The ACANTO project aims to increase the number of older adults who engage
in a regular and sustained physical activity. Specific goals of the project are:

Development of a low cost robotic friend (FriWalk)

The FriWalk will offer direct support to the user activities and collect analytics on her/his behaviours. The envisioned abilities of the FriWalk are:

  • perception of user and environment using computationally affordable techniques,
  • understanding of the social context for a proper interaction with humans,
  • generation of forces (apparent inertia) to help the user execute her/his activities individually or in coordination with a group,
  • development of an emotionally appealing human machine interface based on physical interaction with the user (e.g., wearable haptics) and on the use of a tablet (the tablet)
  • detection of emotions and collection of relevant data for user preferences and habits.

The target cost of the device will be contained to below 2000 Euros

Development of a recommendation system for user activities

The recommendation system will rely on a social network created using physical information for users profile (the cyberphyisical social network). Specific objectives are:

  • definition of a user profile that aggregates information on the user health conditions and background with dynamic observations.
  • algorithms to analyse user behaviour and extract the elements that are relevant for the profile construction
  • algorithms to empower the social network with decision abilities to create “circles” of users and create recommendations
  • design of appealing interfaces for to the cyberphyisical social network based on the use of a tablet,
  • creation of agile communication channels between formal care providers (doctors, nurses) and informal caregivers (relatives and close friends).

Development of a cloud of supporting service in the environment

Most of the ability of the FriWalk to offer advanced functionalities in spite of its low cost lies in its reliance to external services that augment its sensing range and its computation abilities. The development of this cloud is therefore an important enabler for ACANTO. Specific objectives are:

  • algorithms for perception of human and physical situation using environmental sensors
  • API for the construction of cloud services for remote access to sensors and devices and for offloading of computation activities
  • solutions for real–time delivery of information over the cloud.

Constant involvement of the different stakeholders throughout the different phases of the project

ACANTO will produce solutions specifically tailored to the user needs and with concrete possibility of generating business.

methodologies for the elicitation of user requirements and for the development of “persuasive” techniques in the interface,

  • involvement of a large number of users in the collection of requirements, in the preliminary evaluation of the different prototypes during the design iterations,
  • participation of industry and economic stakeholders in setting up the project scenarios.
  • final evaluation of the ACANTO framework as a whole and in its most important components, with particular attention to
    1. the clinical efficacy of using the FriWalk for physical training,
    2. psychological validity of profiling and recommendation system,
    3. viability of economic exploitation.