Embedded systems, Augmented Reality and Interactive Robotic Tchnology for Independent Living (suitable for multiple students)

I am willing to discuss and supervise projects in the field of embedded systems, augmented reality and interactive robotic technology for Independent Living.

Caring for older people, particularly those with disabilities, places a significant strain on the economy. Robots and autonomous systems, combined with AI, digital infrastructure and connected data systems have the potential to revolutionise the future provision of social care, and ultimately create connected care ecosystem linking home, residential and hospital care as a continuum [1]. These technologies could assist professional carers to be more efficient, allowing them to focus more on the human-to-human aspects of their work. ICT and Robotic systems are currently being developed to provide general assistance around the home, for instance, performing household chores and assuring safety, but they also have the potential to reduce social isolation, support cognitive stimulation and rehabilitation practices, and even assist directly with physical aspects of care including help with personal mobility, eating and drinking, dressing, and toileting [2][3].

Topics of interest to be investigated include:
• Body area networks and modular embedded sensing systems that can be used to monitor activities of daily living and other health-related parameters.
• Applications of machine learning techniques for unobtrusive, indoor localization and automatic recognition of activities of daily living from ambient sensors [4].
• Virtual and augmented reality interfaces (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/hololens) for the cognitive assessment of elderly people [5]
• Integration of humanoid robots in smart homes, demonstrated with the implementation of a concierge service using the humanoid robot Pepper [6]
• Use of smart home and cloud technology to connect robots and smart objects across different environments to promote and mediate social interaction between elderly people remotely located from their carers / family members.
• User friendly programming tools to enable non-technical users to easily program smart home and domestic robots to provide personalised services and/or carry out new tasks (e.g. to help with daily activities, give remainders, fetch objects, etc..)

Students working in these projects will avail of a state-of-the-art laboratory used for international competitions of assistive robotics [7]. The laboratory is part of a UK network of “home lab” test-bed facilities that includes similar facilities in Bristol and Sheffield. The laboratory at Heriot-Watt University is a 60 square meters, fully sensorised smart robotic space designed to resemble a typical single level home comprising an open-plan living, dining and kitchen area and a bathroom and bedroom. The apartment is equipped with a motion capturing system, state of the art smart home, augmented reality technology and domestic robots [8-11]. The projects will offer opportunities for collaboration with UK partners and care providers in Edinburgh.

[1] Robotics in Social Care: A Connected Care EcoSystem for Independent Living, UK-RAS White Paper, Online at http://hamlyn.doc.ic.ac.uk/uk-ras/sites/default/files/UK_RAS_wp_social_w..., Accessed 10/15/2017
[2] M. Dragone, et. al, A cognitive robotic ecology approach to self-configuring and evolving AAL systems. Eng. Appl. Artif. Intell. 45, C (October 2015), 269-280.
[3] M. Dragone, J Saunders, K Dautenhahn, On the integration of adaptive and interactive robotic smart spaces, Paladyn, Journal of Behavioral Robotics, 2015
[4] Giuseppe Amato, Davide Bacciu, Stefano Chessa, Mauro Dragone, Claudio Gallicchio, Claudio Gennaro, Héctor Lozano Peiteado, Alessio Micheli, Gregory M. P. O'Hare, Arantxa Rentería, Claudio Vairo: A Benchmark Dataset for Human Activity Recognition and Ambient Assisted Living. ISAmI 2016: 1-9
[5] Parra, Mario Alfredo, et al. "UNVEILING THE COGNITIVE UNDERPINNINGS OF INSTRUMENTAL ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIVING ACROSS AGE." Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association 14.7 (2018): P1301.
[6] https://github.com/lmoedl/Pepper-Concierge
[7] https://sites.google.com/site/erlsrhwu2018/venue
[8]] PAL Robotics’ Tiago, http://tiago.pal-robotics.com/, accessed 10/15/2017
[9] Softbank Robotics’ Pepper, https://www.ald.softbankrobotics.com/en/robots/pepper, accessed 10/15/2017
[10] Double Robotics - Telepresence Robot, https://www.doublerobotics.com/, accessed 10/15/2017
[11] http://www.irobot.com/For-the-Home/Vacuuming/Roomba.aspx, accessed 10/15/2017

Supervisor name: 
Mauro Dragone
Supervisor and Deputy email addresses: 
TBD (various)

Project Type:

Project location: 
Heriot-Watt's Ambient Assisted Living Testbed