The AAL system „ibi“ will serve as an innovative way for communication and information for elderly people in need of care, and their relatives and caregivers (mobile care services). An avatar based, speech controlled interface for TV & tablets will enhance communication (i.e. SMS) and delivers information such as care-guidelines, calendar and even open date information in an attractive and usable way.

The aging population is a well known challenge for our society. Besides the increasing isolation of elderly people living alone, relatives of people in need of care are facing new challenges. Nowadays about 80% of all people in need for care are looked after by their family at home. To do so informal caregivers need support on different levels. Formal caregivers in mobile care are professional partners for home care whereas the focus is on the quality of offered services. All people concerned can be supported by ICT solutions. The TV can be seen as a starting point for technical solutions since it is widely accepted and available. It is already used as user interface by different AAL systems, but there is still room for improvement in terms of incorporating natural modalities for communication, such as “talking faces” (avatars) as output and speech recognition as input channel. The project Avatars@home has revealed that users appreciate and accept avatars as components of the user interface. Furthermore the acceptance of tablet PCs is increasing since they are not seen as “computers” in a traditional way.

The goal of the project is the development of the information and communication system ibi for deployment at home. ibi will facilitates communication and offers entertainment and especially information for maintaining/obtaining independence and security and to support/assist daily care. The overall aim is a supplement for the services provided by professional mobile care in terms of increasing quality of care. The project will on the one hand help to reach continuous care and an increase, or at least preservation, of the clients’ and relative’s quality of life. On the other hand the challenges and thus the burden for people in mobile care can be reduced.

The development phase of the new system will be user centred/involved to ensure sustainable acceptance and success of the results by permanently involving the target groups. Furthermore a continuous ethical supervision of all project activities is planned. The system design will be based on already existing, but still immature, and already established technologies. These technologies will be further developed, adapted and finally combined to the information and communication system ibi. There will be a focus on standardised and open interfaces. As primary result of the project the system ibi with the following functionality is planned:

  • Offering information (e.g. open data by the city of Vienna, information related to care) which will be presented according to the target group’s needs with (photorealistic) avatars and
  • “Face to Face” communication by combining in real-time created avatars and voiceoperated dialogues.

The system shall be placed on the market 2-3 years after project termination. By means of developed marketing strategies and already established channels of distribution the system shall be widely used shortly afterwards.

Project period: 01.09.2012 until 30.08.2014
Executive Organization: Österreichische Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft mbH (FFG)