eWare enters new test phase

eWare is technology that combines and integrates lifestyle monitoring and social robotics. Since October, six informal caregivers, six healthcare professionals and six clients from the care organization, ZZG Zorggroep, have been testing a prototype of an eWare eco-system.’ Researcher Henk Herman Nap: The current test phase among younger people shows good results and therefore we can go on to a new phase.’

Lifestyle monitoring provides information about the daily life patterns of a person with dementia through a network of motion sensors in common areas in the home. In this way informal caregivers and healthcare professionals are also able to keep an eye on someone from a distance. Earlier research has shown that this unburdens them. Nap: ‘But the use of only lifestyle monitoring has one major disadvantage: there is no mouthpiece to the client. Combining lifestyle monitoring with the robot (named) Tessa, creates technology with many more possibilities because this robot can transmit spoken memories and messages. And vice versa: Tessa becomes smarter by getting information about the client via sensors. ‘

Reminding someone to drink

With this next test phase, we will check our assumption that eWare can also support people with dementia who live at home. Nap: ‘The advanced Tessa can make sure that a person with dementia will have breakfast by saying this to them, because she knows by the sensors when the client enters the living room in the morning. An informal caregiver can also monitor his father with dementia from a distance. If he is worried if his father drinks enough, then he can say with an app via Tessa that he should not forget to drink.’

Objective starting point for conversation

eWare can also be important for the collaboration between healthcare professionals and informal caregivers. Nap: ‘Because both have access to the same data from the systems, they have an objective and a common starting point for a conversation. Normally, this conversation is based on subjective experiences, and that increases the chance of disagreements.’

Points of improvement

Yet there are also points for improvement. For example, the lifestyle monitoring app and the Tessa app are being developed into one integrated app which still needs to be edited. Nap: ‘This app has more options. The advantage is that we can create scenarios. For example, the informal caregiver can indicate that he would like to have a certain activity carried out in a certain time period. If this is not the case, it is also possible to set robot Tessa to give feedback to the person with dementia. The informal caregiver then receives a notification whether the activity has taken place or not.’

Active and Assisted Living

The eWare project is financed by the AAL (Active & Assisted Living) funding program, a joint funding program in which 13 European countries participate. Together these countries are developing projects to respond in time to demographic developments such as ageing. Nap: ‘This means that we are also bringing international attention to eWare.’

Contact for this project:
Henk Herman