Motivations

The innovative idea of the project is to design and develop a modular and extendableopen architecture” solution for elderly users to close this digital divide and empower elderly users to fully benefit from the latest technological innovations to improve the management of their daily lives and to stay physically, mentally and socially active.  A user centric design approach, focusing on co-creation, will be used to identify and recommend applications that provide the best value (cost, learning curve versus benefit) for the elderly users.  An “open architecture” will allow the elderly to progressively add on new applications without getting overwhelmed by having to learn everything at once.  An intuitive and friendly user interface, presented as a social companion, will provide a familiar interaction setting, even as the underlying services and technology are extended or improved.

Vizier’s main interface will be presented as a social companion, which can be represented as an avatar on a single dedicated device (e.g. tablet, tv-set) and/or robotic solution, connected to a home speaker system. It will serve as an intelligent support companion and interacts with the user by voice. In the background, there will be several state-of-the-art core components tracking the user at home, interpreting the user activity, and interpreting the user speech input.

The Vizier platform will generate the human-like intelligent and social behaviour of the companion using computational components for simulating natural language, emotional behaviour and memory. These components will make it possible for the system to interact naturally with the user. To complement the companion-based interaction, the Vizier project aims also to design and develop intuitive graphical user-interfaces for tablet-based applications. Simpler user-interfaces for representing social networks, events, agenda, mental training and physical activity as well as interfaces for interacting with the friends and family will be designed and developed during the project and based on the user needs. Further, the companion design, behaviour and dialogues will also be defined during the user analysis phase. With all the components together, the user can control home appliances (e.g. cleaning robots, lights, etc.), manage and track his/her activities inside and outside the house, monitor their own health, learn specific mental wellness techniques as well as be motivated to do physical exercises inside and outside of the house (e.g. going for a walk). The design of the system interaction with the elderly will incorporate behaviour change techniques to stimulate the elderly to stay physically, mentally and socially active.  Furthermore, Vizier aims to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the elderly at home by integrating existing safety devices (such as alert button, fall sensor) and alerting the carers through an emergency procedure when needed.