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The GiraffPlus Project - Detecting Whether a Person Has Fallen

Author: Thomas C. Weiss : Contact: Disabled World

Published: 2014-05-17 : (Rev. 2019-02-08)

Synopsis and Key Points:

GiraffPlus has the ability to monitor activities in the home using sensors that can measure blood pressure or detect whether the person has fallen down.

Main Digest

GiraffPlus is a system with the ability to monitor activities in a person's home using a network of sensors, not only in and around the home, but on a person's body as well. The sensors can measure blood pressure or detect whether the person has fallen down. Different services, depending upon the person's needs, may be preselected and tailored to the requirements of both seniors and health care providers. The heart of the system is a unique, 'telepresence,' robot named, 'Giraff.' The robot makes use of a Skype-like interface that permits caregivers or relatives to visit virtually in a senior's own home.

Emphasis in the project is placed on evaluation and input from people so the system can have an empathetic user interaction and approach the real needs and capabilities of the people using the system. The Giraff+ system will be installed and evaluated in around 15 homes of seniors in Italy, Sweden and Spain. The evaluations drive development of the system itself. GiraffPlus has some different project aims such as:

The Need for GiraffPlus

The majority of people have a desire to live in their own homes even when they are older. They desire to maintain a richer social life and maintain their habits. A growing number of seniors who live at home is a positive from an economic perspective.

The creation of conditions for independent living for seniors is a challenge and a number of issues have to be resolved. The deterioration of a person's health has to be detected quickly so interaction with health care providers and family members may be ensured. There is also a need for flexible support services and products in age-related disability. Preventative medicine and health efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle and delay the onset of age-related diseases is also an issue that must be approached.

The Aims of the GiraffPlus Project

The GiraffPlus project aims at developing a system that address the challenges mentioned above. The system is comprised of a network of home sensors which; for example, measure a person's blood pressure, or detect if they have fallen off of a chair. The data is then interpreted in terms of health and well-being, activities, such as if the person is relaxed or needs to go to bed.

Events can trigger alerts or reminders to a health care provider or be analyzed. A, 'telepresence,' robot - Giraff, can be moved around the home of a person who is online through the Internet and assists the user to keep their social connections alive.

The GiraffPlus project aims to contribute to a reduction in the costs of health care as a number of health ailments may be addressed in an early stage of onset. For seniors, the concept presented in the organization's proposal provides a tool to address concerns about safety and isolation by encouraging social contact and increasing quality of life and the potential for prolonging independent living.

For care providers, the specific technologies developed in the project allow for continuous information about the status of the senior while encouraging meaningful interaction about the person's well-being. The technologies enable timely involvement and provide time effective care while leading to economical savings.

Testing the GiraffPlus System

The motivation of the development-evaluation cycle is to involve users of the system early in the process and allow their input to drive the development of the GiraffPlus system. The motivation is also to enable the system components to develop each at its own pace. Specific emphasis is placed on user evaluation outside the laboratories.

The GiraffPlus system will be installed and evaluated in at least 15 homes of seniors in 3 European countries; Spain, Italy and Sweden. The evaluations will drive the development of the system. The concept of, 'use-worthiness,' will be central in order to assure that the GiraffPlus system provides services that are easy and worthwhile. By using existing, affordable components the organization strives to achieve a system that is both affordable and close to commercialization.

Before the first home installation, GiraffPlus will perform the first technical tests in a deployment laboratory in Orebro, Sweden. The lab facility is called, 'Angen Research and Innovation Apartment,' and is located in a unique complex with several services such as daily rehabilitation, health clinics and more.

Related Projects

The people behind GiraffPlus are also pursuing additional related projects. These projects include aging Well, ProFouND, SRS-project, and Florence. What follows are descriptions of these projects.

Chart showing projects related to the GiraffPlus project
Chart showing projects related to the GiraffPlus project

agingWell: The aim of the agingWell Thematic Network is to build and animate a European network focused on the improvement of quality of life for seniors by promoting the market uptake of ICT solutions. The GiraffPlus project and agingWell Thematic Network have signed a protocol for collaboration for enhanced dissemination of project results.

ProFouND: The ProFouND project is an ICT PSP Thematic Network on Falls Prevention that involves 21 partners from 12 European countries. GiraffPlus is an associate member of the project.

SRS-project: The SRS project focuses on the development and prototyping of remotely-controlled and semi-autonomous robotic solutions in domestic environments to support seniors. In particular, the SRS project will demonstrate an innovative and practical, efficient system called, 'SRS robot,' for personalized home care.

Robot-Era: The objective of the Robot-Era project is to develop, implement as well as demonstrate the general feasibility, scientific and technical effectiveness and social/legal plausibility and acceptability by users of a plurality of complete and advanced robotic services - integrated in intelligent environments, which will actively work in real conditions and cooperate with real people and between them to favor independent living while improving the quality of life and the efficiency of care of seniors.

Florence: The objective of Florence is to research and investigate the role robots may play for assisting and improving the well-being of seniors and to increase efficiency in senior care. More specifically, the Florence project has concentrated on the creation of a low-cost robotic AAL services platform that supports both AAL and lifestyle services in coaching, social inclusion, and safety

The GiraffPlus Project:

GiraffPlus is a complex system which can monitor activities in the home using a network of sensors, both in and around the home as well as on the body. The sensors can measure e.g. blood pressure or detect e.g. whether somebody falls down. Different services, depending on the individual's needs, can be pre-selected and tailored to the requirements of both the older adults and health care professionals.

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