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Towards Dependable Virtual Companions for Later Life
Linköping University, Department of Computer and Information Science, IISLAB - Laboratory for Intelligent Information Systems. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2005 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

When we grow older, we become more vulnerable to certain reductions in quality of life. Caregivers can help, however human care is limited, and will become even scarcer in the near future. This thesis addresses the problem by contributing to the development of electronic assistive technology, which has the potential of effectively complementing human support. In particular, we follow the vision of a virtual companion for later life- an interactive computerbased entity capable of assisting its elderly user in multiple situations in everyday life.

Older adults will only benefit from such technology if they can depend on it and it does not intrude into their lives against their will. Assuming a software engineering view on electronic assistive technology, this thesis thus formulates both dependability requirements and ethical guidelines for designing virtual companions and related technology (such as smart homes).

By means of an iterative development process (the thesis covers the first iteration), a component-based design framework for defining dependable virtual companions is formed. Personalised applications can be generated efficiently by instantiating our generic architecture with a number of special-purpose interactive software agents. Scenario-based evaluation of a prototype confirmed the basic concepts of the framework, and led to refinements.

The final part of the thesis concerns the actual framework components and the applications that can be generated from them. From a field study with elders and experts, we construct a functional design space of electronic assistive technology applications. It relates important needs of different older people to appropriate patterns of assistance. As an example application, the feasibility of driving support by vehicular communication is studied in depth.

Future iterations with real-world experiments will refine our design framework further. If it is found to scale to the dynamic diversity of older adults, then work can begin on the ultimate project goal: a toolkit on the basis of the framework that will allow semi-automatic generation of personalised virtual companions with the involvement of users, caregivers, and experts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 2005. , 22 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1194
Keyword [en]
Older adults, assistive technology, virtual companion, dependability, requirements, software architecture, agents, patterns, user involvement, personalisation, human-computer interaction
National Category
Computer Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-30611Local ID: 16202ISBN: 91-85457-25-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-30611DiVA: diva2:251434
Presentation
2005-11-16, Alal Turing, Hus B, Linköpings Universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-10-09 Created: 2009-10-09 Last updated: 2013-11-06
List of papers
1. Dependability requirements to aid the design of virtual companions for later life
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Dependability requirements to aid the design of virtual companions for later life
2004 (English)In: Proceedings of the First 'HEAT: The Home and Electronic Assistive Technology Workshop' / [ed] G. Baxter and G. Dewbury, Lancaster, UK: Lancaster University Computing Department , 2004, 51-60 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Frail older people can normally not be given round-the-clock care-giving assistance. During the time there is no other person around they must be independent. Electronic assistive technology (EAT) can increase an older person's independence in everyday life, but to do so it must be dependable. This paper examines issues of dependability for a special class of EAT software, virtual companions for later life. A virtual companion is a personal system of interconnected functions aiming to assist an elderly user by imitating elder-caregiver interaction. In order to provide designers with an aid for defining, designing, and validating virtual companions, the first part of the paper identifies and discusses the special dependability requirements to be put on such software. The second part describes our own approach, and gives suggestions on how to design for dependability.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lancaster, UK: Lancaster University Computing Department, 2004
Keyword
assistive technology, elderly, independence, dependability, trustworthiness, virtual companion, requirements, agents, user-centred software design, human-computer interaction
National Category
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-22818 (URN)2156 (Local ID)2156 (Archive number)2156 (OAI)
Conference
HEAT: The Home and Electronic Assistive Technology Workshop. York, UK, 1617 March 2004
Available from: 2009-10-07 Created: 2009-10-07 Last updated: 2013-11-06
2. Ethical Guidelines for Research on Electronic Assistive Technology
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ethical Guidelines for Research on Electronic Assistive Technology
2006 (English)In: Etik i forskningens vardag / [ed] Anna-Liisa Närvänen & Elisabet Näsman, Linköping: Linköping University , 2006, 67-104 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper casts an ethical spotlight on the development of advanced computer systems, in particular assistive technology (e.g. for older people). Recent progress in the design and application of monitoring and automation as well as computer-based cognitive and physical assistance is dramatic - sometimes in a good, sometimes in a bad sense. By analyzing four cases of 21st century assistive technology, the text identifies ethical dilemmas in research and the application of products. A set of design recommendations is derived, intended to inspire development of electronic assistive technology that helps in an effective way without being intrusive.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University, 2006
Series
Arbetsrapport från Tema Ä, ISSN 1652-2176 ; 1
National Category
Ethics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-100404 (URN)
Note

This is an updated extract from the chapter 'Computer ethics in the 21st century' which is included in the licentiate thesis 'Towards Dependable Virtual Companions for Later Life' by Dennis Maciuszek.

Available from: 2013-11-06 Created: 2013-11-06 Last updated: 2013-11-06
3. Evaluation and refinement of a design framework for generating dependable virtual companions for later life
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Evaluation and refinement of a design framework for generating dependable virtual companions for later life
2005 (English)In: From Smart Homes to Smart Care. ICOST 2005, Amsterdam: IOS Press , 2005, 50-64 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Resources in care for frail older people are limited. Electronic assistive technology can help maintain and improve older people's quality of life, however high requirements need to be put on such systems. As part of an iterative design process, this paper evaluates a framework for the design of interactive, multifunctional, and personalised assistive technology - virtual companions - in relation to previously defined dependability requirements. By means of scenario-based testing of a prototype implementation, we refine the first version of the design framework. The paper concludes with a reflection on our method, and outlines the iteration steps to follow.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2005
Keyword
assistive technology, elderly, virtual companion, dependability, personalisation, iterative design, multi-agent system
National Category
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-28864 (URN)000272997300006 ()14057 (Local ID)1-58603-531-2 (ISBN)14057 (Archive number)14057 (OAI)
Conference
From Smart Homes to Smart Care. ICOST 2005. 3rd International Conference on Smart homes and health telematics. Magog, Canada. 4-6 July 2005.
Available from: 2009-10-09 Created: 2009-10-09 Last updated: 2013-11-06
4. What help do older people need? Constructing a functional design space of electronic assistive technology applications
Open this publication in new window or tab >>What help do older people need? Constructing a functional design space of electronic assistive technology applications
2005 (English)In: Assets '05 Proceedings of the 7th international ACM SIGACCESS conference on Computers and accessibility, New York: ACM , 2005, 4-11 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In times of ageing populations and shrinking care resources, electronic assistive technology (EAT) has the potential of contributing to guaranteeing frail older people a continued high quality of life. This paper provides users and designers of EAT with an instrument for choosing and producing relevant and useful EAT applications in the form of a functional design space. We present the field study that led to the design space, and give advice on using the tool.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: ACM, 2005
Keyword
assistive technology, older adults, needs, patterns, field study, design space, interactive agents, software components, user involvement
National Category
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-29621 (URN)10.1145/1090785.1090790 (DOI)15000 (Local ID)1-59593-159-7 (ISBN)15000 (Archive number)15000 (OAI)
Conference
ASSETS 2005 - The Seventh International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility. Baltimore, USA. 9-12 October.
Available from: 2009-10-09 Created: 2009-10-09 Last updated: 2013-11-06
5. Using Vehicular Communication to Support Older Drivers at Road Intersections: A Feasibility Study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Using Vehicular Communication to Support Older Drivers at Road Intersections: A Feasibility Study
Show others...
2004 (English)In: Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Smart homes and health Telematics, Amsterdam, The Netherlands: IOS Press , 2004, 33-40 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

More and more people are living to old age, and it is usually a desire among elderly people to sustain mobility. Unfortunately, the crash rate of older adults is much higher than for other drivers. Older drivers are also more likely to sustain serious injuries that lead to disability or death. Therefore, technological contributions for improving traffic safetyand preserving mobility of older people are important. One promising new approach is to use traffic safety systems based on vehicular communication, where vehicles exchange warning messages. This paper evaluates the feasibility of using such vehicular communication for supporting older drivers in road intersections, which is the most common accident setting for older drivers. Using a temporal reasoning system (ECAM) this accident setting is analysed in depth, and the potential foraccident avoidance is quantified, while taking into account several relevant factors such as speed, driver reaction time, and transmission delay for warning messages. The results indicate the high potential of vehicular communication, and highlight requirements on transmission delay.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Amsterdam, The Netherlands: IOS Press, 2004
Keyword
vehicular communication, traffic safety, accident avoidance, elderly, intersections
National Category
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-22526 (URN)1787 (Local ID)1787 (Archive number)1787 (OAI)
Conference
2nd International Conference on Smart homes and health Telematics. Singapore. 15-17 September 2004
Available from: 2009-10-07 Created: 2009-10-07 Last updated: 2013-11-06

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