Section: Application Domains

Assistive computing in the home

In this avenue of research, we have been developing a systemic approach to introducing an assisted living platform for the home of older adults. To do so, we formed an interdisciplinary team that allows (1) to identify the user needs from a gerontological and psychological viewpoint; (2) to propose assistive applications designed by human factors and HCI experts, in collaboration with caregivers and users; (3) to develop and test applications designed and developed by software engineers; (4) to conduct a field study to assess the benefits of the platform and assistive applications, in collaboration with caregivers, by deploying the system at the actual homes.

Our research activities for assistive computing in the home are conducted under the HomeAssist project. This work takes the form of a platform offering an online catalog of assistive applications that orchestrate an open-ended set of networked objects. Our platform leverages DiaSuite to quickly and safely develop applications at a high level.

Our scientific achievements include the design principles of our platform, its key features to effectively assist individuals in their home, field studies to validate HomeAssist, the expansion of HomeAssist to serve individuals with ID, and the technology transfer of HomeAssist. Note that a complete presentation of this work, from a Cognitive Science perspective, is given in the doctoral thesis of Lucile Dupuy published this year.

Project-team positioning

There is a range of platforms for assisted living aimed at older adults that have been developed for more than a decade. Most of these platforms are used in a setting where participants come to a research apartment to perform certain tasks. This setting makes it difficult to assess user acceptance and satisfaction of the proposed approaches because the user does not interact with the technology on a daily basis, over a period of time. Furthermore, older adults adopt routines to optimize their daily functioning at home. This situation calls for field studies in a naturalistic setting to strengthen the evaluation of assisted living platforms.

HomeAssist innovates in that it supports independent living across the activities of daily living and is validated by field studies in naturalistic setting.