Archive for the ‘ASSIST’ Category

In the News

星期四, 四月 17th, 2008

UBot5 interacting with children

Our work has finally been picked up by the press, there is been a recent surge of articles written about our uBot-5 mobile platform designed eldercare applications, check them out!

UMass press release

Context-aware mobile devices

星期四, 三月 29th, 2007

Master thesis : a learning control approach for context aware applications, where reinforcement learning is used for a mobile device system to autonomously learn to adaptive to user’s behavior pattern, and thus be able to pro-actively attend to user’s needs in a least intrusive manor.


Hacking a sensor bar for the Wii

星期一, 三月 19th, 2007

It turns out that the wii sensor bar is just an array of IR leds. The actual sensor is in the remote. The video faked the IR signal using a pair of standard remotes. This is great news for people like me who want to use the wii remote as a gesture interface but dont want to attach an actual wii to the system. :)
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YouTube link to: Hacking sensor bar

Virtual Dinning Experience

星期二, 三月 6th, 2007

Another nice spin-off application for the video phone technology in eldercare.

virtual dinning experience

The concept is simple. An elderly woman in, say, California, makes herself dinner. When she gets ready to sit down and eat, the system detects it and alerts her son in Chicago. The son then goes to his kitchen, where a small camera and microphone capture what he is doing. Speakers and a screen — as big as a television or as small as a picture frame — allow him to hear and see his mother, who has a similar setup.

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Wii-mote Driving Simulated Mobile Robot

星期四, 一月 25th, 2007

WiiMoteMy first attempt at programming with the wii-mote . It seems to be a perfect device for creating natural gesture interfaces for controlling robots, especially arm and hand movements.

This is a test on a simulated robot. Next step is to control a real bi-manual humanoid robot (Dexter) and a self-balancing mobile manipulator robot (uBot). Stay tuned!

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YouTube link to: Wii-mote Driving a Simulated Robot

Look, ma, I am using my hands!

星期一, 十一月 20th, 2006

Make mouse selections, move objects on screen around with your hand. Hand motions are tracked using the CamShift algorithm using color histograms. A fun 2-hour project. :) Check out the result:

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YouTube link to: A hand-mouse interface

Motivation for the ASSIST project

星期五, 十一月 17th, 2006

The United States is about to experience the greatest demographic change in its history. Most of this change will occur over the next 30 years, as 77 million baby boomers cease to work and pay payroll taxes and instead start to retire and collect benefits.

The problems arising from this change in demographics include spiraling health care costs and shortages of trained nurses and doctors \cite{Zarit1998}. The percentage of elders in the population will increase dramatically as the first segment of the baby boomer cohort becomes 65 in 2011 \cite{Hobbs2002}. Many of these elders will want to remain in the home, but with aging come higher rates of functional and cognitive deficits \cite{Gist2004} that, in many cases, result in limitations in at least one activity of daily living [Kassner, 2006]. Demographics for veterans follow similar patterns; there are 9.8 million veterans over 65 in the 2000 census (Older Americans 2000 Update, 2006), and those 85 and older will almost triple from 510,000 to 1.3 million by 2010 \cite{Atizado2004}. As the Veterans Adminstration (VA) shifts the locus of care to the community, gaps already exist regarding access by veterans to non-institutional care. At the same time, veterans are more likely to be older, disabled and have lower income than the general population \cite{Atizado2004}.

overtaxing of the traditional “mainframe” approach to medical services

It is likely that technologies for the home can help to relieve the inevitable stress on the medical infrastructure and to extend the period of time that elders can live independently. First and foremost, these technologies include assistance in the activities of daily living (ADL)—technologies that enhance safety and security, assistance in daily medical compliance, help with client calendars and daily chores such as household cleaning and grocery shopping. Second, elders are susceptible to isolation as they become less mobile[Pin et~al., 2005; Michael et~al., 1999]. Devices that facilitate communication and social elationships between peers, families, and the surrounding community can help these clients remain onnected socially. Third, the dearth of trained physicians and nurses together with a diminished capacity to travel independently means that more of this population must receive regular medical checkups in their homes by physicians that make virtual house calls rather than in a centralized facility. Technologies in the home that create an appropriate interface between the medical industry and the elderly client can help to make efficient use of the medical infrastructure and improve the frequency of care and oversight.

ASSIST project video phone application

星期日, 十一月 12th, 2006

The video phone application is built on top of existing commercial packages that handle the low-level video encoding/decoding and transmissions. This enabled us to focus our design attention more toward the interface issues involved rather than reinventing the wheel. The design paradigm we chose to follow can be summarized as:

Simplicity, clarity and modality

  • First, the interface has to be simple. Cluttering the interface with extra features that will not be used by the users would only cause confusion and intimidation. Menus and buttons that are not relevant to the functionality of video phone were hidden away from the user.
  • Secondly, the interface needs to be clear to an elder. Font employed by most instant messenger systems is in general too small. Our design uses large font size as well as large picture IDs of their contacts such that they can be easily identified and selected by the user.
  • Finally, we use different modality input to the system to overcome elder’s various physical deficiencies. For instance, for people with difficulties using the mouse as a pointing device, a touch-screen is overlaid on top of the monitor to allow pointing directly using the user’s hand. For people with motion disabilities, an alternative input modality can offered such that they can use heir voices to control the application.

VideoPhone Screenshot 1 VideoPhone Screenshot 2 VideoPhone Screenshot 3

The video phone application can be used whenever communication with the outside world is required. For instance, elders can use it to engage face-to-face conversations with family and friends to reduce sense of isolation and related symptoms such as depression. In time of crisis such as falling, the video phone application is integrated with the fall detection system such that emergency call will be placed directly. A priority list can be specified by the user a priori in case of at the time of occurrence, one of the contacts such as the user’s neighbor, close relative or doctor is absent. 911 can be listed as a last resort. The system will scan through the list, and place calls until someone is reached. This paper will discuss extensions to these applications as a mobile manipulator is integrated into our system.