-based approach for achieving interoperability in pervasive process-based healthcare systems built on a Grid infrastructure. The system's architecture is based on a Grid infrastructure upon which healthcare processes are automated using the Business Process Execution Language (BPEL). Client applications are portal-based, operate on mobile devices and can use radio frequency identification (RFID) technology for wireless capture of identification data. The proposed mediation framework enables decoupling of the healthcare processes and the underlying Grid middleware infrastructures. In particular, it resolves issues raised by both the diversity of the middleware infrastructures and the diversity of data formats and semantics used in the databases exposed by Grid middleware services. The framework is built on a software platform that exploits agent and workflow technology, thus providing robustness, high flexibility and fault tolerance in an environment as dynamic and heterogeneous as healthcare.
    Keywords: business process execution language, grid portal application, interoperability, software agents, workflow systems
    Privacy and resource protection in personal network federations BIBAKFull-Text 29
      Ch. Z. Patrikakis; D. M. Kyriazanos; A. S. Voulodimos; I. G. Nikolakopoulos
    The emerging need for peer to peer communication in multi-user environments as well as the breakthrough of ubiquitous computing have contributed to the evolution of Personal Networking towards multiple network collaboration, namely the Personal Networks Federations. Nevertheless, in these environments new threat issues arise, calling for appropriate countermeasures. In this paper, the authors propose a framework for privacy protection in personal networking, based on the idea of creating a trust management mechanism that will meet the need for protecting privacy and safeguarding sensitive and personal information, while satisfying the need for validating and authorizing users that have access to personal resources.
    Keywords: personal networks, privacy, security, threat analysis
    Strong mobile device protection from loss and capture BIBAKFull-Text 30
      Zhengyi Le; Matt Bishop; Fillia Makedon
    Assistive environments employ multiple types of devices to monitor human actions and identify critical events for physical safety. Some of the devices must be wireless in order to be nonintrusive. This introduces the problem of authenticating these devices and building secure communication channels among them. The traditional way is to assign a private key to a device for digital identification. In this paper, we present an approach to protect the private key by introducing a third party and bilaterally and proactively generating a random number to refresh key shares based on Bellare and Miner's forward secure signature scheme. This improves the resilient mediated RSA solution because the entire private key is also updated periodically. In this way, if an attacker steals one key share, he only can use it for a limited period of time because it will be obsolete immediately after the next refresh operation. Even if he compromises both key shares simultaneously, the digital signatures generated by previous private keys are still secure. Our scheme is proven to be intrusion resilient based on the CDH assumption in the random oracle model. The construction is also quite efficient.
    Keywords: assistive environment, authentication, digital signature, forward security, mobile device
    SketchML a representation language for novel sketch recognition approach BIBAKFull-Text 31
      Danilo Avola; Andrea Del Buono; Giorgio Gianforme; Stefano Paolozzi; Rui Wang
    Multimodal interfaces can be profitably used to support increasingly complex services in assistive environments. In particular, sketch-based interfaces offer users an effortless and powerful communication way to represent concepts and commands on different devices. Unlike other modalities, sketch-based interaction can be easily fitted according to heterogeneous services. Moreover it can be quickly personalized according to the user needs.
       Developing a sketch-based interface for a specific service is a time-consuming operation that requires the re-engineering and/or the re-designing of the whole recognizer framework. This paper describes a definitive framework by which the user, simply by using freehand drawing, can define every kind of sketch-based interface. The definition of the interface and its recognition process are performed by using our developed Sketch Modeling Language (SketchML).
    Keywords: SVG, XML, multi-domain, segmentation, sketch recognition, sketch-based interaction, sketch-based interfaces, vectorization
    Ubi-designer: a web-based toolkit for configuring and field-testing UbiComp prototypes BIBAKFull-Text 32
      Martijn H. Vastenburg; Halldór Fjalldal; Charles van der Mast
    Technology is now available for creating affordable sensor networks and infrastructures for ubiquitous computing environments. In the area of ambient assisted living, context-awareness is considered to be a key factor towards creating acceptable solutions that support elderly people in living independently in their homes as long as possible. Unfortunately, at the present state of technology, the design of context-aware products and services requires substantial technical knowledge. Consequently, product designers are often dependent on engineers for implementing prototypes and consequently prototyping their design concepts is a costly and time-consuming process. This paper presents a web-based toolkit that supports product designers in prototyping and configuring interactive context-aware services in multiple homes. The toolkit has been designed and tested in close collaboration with interaction designers. Using the toolkit, designers can make fast design iterations and eventually lower development cost.
    Keywords: context-aware products and services, design, prototyping, toolkits, ubiquitous computing
    3DE: selective cluster head selection scheme for energy efficiency in wireless sensor networks BIBAKFull-Text 33
      Jinsu Kim; Junghyun Lee; Keewook Rim
    The traditional cluster-based routing method is a typical method for enhancing an energy efficiency, which selects cluster head in order to send the aggregated data arriving from the nodes in cluster to a sink. However, caused by the frequent information exchange between selected cluster head and nodes of cluster in setup phase of the cluster formation and direct transmission between isolated nodes which are excluded from the all clusters and sink in steady-state phase, it is necessary to minimize the unnecessary energy dissipation using the equal distribution of cluster heads. We propose an efficient cluster-based routing scheme, called 3DE. In order to configure the optimum distribution of cluster, 3DE selects new cluster head using the information such as direction obtained from upper level cluster head, distance among nodes in the cluster, residual energy and density. Thus this study prolongs the network lifetime and provides equal opportunity for being cluster head.
    Keywords: cluster head selection, cluster-based routing, sleep mode, wireless sensor networks
    Energy-efficient routing protocols in wireless sensor networks for health communication systems BIBAKFull-Text 34
      Nikolaos A. Pantazis; Stefanos A. Nikolidakis; Dimitrios D. Vergados
    Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) have their own unique nature of distributed resources and dynamic topology. This introduces very special requirements that should be met by the proposed routing protocols for the WSNs. A Wireless Sensor Network routing protocol is a standard which controls the number of nodes that come to an agreement about the way to route packets between all the computing devices in mobile wireless networks. Today, wireless networks are becoming popular and many routing protocols have been proposed in the literature. Considering these protocols we made a survey on the WSNs energy-efficient routing techniques which are used for Health Care Communication Systems concerning especially the Flat Networks Protocols that have been developed in recent years. Then, as related work, we discuss each of the routing protocols belonging to this category and conclude with a comparison of them.
    Keywords: flat networks protocols, routing protocols, sensor nodes, wireless sensor networks
    Random sampling key revocation scheme for distributed sensor networks BIBAKFull-Text 35
      Yuan Xue; Helmut Jürgensen
    Distributed key or node revocation facilitates the removal of compromised keys or nodes from a network without requiring a central authority. We propose a new revocation scheme, the random neighbourhood sampling node revocation, for distributed sensor networks. Our protocol is based on simple random sampling, a statistical method to estimate the property of the population through randomly sampling a minimal subset of the population. We exploit one of the inherent features of sensor networks: the sensor nodes are densely deployed, and there is a large overlap of the (wireless) coverage areas of any two neighbouring nodes. The revocation decision is made collectively by the neighbours of a suspicious node. However, instead of collecting the opinions of all neighbours of a suspicious node our scheme samples random subsets of the set of all its neighbours and of the node, which issued the warning. Our protocol is fully decentralized, incurs low communication cost, enables fast reaction to a detected intrusion, is false-detection tolerant and can be implemented with any pairwise key distribution scheme.
    Keywords: key management, key revocation, privacy, security, sensor nets
    Automatic sensor placement in a 3D volume BIBAKFull-Text 36
      Eric Becker; Gutemberg Guerra-Filho; Fillia Makedon
    Given a 3D environment, a set of constraints, and a set of sensor models, this paper addresses the problem of finding the set of sensors and their corresponding placement that covers a target space in the environment. The set of possible sensors is represented in a parametric space associated with the sensor's pose. Initially, the target space is discretized as a set of space elements. A voting scheme builds an accumulator array where each space element votes for all sensors that may observe it while satisfying the perceptual constraints. A heuristic selects the best set of cameras that covers the target space. We present experimental results with synthetic and realistic 3D models.
    Keywords: sensor placement
    A technological infrastructure design for a pediatric oncology network BIBAKFull-Text 37
      Aniello Murano
    In Italy, the service of Pediatric oncology is very centralized and granted by high-specialized medical structures. In particular, in the Italian Regione Campania there are just few of such medical centers that, in case of room availability, take care of the child from the diagnosis until his/her complete healing, providing all necessary treatments along with a number of assistance services both for the patient and his parents. Regione Campania centers are often congested, causing a migration of more than 35% of the young patients towards extraterritorial centers. Also, these medical centers are often far away from the place where the patients leave, forcing them to have recurrently long traveling, sometimes just for a routine test. However, in the Regione Campania there are a lot of facilities and hospitals with high technology equipments and qualified staff that, by means of an appropriate network organization based on a computer network infrastructure, could help during the children's protocol treatment and thus significantly contribute to improve the local and national pediatric oncology service.
       This paper reports an evaluation research for the development, through an engineering approach based on a "hub and spoke" model, of a complete and efficient information system that allows the organization and sharing, at different levels, of clinical information among high-specialized medical centers and the other entities.
    Keywords: e-health, hub and spoke, information system, medical, modern hospital, pediatric oncology, technological innovation
    Non-interrupting user interfaces for electronic body-worn swim devices BIBAKFull-Text 38
      Kilian Förster; Marc Bächlin; Gerhard Tröster
    We evaluate three different non-interrupting user interfaces that give feedback to a swimmer while swimming. We designed three interfaces for audio, visual and haptic feedback. These three systems were used in an experiment to give commands to a swimmer. The recognition rate and the reaction time for each modality was determined.
       The systems do not restrict the users in their swim movements. For the visual and the haptic interfaces the results are promising as 70%-100% of the triggered events were recognized correctly. The reaction time of the subjects was in the range of 1.25 to 2.25 seconds. With the audio feedback we achieved less than 70% of recognized events and a reaction time about twice as long as for the visual or haptic feedback. The audio feedback is therefore not appropriate while swimming.
    Keywords: feedback, sports, swimming, user interface
    A multimodal pervasive framework for ambient assisted living BIBAKFull-Text 39
      Alessia D'Andrea; Arianna D'Ulizia; Fernando Ferri; Patrizia Grifoni
    The increasing need to access information everywhere and at any time leads us to believe that future user interfaces, through which users interact with pervasive computing systems, must address both device and modality independence. The pervasive computing paradigm sees almost every object in the everyday environment as a system able to communicate with users and other systems in their own languages. The interaction between users and systems is therefore typically multimodal. The main challenge of multimodal interaction, that is also the main topic of this paper, lies in developing a framework that is able to process information derived from whatever input modalities, giving these inputs an appropriate representation and integrating these individual representations into a joint semantic interpretation. A description of this multimodal pervasive framework will be given in this paper, along with some details of its application in Ambient Assisted Living and the usability test that was implemented to validate its effectiveness.
    Keywords: ambient assisted living, framework architecture, multimodal languages, pervasive systems
    Pervasive computing and disability: designing for independence? BIBAKFull-Text 40
      Pam Briggs; Linda Little
    In order to introduce disabled users to the ideas underpinning pervasive technologies, three filmed scenarios were created to illustrate near-future interactions in health, commerce and e-voting domains. These filmed scenarios were used in a focus group session with fourteen participants who had either a visual or auditory impairment. Participants were asked to comment on the scenarios and reflect on the costs and benefits of such technologies. The resultant data was coded in terms of general and disability-specific concerns. Particular issues were raised about the need for disabled individuals to delegate certain tasks to trusted others.
    Keywords: disability, identity, pervasive technology, privacy, trust, ubiquitous computing
    Towards a social fabric for pervasive assistive environments BIBAKFull-Text 41
      Clare Owens; David E. Millard; Andrew Stanford-Clark
    The digital divide refers to a lack of technological access, part of which involves exclusion from a blooming arena of social interaction. People without mobile phones or PCs cannot access email, SMS or social networking websites; this includes many groups, such as the elderly, who can become vulnerable without good social contact. By enabling multimodal access to a variety of communication channels, including ubiquitous ones such as televisions and home telephones, this set of people can be included in such interactions. This paper describes a prototype pervasive messaging infrastructure for multimodal communications, and how it can be used as an assistive environment. Our eventual aim is to create a social fabric, a pervasive infrastructure layer to support more complex social experiences in the future.
    Keywords: ambient social experiences, messaging, multimodal communication
    More than user-friendly I/O devices BIBAKFull-Text 42
      Jan Smrz
    Designing a communication device that is to be used with direct human interaction is a complex task. Hardware designer has to meet both the requirements of potential users (human side) and the requirements of programmers (software side). Selecting from a variety of interfaces and protocols and optimizing the technical part of the new device is definitely not enough. The main goal of every designer is to make their products acceptable for users. This article introduces a set of criteria that should be considered to fulfil the needs of users and provides an overview of technologies and their features from that point of view. The combination of being user-friendly, multiplatform, developer-accessible, self-installing or even simple or aestethic is very difficult to achieve, but it is possible as shown in this paper.
    Keywords: HID, I/O devices, USB, multiplatform, self installation, user-friendly
    User-centered design for supporting the self-management of chronic illnesses: an interdisciplinary approach BIBAKFull-Text 43
      Silvia Torsi; Nasrin Nasr; Peter C. Wright; Sue J. Mawson; Gail A. Mountain
    This paper describes an interdisciplinary, user-centered approach to the design of healthcare technologies, involving clinicians, therapists, developers, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Health and Social Care researchers. Our starting point has been to understand patients' experiences of becoming ill through a series of focus groups with health professionals, patients and their carers. We used the metaphor of illness as a journey to capture those experiences. We have also reviewed data in the public domain (http://www.healthtalkonline.org). We have employed a theoretical framework which combines concepts from Activity Theory and other social sciences approaches to model illnesses. We outlined a set of design concepts for the design of the SMART 2 system which are emerging from our analysis of the patient experience.
    Keywords: SMART 2, chronic illnesses, health and social care, human-computer interaction, self-management, service design, user experience design, user-centered design
    'Senior moments': loss and context BIBAKFull-Text 44
      Stefan P. Carmien; Francesca I. Cavallaro; Randal A. Koene
    Everyone occasionally experiences momentary confusion about the intent of an action in the midst of doing an ordinary task ("Why did I come into this room?"). As we age, these momentary confusions, referred to here by the colloquial term senior moments become more frequent. Lapses of this sort can also be the result of specific cognitive degeneration associated with aging and can have an impact on day-to-day living that ranges from annoying to incapacitating. This paper discusses the current understanding of senior moments in relation to cognitive decline and depicts scenarios depicting typical instances of them and common sense techniques to repair the memory slips. We present a discussion of the challenges involved in the design of a computationally based system for supporting lapse remediation, and specific implementation issues involved in providing such a system.
    Keywords: aging and memory, assistive technology, cognitive disabilities, design methodologies, independence
    Activity monitoring by fusion of optical and mechanical tracking technologies for user behavior analysis BIBAKFull-Text 45
      Gerald Bieber; Andre Hoffmeyer; Enrico Gutzeit; Christian Peter; Bodo Urban
    Patient monitoring by camera surveillance within the private surrounding suffers on privacy issues as well as high requirements on sensor technology and infrastructure. Because of those limitations there is not much knowledge on user activities and behavior in the home environment. In this paper we introduce a novel concept of local activity monitoring using a very slim infrastructure. The required technical environment consists only of a Wi-Fi-Webcam and a mobile phone. With a bi-modal sensor fusion approach we improve the optical activity monitoring by inclusion of electromechanical movement sensors data taken from a mobile phone. The fusion of data from cameras and mobile acceleration sensors allow for a comprehensive, non obtrusive observation of people which can be used for behavior analysis, reactive assistance and support, and natural interfaces especially for the elderly.
    Keywords: DiaTrace, acceleration sensor, activity monitoring, activity recognition, ambient custom care, assistive technologies, mobile motion tracking, sensor fusion, user behavior analysis, user state detection
    Ageing in a networked society: social inclusion and mental stimulation BIBAKFull-Text 46
      John A. Waterworth; Soledad Ballesteros; Christian Peter; Gerald Bieber; Andreas Kreiner; Andreas Wiratanaya; Lazaros Polymenakos; Sophia Wanche-Politis; Michele Capobianco; Igone Etxeberria; Louise Lundholm
    Research into ageing and cognition has demonstrated the close relationship of sensory functioning and social communication to maintaining cognitive performance and mood in the elderly, yet in modern societies elderly people are increasingly isolated and under-stimulated, both physically and psycho-socially. This situation results in accelerated cognitive decline and the suffering associated with loneliness and confusion. Health services cannot keep up with the demand for home visits and day care centres that can alleviate this problem. Incorporating new healthcare technologies for proactive health and elder care into everyday living environments can contribute significantly to support the elderly and their carers and is to become a major priority over the next decade. The approach followed in the AGNES project is to keep the elderly mentally and socially stimulated and in contact with others by combining state detection and social network technologies. This paper provides some scientific background for the chosen approach and describes the technological concept of the project.
    Keywords: AGNES, activity monitoring, affect, cognition, pervasive assistance, sensor fusion, social network, user state detection
    Ambient kitchen: designing situated services using a high fidelity prototyping environment BIBAKFull-Text 47
      Patrick Olivier; Guangyou Xu; Andrew Monk; Jesse Hoey
    The Ambient Kitchen is a high fidelity prototype for exploring the design of pervasive computing algorithms and applications for everyday environments. The environment integrates data projectors, cameras, RFID tags and readers, object mounted accelerometers, and under-floor pressure sensing using a combination of wired and wireless networks. The Ambient Kitchen is a lab-based replication of a real kitchen where careful design has hidden the additional technology, and allows both the evaluation of pervasive computing prototypes and the simultaneous capture of the multiple synchronized streams of sensor data. Previous work exploring the requirements for situated support for people with cognitive impairments motivated the design of the physical and technical infrastructure and we describe both our motivations and previous work on interaction design in kitchen environments. Finally, we describe how our lab-based prototype has been put to use as: a design tool for designers; a design tool for users; an observatory to collect sensor data for activity recognition algorithm development, and an evaluation test bed. The limitations and advantages of lab-based, as opposed to in situ home-based testing, are discussed.
    Keywords: kitchen tasks, multi-modal prompting, people with dementia, pervasive computing, prompting, sensor networks assistance in daily activities, ubiquitous computing
    Design and prototype of a device to engage cognitively disabled older adults in visual artwork BIBAKFull-Text 48
      Scott Blunsden; Brandi Richards; Jen Boger; Alex Mihailidis; Tom Bartindale; Dan Jackson; Patrick Olivier; Jesse Hoey
    We investigate technological solutions for arts therapists who work with older adults with cognitive disabilities, such as Alzheimer's disease. We present ethnographic analysis of a survey of arts therapists in the UK and Canada, and show how there is a need for devices that can be used to promote autonomy and independence through engagement with creative visual arts. We then demonstrate a novel device that uses a touch-screen interface, and artificial intelligence software to monitor and interact with a user. Using a probabilistic model, the device monitors the behaviours of a user as well as aspects of their affective or internal state, including their responsiveness and engagement with the device. The device then uses decision theoretic reasoning to take situated actions that promote engagement from the user. We show how the device fits with the ethnographic design, and we give a laboratory demonstration of the functionality of the device. We present and discuss our next steps with this device, including end user testing.
    Keywords: MDP, POMDP, art therapy, computer vision, face detection, partially observable Markov decision process, touch screen
    SmartDrawer: RFID-based smart medicine drawer for assistive environments BIBAKFull-Text 49
      Eric Becker; Vangelis Metsis; Roman Arora; Jyothi Vinjumur; Yurong Xu; Fillia Makedon
    Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is an emerging technology, being used in monitoring including healthcare. We apply different types of RFID tags to monitor drug taking and its impact in an assistive environment. Compared to other active Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs), RFID tags do not need a battery, recharging, and so have no battery power loss problems. RFID tags are tiny in volume, and can be embedded into different objects. This paper talks about an RFID-based application in an assistive environment called "Smart Drawer", which tracks medicine taking for the elderly. We investigate the hardware involved to build such an application and we develop the software infrastructure to create a functional system to assist patients and caregivers with the medication procedures and also collect data for future use.
    Keywords: RFID, ambient intelligence, assistive environments, human activity, sensors, smart furniture
    Using the human body field as a medium for natural interaction BIBAKFull-Text 50
      Andreas Braun; Pascal Hamisu
    In this paper we present a novel technique for integration in assistive environments, using capacitive proximity sensing to detect the presence of a human body, thus creating a medium for natural, deliberate or unaware interaction. As the world's population ages, we witness a growing number of health-related issues and the need to simplify interaction with technologies that are getting ever more complex. We present implementation of hardware and software prototypes of this versatile and cheap technology that can be easily and unobtrusively integrated into ambient assisted living environments.
    Keywords: filters and interaction techniques, fragments, human-centered computing, proximity sensors
    A portable medical unit for medical imaging telecollaboration BIBAKFull-Text 51
      Ilias Sachpazidis; George Kontaxakis; Georgios Sakas
    In this paper, we are going to introduce a multimodal portable medical device for both medical imaging tele-collaboration and monitoring of vital parameters. The introduced portable unit offers diversity of medical devices and is in position to acquire ultrasound images, ECG 12 leads, and blood pressure and be able to measure oxygen level in the blood. In addition, the portable unit is equipped with all available telecommunication gateways (e.g. GSM, UMTS, ISDN, DSL, Satellite) providing a great communication convenience to the physicians utilizing XMMP instant messaging protocols.
    Keywords: DICOM, VITAL, imaging tool, tele-collaboration, telemedicine
    A wireless system for monitoring of children with suspected cardiac arrhythmias BIBAKFull-Text 52
      Efthyvoulos Kyriacou; Marios Pattichis; Kounoudes Anastasis; Constantinos Pattichis; Loukas Paraskeva; Antonis Jossif; Dimitris Hoplaros; Dimitris Vogiatzis
    Arrhythmia is one of the most difficult problems in Cardiology and especially in Pediatric Cardiology. In this study, we present a mobile health (m-Health) system that will be used for continuous monitoring of children with suspected cardiac arrhythmias. The system is able to do real-time acquisition and transmission of ECG signals, and facilitate an alarm scheme able to identify possible arrhythmias so as to notify the on-call doctor and the relatives of the child that an event or something that denotes malfunction is happening.
       In general the problem has been divided into two cases. The first one, called "In-house case" the subject is located in his/her house. While for the second, called "Moving patient case" the subject might be located anywhere else. Our goal is the continuous 24 hours monitoring of the child. During the "In house case", a sensor network installed in the child's house will be used in order to continuously monitor ECG signals from the patient as well as environmental parameters. The second case is more general. For this case, the child will be monitored using the same ECG recording device but the signals will be transmitted, through a PDA device, directly to the central monitoring system. The transmission is performed through the use of 2.5G and 3G mobile communication networks.
       The system design, development and technical tests (using simulator) are finished. The next step will be the better verification of the system on healthy volunteers so as to get ready for application on patients.
    Keywords: children arrhythmias, home monitoring, mobile health, sensor networks, wireless telemedicine
    A wireless distributed framework for supporting assistive learning environments BIBAKFull-Text 53
      C. Skourlas; P. Belsis; F. Sarinopoulou; A. Tsolakidis; D. Vassis; C. Marinagi
    There is a lot of interest in developing environments utilizing various types of assistive technologies lately. Among else, people with specific difficulties may benefit from specially designed devices and software that aim in overcoming the disabilities of various groups. We describe a framework that aims in the provision of advanced services towards the facilitation of access to information for specific groups of people. Among else, our approach uses various tools and techniques. With wireless devices access to information is achieved independently of location, while with personalized services there is a capability to adjust the services and interfaces to various demands. Finally with a specific methodology that has been developed and tested as a result of international projects, the content and interfaces are adjusted to various needs of the participating user-groups.
    Keywords: information retrieval, intelligent information systems
    An auditory computer-based training for mild cognitive impairment and mild Alzheimer's disease: German prototype of the Brain Fitness program BIBAKFull-Text 54
      V. M. Leirer; F. Glöckner; T. Elbert; I. T. Kolassa
    Cognitive decline in aging has been associated with the combined effects of diminishing functions of peripheral senses and diminished cognitive activation. Both effects are associated with loss of neural adaptation and failure to exploit the potential for neuroplastic adaptation. Consequently, reduced or noisy processing, weakened neuromodulatory control and negative learning actively degrade the brain's circuitry and functional architecture. Previous attempts to prevent or delay cognitive decline in normal or pathological aging focused on higher cognitive processes like mnemonic strategies. Cognitive improvements were moderate and did not generalize to other cognitive domains. In contrast, recent studies suggest that neuroplastic remodeling of representational cortex in order to adjust to age-related alterations in sensory fidelity might prevent and even reverse central degradation.
       We describe the theoretical and scientific background of an innovative computer-based auditory discrimination training, which is based on the principles of cortical reorganization in order to renormalize functions degraded by noisy representations of sound and speech. Furthermore, we will illustrate the development of a German prototype and will give an outlook on a current study that evaluates the efficacy of this training program in attenuating or even reversing cognitive decline in people with mild cognitive impairment or mild Alzheimer's disease.
    Keywords: Alzheimer's disease, auditory computer-based training, improvement of cognitive functioning, mild cognitive impairment, neuroplasticity
    Involvement of elderly citizens as potential end users of assistive technologies in the living lab Schwechat BIBAKFull-Text 55
      Walter Hlauschek; Paul Panek; Wolfgang L. Zagler
    This paper describes the efforts of the city of Schwechat in creating a local information society by supporting the Schwechat Living Lab for Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) technologies and services. Local authorities, social service providers, elderly persons, carers, research entities and companies have started to cooperate closely as full partners in this Living Lab in order to invent, discuss, explore, implement, and evaluate innovative technologies to support the independent living of senior citizens. This approach allows focusing on the actual needs of the future users by involving them right from the beginning. The paper gives an overview on the approach of the AAL Living Lab, it describes some projects currently being carried out and discusses the experiences gathered since 2006. The findings in the Living Lab are promising, especially the feedback from the user community is very positive.
    Keywords: AAL, ambient assisted living, assistive technologies, eHeatlth, embedded PC, gait analysis, living lab, participative design, pervasive computing, smart homes, usability, user involvement, video over IP, voice over IP
    T-Seniority: an online service platform to assist independent living of elderly population BIBAKFull-Text 56
      Vasiliki Moumtzi; Josefina Farinos; Christopher Wills
    Nowadays, elderly people, particularly those of an elder age, are closely linked with information for the independent living. This paper presents the results of our investigation to address their needs and on web enabled technologies which can be reached by all elderly people and can facilitate their independent living. In the context of this research we examined already existing platforms which provide e-services and selected the one which provide a neutral, high quality infrastructure for product/service deployment and testing. At the last stage, we propose our approach we intent to implement at the selected platform in order to assist the addressed needs.
    Keywords: assisting living, e-services, elderly people, needs
    An interpretive approach in the evaluation of homecare telematics interventions BIBAKFull-Text 57
      Eleni Kaldoudi; Antonia Chatzopoulou; Vassilis Vargemezis
    Homecare telematics can be regarded as one of the fastest growing healthcare delivery sectors in the developed world and it is further reinforced as healthcare delivery paradigm is shifting from doctor and hospital-centered towards a new model where the citizen becomes responsible for the personalized management of healthcare, delivered at the point of living whenever possible. An important issue in the advancement and deployment of home telehealth services is their assessment. This paper reviews various approaches in health information systems evaluation and argues that home telehealth interventions more than any other such information systems applications require a holistic, interpretive approach in their evaluation, emphasizing the overall assessment of the telehealth service seen as an information system embedded in a clinical and a social context, rather than seen merely as a technical innovation or a drug. The paper proposes an adopted framework for evaluating home telehealth interventions and presents its application for the evaluation of a novel telehealth service for the monitoring and support of peritoneal dialysis at home.
    Keywords: evaluation, home care telematics, interpretivism, peritoneal dialysis, telehealth, web services
    Using affective avatars and rich multimedia content for education of children with autism BIBAKFull-Text 58
      Evdokimos I. Konstantinidis; Magda Hitoglou-Antoniadou; Andrej Luneski; Panagiotis D. Bamidis; Maria M. Nikolaidou
    Autism is a communication disorder that mandates early and continuous educational interventions on various levels like the everyday social, communication and reasoning skills. Computer-aided education has recently been considered as a likely intervention method for such cases, and therefore different systems have been proposed and developed worldwide. In more recent years, affective computing applications for the aforementioned interventions have also been proposed to shed light on this problem. In this paper, we examine the technological and educational needs of affective interventions for autistic persons. Enabling affective technologies are visited and a number of possible exploitation scenarios are illustrated. Emphasis is placed in covering the continuous and long term needs of those persons by unobtrusive and ubiquitous technologies with the engagement of an affective speaking avatar. A personalised prototype system facilitating these scenaria is described. Last but not least, we examine the feedback educators for autistic persons provide for the system in terms of its usefulness, efficiency and the envisaged reaction of the autistic persons, which has been collected by means of an anonymous questionnaire. Results illustrate the clear potential of this effort in facilitating a very promising autism intervention.
    Keywords: affective computing, autism, avatars, computer-aided learning, emotions, human-computer interaction
    Description and future trends of ICT solutions offered towards independent living: the case of LLM project BIBAKFull-Text 59
      Christos A. Frantzidis; Panagiotis D. Bamidis
    Due to the increasing elderly population, healthcare systems able to promote independent living are regarded as an emerging market. Despite the significant advances aiming to support senior citizens, several issues have to be addressed in order to enable older people to live independently and to form living cells of our society. Aiming to contribute to the research of elderly care, this paper reports the open issues that should be taken into consideration in order to provide a technological solution towards Ambient Assistive Living (AAL). After reviewing the most prominent European funded projects, it presents an example of integrated elderly healthcare platform and finally attempts to highlight the future trends which should be employed in order to face with success the social and financial phenomenon of ageing population.
    Keywords: ageing, ambient assistive living, integrated ICT platform, mental health, neurophysiology, skin conductance
    An intelligent robotic assistive living system BIBAFull-Text 60
      Ray Jarvis; Om Gupta; Sutono Effendi; Zhi Li
    This paper describes an intelligent robotic system designed to operate in an assistive technology environment in the aid of elderly and disabled people at home or in a caring institution, to improve their quality of life, giving them more independence from humans for carrying out trivial tasks which, in turn, releases the human helpers to concentrate on the more nurturing aspects of care. Details of progress, to date, are provided.
    ASIBOT assistive robot in a domestic environment BIBAKFull-Text 61
      A. Jardón; J. C. González; M. Stoelen; S. Martínez; C. Balaguer
    New mobile robotic devices are conquering homes. From automatic shades to motorized vacuum cleaning units, advanced technologies are progressively being introduced into real domestic home environments. Technology is no longer being introduced to simply serve information or environmental control. Dynamic and mobile elements are being introduced to perform "household chores" that require dexterous manipulation and advanced sensing and reasoning. This is a huge objective that implies great improvement and advances in current robotic technologies related to anytime availability, safety, and user satisfaction. From the point of view of dependability, the most complex part of a house is the kitchen, attending to the number of static-fixed task devices (white appliances). This is the proposed working scenario, to test the acceptance of a new modular type of robotic aids for handicapped. The ASIBOT-based Domestic Aided Kitchen is the adaptation of a handicapped-adapted kitchen for the operation of the portable climbing robot ASIBOT. This paper presents the first results of simulation of ASIBOT and derived synthesized models in a dynamic VR model of the kitchen, and the current state of investigation for ASIBOT2 and its full integration with the kitchen and user.
    Keywords: VR simulation, assistive robot, task-oriented design
    Methodology for robot mapping and navigation in assisted living environments BIBAKFull-Text 62
      Syed Atif Mehdi; Christopher Armbrust; Jan Koch; Karsten Berns
    Robust navigation in living environments demands high requirements on the control system of a robot. Due to typically narrow passages between obstacles, precise navigation is required. To achieve accuracy in navigation, detailed representation of the environment around the robot needs to be developed. Robust and precise mapping of the environment helps in overcoming the dynamics in the living environment like movement of furniture and human beings. Prompt recovery from unreachable paths while navigating is also an essential component of the living environment robots. This paper describes a behaviour-based navigation system in assisted living environments. The navigation system uses a grid map created from data obtained from laser scanner and ultrasonic sensors mounted on a small sized robot, ARTOS. ARTOS is specially designed for indoor living environments able to navigate through narrow corridors and closely placed furniture in the living environment.
    Keywords: assisted living robot, mapping, mapping and navigation, navigation
    Wheelchair-based open robotic platform and its performance within the AmbienNet project BIBAKFull-Text 63
      Borja Bonail; Julio Abascal; Luis Gardeazabal
    This paper presents the design and development of the Robochair robotic wheelchair and its performance within the AmbienNet project. Robochair is an open robotic platform intended to assist challenged users with their daily driving tasks. It uses and extents the Player robotics framework providing uniform access to either robotics hardware and user input/output devices. In addition to that, and from low level point of view, the CANopen communication layer is used for the communication of any device within Robochair, which allows interoperability and exchangeability of different third party devices. In addition, the paper describes a navigation assistance application within the context of AmbienNet project, where an intelligent environment called AmbienNet supports the global navigation of Robochair wheelchair.
    Keywords: development, intelligent environment, robotics wheelchair, shared control
    Hybrid tracking approach for assistive environments BIBAKFull-Text 64
      Constantinos Lalos; Vasilios Anagnostopoulos; Kleopatra Konstanteli; Theodora Varvarigou
    Camera based supervision is a critical component for patient monitoring in assistive environments. However, visual tracking still remains one of the biggest challenges in the area computer vision although it has been extensively studied during the previous decades. It this paper we propose a hybrid Rao -- Blackwellzed particle filter that combines two efficient, well-known tracking techniques with an innovative color observation representation method in order to improve the overall tracking performance. This representation is combined with color and edge representation to obtain improved tracking efficiency. Furthermore, the global edge description template for the edge representation (histogram of oriented gradients) was obtained using a machine learning technique. Initial experiments show that the principle behind the proposed algorithm is sound, yielding good results and thus allowing its adoption as an initial stage for patient behavior recognition.
    Keywords: Rao-Blackwell particle filter, probabilistic principal components analysis
    Learning to recognise behaviours of persons with dementia using multiple cues in an HMM-based approach BIBAKFull-Text 65
      Christian Peters; Sven Wachsmuth; Jesse Hoey
    This paper presents a learning technique for visual event recognition in a system that assists persons with dementia during handwashing. The challenge is that persons with dementia present a wide variety of behaviors during a single task, typically changing their behaviours drastically from day to day. Any attempt at modeling this variety requires a large set of features, image regions, and temporal dynamics. In this paper, we approach this challenge by supervised learning of generative models from manually segmented and labelled video sequences. Our method uses a generic set of appearance-based colour, motion and texture features, over a static set of regions. We then present two HMM architectures that incorporate multiple image regions by either fusing on a feature-level, or later in the recognition process using a mixture-of-experts approach, in which a gating HMM is applied for the dynamic selection between specialised expert HMMs. Our models are trained on a clinical database of videos, and we compare the HMM approaches with a nearest neighbours scheme. Our results confirm the challenge we present, and indicate that our generative modelling techniques are suitable for inclusion in future prototypes of the hand washing assistant.
    Keywords: HMM, event recognition, supervised learning, task assistance
    Towards faster activity search using embedding-based subsequence matching BIBAKFull-Text 66
      Panagiotis Papapetrou; Paul Doliotis; Vassilis Athitsos
    Event search is the problem of identifying events or activity of interest in a large database storing long sequences of activity. In this paper, our topic is the problem of identifying activities of interest in databases where such activities are represented as time series. In the typical setup, the user presents a query that represents an activity of interest, and the system needs to retrieve the most similar activities stored in the database. We focus on the case where the best database matches are not segmented a priori: the database contains representations of long, continuous activity, that occurs throughout relatively extensive periods of time, and, given a query, there are no constraints as to when exactly a database match starts and ends within the longer activity pattern where it is contained. Using the popular DTW measure, the best database matches can be found using dynamic programming. However, retrieval time is linear to the size of the database and can become too long as the database size becomes larger. To achieve more efficient retrieval time, we apply to this problem a recently proposed technique called Embedding-based Subsequence Matching (EBSM), and we demonstrate that using EBSM we can obtain significant speedups in retrieval time.
    Keywords: dynamic time warping, embedding-based subsequence matching (EBSM), embeddings, subsequence matching, time series
    Carbon nanotube coated high-throughput neurointerfaces in assistive environments BIBAKFull-Text 67
      Mario I. Romero-Ortega; Ali R. Butt; Samir M. Iqbal
    Loosing motor activity due to impaired or damaged nerves or muscles affects millions of people world-wide. The resulting lack of mobility and/or impaired communication bears enormous personal, economical and social costs. While several assistive technologies exist, they rely on device surrogates to compensate for the lack of movement and thus provide limited utility and unnatural interface with the user. The ability of interfacing populations of neurons with super high-density multielectrode arrays (SD-MEA) can provide the sensing from and control of bionics devices by thought. Here we propose a neurointerfacing approach using SD-MEAs coated with carbon nanotubes and high-speed computing to overcome latency and long-term electrical viability bottlenecks that are essential in assistive environments. The proposed approach provides ability for fast integration of recording/stimulation from thousands of individually addressable electrodes, while coordinating a real-time computing approach to register, recognize, analyze and respond appropriately to the biological signals from the motor neurons and sensory signals from the robotic prosthesis.
    Keywords: carbon nanotubes, nanotechnology, reliable computing, super high-density microelectrode arrays (SD-MEA)
    Developing quantum nanocomputing for pervasive health environments BIBAKFull-Text 68
      K. Prousalis; E. Konstantinou; N. Konofaos; A. A. Iliadis
    A model of quantum information processing is proposed for applications in health-care and assistive environments. It uses implanted nano-chips which could incorporate quantum computing technology and make use of the advantages of high computing and large memory capacity of a quantum system to the data storage procedure of a medical sensor. Quantum information and its storage has not yet been physically demonstrated due to the problem of decoherence that dominates such quantum systems. Fault-tolerant quantum error-correction (QEC) circuits have done great efforts to reduce the noise level. In this work a QEC circuit simulator is proposed which takes into consideration the memory noise and the gate noise produced during the evolving process of qubits. For any computational step the probability crash is estimated under different error rates and various parameters. A case study is presented involving data recorded by a pacemaker.
    Keywords: crash probability, fault-tolerant methods, health data, pervasive health environments, quantum computing, quantum error-correction code, quantum nanocomputing applications
    Nanotechnology for biomedicine: past, present and future BIBAKFull-Text 69
      Robert W. Newcomb
    During the last few years nanotechnology has made many advances especially in the biomedical area. Some of the terminology is defined with illustrative devices under consideration discussed here with a view toward what will be coming up in the future.
    Keywords: biomedical engineering, nanotechnology
    End to end secure communication in ad-hoc assistive medical environments using secure paths BIBAKFull-Text 70
      D. Vassis; P. Belsis; C. Skourlas; S. Gritzalis
    Recent advances in technology introduce many new capabilities for several sectors. Among else, the continuous improvement and integration of new features in mobile devices, allow their interoperation and integration to a large number of environments; primarily the medical sector may suffice from their utilization in order to monitor efficiently the condition of patients and provide feedback to specialists, especially in cases of absence of a stable (wired) network infrastructure. Strict security requirements emerge due to the sensitivity of data being transmitted, often imposed by different international legislation processes. We present an architecture that allows secure dissemination of medical information in a secure manner in the absence of stable topologies and infrastructures built upon resource efficient devices. The presented architecture utilizes advanced management techniques, achieving secure and privacy-preserving transmission of sensitive data. A number of initial measurements show the effective operation of our architecture in presence of an adequately large number of users participating in the performance test-bed scenario.
    Keywords: information retrieval, medical information systems, security and privacy, wireless environments
    Pervasive healthcare: the elderly perspective BIBAKFull-Text 71
      Linda Little; Pam Briggs
    The pervasive vision of future technologies raises important questions on how people, especially the elderly, will be able to use, trust and maintain privacy. To begin to address such issues, we conducted focus group sessions with elderly participants aged from 65 to 89 years. The groups were shown three Videotaped Activity Scenarios [5] depicting pervasive or ubiquitous computing applications in three contexts: health, commerce and e-voting. The resultant data was coded in terms of stakeholder, user and system issues. The data is discussed here from the user perspective -- specifically in terms of concerns about trust and privacy.
    Keywords: elderly, privacy, trust, ubiquitous computing
    Security and trust in virtual healthcare communities BIBAKFull-Text 72
      Anargyros Chryssanthou; Iraklis Varlamis; Charikleia Latsiou
    The main purpose of a virtual healthcare community is to enforce members' collaboration and allow them collectively conduct health care activities. Patient monitoring and medical consultation and support are the most popular activities inside health care communities. They bring together medical experts and patients and require confidentiality, reliability and trust in order to be successful. An examination of existing virtual communities for healthcare leads to the conclusion that many of them fail to meet requirements for building trust. Several ethical, legal and technical issues must be considered in order to build a trustful community. This work presents the architecture of a virtual healthcare community portal with emphasis on the issues that help building trust inside the community. With a set of hypothetical usage scenarios that challenge trust in the community we uncover healthcare community's pitfalls and illustrate the solutions provided by the proposed architecture.
    Keywords: health care, security, teleconsultation, trust, virtual communities
    Privacy aware data sharing: balancing the usability and privacy of datasets BIBAKFull-Text 73
      Bhume Bhumiratana; Matt Bishop
    Existing models of privacy assume that the set of data to be held confidential is immutable. Unfortunately, that is often not the case. The need for privacy is balanced against the need to use the data, and the benefits that will accrue from the use of the data. We propose a model to balance privacy and utility of data. This model allows both the data provider and the data user to negotiate both requirements until a satisfactory balance is reached, or one (or both) determine such a balance cannot be reached. Thus, this model enables less than perfect privacy, or less than complete utility, as is appropriate for the particular circumstances under which the data was gathered and is being held, and the specific use to which it is to be put.
    Keywords: data anonymization, data sharing, information security, ontology, privacy, security policy
    Privacy risks in health databases from aggregate disclosure BIBAKFull-Text 74
      Gautam Das; Nan Zhang
    This paper focuses on privacy risks in health databases that arise in assistive environments, where humans interact with the environment and this information is captured, assimilated and events of interest are extracted. The stakeholders of such an environment can range from caregivers to doctors and supporting family. The environment also includes objects the person interacts with, such as, wireless devices that generate data about these interactions. The data streams generated by such an environment are massive. Such databases are usually considered hidden, i.e., are only accessible online via restrictive front-end web interfaces. Security issues specific to such hidden databases, however, have been largely overlooked by the research community, possibly due to the false sense of security provided by the restrictive access to such databases. We argue that an urgent challenge facing such databases is the disclosure of sensitive aggregates enabled by recent studies on the sampling of hidden databases through its public web interface. To protect sensitive aggregates, we enunciate the key design principles, propose a three-component design, and suggest a number of possible techniques that may protect sensitive aggregates while maintaining the service quality for normal search users. Our hope is that this paper sheds lights on a fruitful direction of future research in security issues related to hidden web databases.
    Keywords: hidden databases, privacy preservation
    Personalized location based services with respect to privacy: a user oriented approach BIBAKFull-Text 75
      Charalampos Patrikakis; Athanasios Voulodimos; George Giannoulis
    In this paper, a platform for the creation and deployment of personalized Location Based Services with respect to user's privacy is presented. The platform is based on the creation of mobile services built from service components that are located on a central server. The process of service creation and personalization (including privacy level) is performed by the mobile users, through the selection of the necessary components (tables, attributes, rules).
    Keywords: context awareness, location based services, mobile applications, service creation
    PEON: privacy-enhanced opportunistic networks with applications in assistive environments BIBAKFull-Text 76
      Zhengyi Le; Gauri Vakde; Matthew Wright
    Opportunistic Networking holds a great deal of potential for making communications easier and more flexible in pervasive assistive environments. However, security and privacy must be addressed to make these communications acceptable with respect to protecting patient privacy. In this position paper, we propose Privacy-Enhanced Opportunistic Networking (PEON), a system for using opportunistic networking in privacy-preserving way. PEON uses concepts from anonymous communications, rerouting messages through groups of peer nodes to hide the relation between the sources and destinations. By modifying group size, we can trade off between privacy and communication overhead. Further, individual nodes can make a similar trade off by changing the number of intermediate groups. We describe the cryptographic tools needed to facilitate changes in group membership and the design of simulation experiments that we will conduct to evaluate the overhead and effectiveness of our approach.
    Keywords: anonymity, opportunistic networks, pervasive, privacy, wireless