The ASSAM project aims to compensate for declining physical and cognitive capabilities of elderly persons by user-centred development of modular navigation assistants for various mobility platforms, such as walker, wheelchair, and tricycle, providing sustained everyday mobility and autonomy with seamless transition from indoors to outdoors in environments such as residential complexes or the neighbourhood quarter.
The goal of the project is to develop modular assistance systems for all platforms providing
- Physical mobility assistance for declining walking capabilities, but encouraging physical exercise;
- Cognitive assistance for declining visual and mental capabilities by obstacle recognition and avoidance, and orientation and navigational aid;
- Security by permanent care centre connection in case of emergency situations.
For non-electric platforms, the Navigation Aid comprises odometry hardware in cooperation with a smartphone or tablet computer with GPS that interacts with Open Street Maps for precise navigation. Simple dialogues allow natural language interaction. Using additional laser-range sensors, the Driving Aid enhances the safety by recognising and warning for steps and obstacles, also enabling indoor navigation. For electrically powered platforms, the Navigation Assistant proactively corrects the driving direction, steering and braking accordingly. Fully autonomous driving will be supported in charted indoor environments. The care centre connection is activated manually, or automatically in case of a fall or crash, and permits the caregiver to visually inspect the situation when authorised by the user.
End-users will be involved from the beginning in the design and evaluation of the mobility assistants for everyday usability. The iterative schedule implies two refinement phases, where the initial prototypes will be adapted according to the users’ feedback.
Under the AAL-JP programme, the AAL-2011-4-062 project ASSAM is funded jointly by the European commission and the national funding organizations Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung BMBF (DE), Ministerio de Industria, Turismo y Comercio (ES), and the Ministry of VWS (NL), from June 1st, 2012, for 3 years. ASSAM at CVI in Barcelona is also co-funded by the ONCE foundation.