This project is commissioned non-commerical ('pet project') work. The objective is to monitor an old lady, who suffers from cognitive impairment and should not leave her bed, because of a complicated hip fracture.

The problem is that the lady must not put weight on her leg, however, she cannot remember this cruical medical advice. At the hospital/nursery home they have sensor doormats in front of the bed that can detect full-body weight, but this is already too late.

Thus, the goal of this project is to create a sensor that already detects the attempt of leaving the bed. This is accomplished by a simple distance sensor, which triggers an alarm whenever a body crosses its covering area. An additional challenge is provided by the requirement that the hospital's equipment must not be mechanically altered.

Read More: ProxyCare Monitoring System (2014)

From the abstract of the paper referenced below:

In HCI, there is much interest in exploring novel technology-mediated communication that can empower older users who don’t have easy access to regular computers. In this paper we exploit the potential of smart phones and tablet computers to create a series of technology probes that we deploy long-term making use of close family members. By this means participants can gain experiences with robust and fully implemented devices at a very early stage of design. We lay out four prototypes of communication technologies with different forms and functions for older adults. We describe the features of these devices including some indicative feedback from our informal deployment study. We thereby suggest that mobile phones are a suitable means for the rapid prototyping of communication technologies for senior people and can possibly provide useful input to later participatory or co-design activities. The overall work is still ongoing hence the main contribution of the paper is about the potential of rapid technology probes as a design technique and in less detail about the potential of the prototypes as AAL communication devices.


Read More: Tablet Companion (2011-2013)

From the abstract of the paper referenced below:

Assistive Technologies can be of enormous help for people with disabilities. Still, such supportive devices are often considered to be poor in aesthetics, leaving the person feeling stigmatised by the technology and resulting in a reduced usage and compliance. In this paper we report on a case study of a young person suffering from cerebral palsy and describe a wearable device, RemoteLogCam, that was designed to help him self-manage his hand spasms and at the same time provide his first opportunity to take his own photos. We call this an example of assistive lifestyle technologies (ALT), designed not only to assist people with special needs in a functional sense, but that also enhance the experience of such a device in a pleasing way. In this case, over the course of 6 months use to date, RemoteLogCam augmented our participant’s own self-management of spasms and his creative and practical documentation needs.

Read More: Flexglove (2011-2013)

Jinglan Zhang, Margot Brereton, Peter Purgathofer, Geraldine Fitzpatrick and me are currently conducting research into enhancing web accessibility for people with a disability. In first line, this work is suppossed to delight people who usually cannot operate a computer by offering them a way for simple web searches which might result in some appealing images.

We propose to utilize RFID tokens to store and materialize website addresses into tangible handles for web access. Most importantly, we use tokens to store frequently used key words and serve as visual aids to enable query through the combination of different search tokens.

As a consequence, the user can search for a preset number of keywords without typing. In the demo video, we show how a image search for "pink cake" is initiated (note, one participant enjoyed browsing images of pink cake on the Internet, therefore we gave the prototype the name of "pink cake"). This works by simply placing the tokens "pink", "cake" and "start image search" on the RFID reader device. Tokens can also hold links to songs or to URLs. The tokens can be configured quite easiliy (see second video).

As a next step, we plan to co-desing customized tokens (tangible objects) and create them with our 3D printer.

Read More: Enhancing Web Accessibility for People with Disability (Work-in-Progress)