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AHA: Augmented Human Assistance

Portuguese PI – Alexandre Bernardino (IST-UL; ISR)
CMU PI – Daniel P. Siewiorek (CMU; HCII)
CMU PI – Asim Smailagic (CMU; ICES)

Research teams: Carnegie Mellon University (CMU); Associação do Instituto Superior Técnico para a Investigação e o Desenvolvimento (IST-ID); Associação para a Inovação e Desenvolvimento da FCT (NOVA.ID.FCT); Faculdade de Motricidade Humana (FMH); Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute (M-ITI)
Organizations: Plux, Engenharia de Biosensores Lda (PLUX); YDreams Robotics, SA (YDR)

Main Research Unit: Laboratório de Robótica e Sistemas em Engenharia e Ciência (LARSYS)
Funding Reference: FCT CMUP-ERI/HCI/0046/2013
Duration: 48 months 
Keywords: Assistive Robots; Active Aging; Motor Rehabilitation 

“This ERI is a great opportunity for 
1) a close collaboration with leading industry partners (contribute with ~25% of budget), leveraging their state-of-the-art technology, specific know-how and guidance; 
2) a multidisciplinary research approach of complementary expertise; and 
3) the involvement of end users throughout the whole development process. Further, there is a symbiotic relation between the project and specific dual master and Ph.D. programs in the areas of electronics and computer engineering, human computer interaction and entertainment technologies that will offer new development and research platforms as well as training opportunities with our industrial partners. 
Given the nature of the project and the large potential impact of the AHA project at the societal and economic levels, a major focus will be on the creation of a real-world ICT based solution, not just proof-of-concepts, and to plan its exploitation for future commercialization beyond the scope of the 4 year project.” 

Alexandre Bernardino and Daniel P. Siewiorek 

Aging and sedentarism are two main challenges for social and health systems in modern societies. To face these challenges a new generation of ICT based solutions is being developed to promote active aging, prevent sedentarism and find new tools to support the large populations of patients that suffer chronic conditions as result of aging. Such solutions have the potential to transform healthcare by optimizing resource allocation, reducing costs, improving diagnoses and enabling novel therapies, thus increasing quality of life. 

In this context, the “AHA: Augmented Human Assistance” project proposes the development and deployment of a novel Robotic Assistance Platform designed to support healthy lifestyle, sustain active aging, and support those with motor deficits. Both in isolation or integrated as a Robotic Assistance Platform, the AHA project will develop solutions for: 

– Physical (re)training: Building on the existing expertise on Augmented Reality (AR) and serious games, we propose to develop adaptive AR physical training tools that deliver online feedback on performance to prevent sedentarism, support active aging and provide personalized tools for function re-training in motor impaired patients.

– Increasing self-awareness: Monitoring of user state by means of biosensors, computer vision systems and exercise performance data. User state will be assessed in a transparent manner and data will be visualized through friendly user interfaces, and shared with patients, clinicians and/or relatives.

– Augmented assistance: by joining the aforementioned tools in a robot with indoor navigation abilities, that will interact with patients through a virtual coach system to propose new exercises, monitor their execution and provide motivational messages, thus increasing the engagement of the user in the exercise program.

Articles published:

Vizzy, the Personal Trainer Robot 

A Spotlight on AHA Project: Augmented Human Assistance