|The CompanionAble Project|
There are widely acknowledged imperatives for helping the elderly live at home (semi)-independently for as long as possible. Without cognitive stimulation support the elderly dementia and depression sufferers can deteriorate rapidly and the carers will face a more demanding task. Both groups are increasingly at the risk of social exclusion.
CompanionAble will provide the synergy of Robotics and Ambient Intelligence technologies and their semantic integration to provide for a care-giver's assistive environment. This will support the cognitive stimulation and therapy management of the care-recipient. This is mediated by a robotic companion (mobile facilitation) working collaboratively with a smart home environment (stationary facilitation).
The distinguishing advantages of the CompanionAble Framework Architecture arise from the objective of graceful, scalable and cost-effective integration. Thus CompanionAble addresses the issues of social inclusion and homecare of persons suffering from chronic cognitive disabilities prevalent among the increasing European older population. A participative and inclusive co-design and scenario validation approach will drive the RTD efforts in CompanionAble; involving care recipients and their close carers as well as the wider stakeholders. This is to ensure end-to-end systemic viability, flexibility, modularity and affordability as well as a focus on overall care support governance and integration with quality of experience issues such as dignity-privacy-security preserving responsibilities fully considered.
CompanionAble will be evaluated at a number of testbeds representing a diverse European user-base as the proving ground for its socio-technical-ethical validation. The collaboration of leading gerontologists, specialist elderly care institutions, industrial and academic RTD partners, including a strong cognitive robotics and smart-house capability makes for an excellent confluence of expertise for this innovative project.