Towards Dependable Virtual Companions for Later Life
2005 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
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.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1194
Older adults, assistive technology, virtual companion, dependability, requirements, software architecture, agents, patterns, user involvement, personalisation, human-computer interaction
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-30611Local ID: 16202ISBN: 91-85457-25-6OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-30611DiVA: diva2:251434
2005-11-16, Alal Turing, Hus B, Linköpings Universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (Swedish)
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