|Robots will cater to the needs and wellbeing of the elderly in Milan and Extremadura, Spain. /Photo Credit: Dmytro Zinkevych (via Shutterstock)|
According to Politecnico Di Milano of public information portal EurekaAlert, the MoveCare Project European project is now entering its testing phase. The said project is part of the Horizon 2020 Programme, which is led by computer science professor Nunzio Alberto Borghese and the University of Milan. The Laboratory of Applied Intelligent Systems (AIS Lab) of the "Giovanni degli Antoni" Computer Science Department is also part of the project.
There are 14 bodies involved in the consortium, including the Politecnico di Milano's NearLab laboratory and Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Policlinico di Milano (Milan Polyclinic). The project combines IoT, AI, and robotics to improve the quality of life of the elderly who live alone. The project will foster independence and monitor and slow down cognitive and physical decay.
IoT will collect a person’s data, cognitive abilities, motor abilities, and habits at home. Then, this information will be stored in the cloud, which will be analyzed by AI. The AI will examine a “possible psycho-physical decline” and provided a series of customized suggestions to the patient. Suggestions may include activities and physical exercises. When searching for a lost object, the AI will be responsible to provide clues to the patient. It can also give them a clue on people they want to contact.
Then, the AI instructs a social object to look for a missing object or respond to a help request by connecting to a family member “who can see what is happening or emergency room numbers.” The testing phase will last for 10 weeks and will involve 30 elderly people living alone in Milan and Extremadura in Spain. Each individual will receive an IoT sensor kit, a tablet, and smart objects like sensorized insoles. For social and cognitive activities, the participants will have access to an activity center connected to a television.
Exercises on a digital platform will be carried out through microphones and games “to recognize help requests without errors.” Meanwhile, 20 users will be given a robot. Project coordinator Alberto Borghese explained, "Western society is changing, not only because the population is aging, but also because the family is losing its central role in society.” The project helps stimulate the elderly to live an active lifestyle and monitor their physical and cognitive condition for early intervention.