Special issue: Ambient intelligence for ubiquitous health and wellbeing

Vol. 65, n° 9-10, September-October 2010
Content available on Springerlink

Guest editors
Mounir Mokhtari, CNRS IPAL/Telecom SudParis, France
Mohamed Ali Feki, Alcatel-Lucent Bell, Belgium
Chris Nugent, University of Ulster, UK


Mounir Mokhtari, Mohamed Ali Feki, Chris Nugent

The potential of information and communication technologies to support ageing and independent living

Jeffrey Soar

School of Information Systems, Faculty of Business, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, QLD, Australia

Abstract This paper discusses the potential of Information and Communications Technology to support ageing and independent living. It reports on the expected impact of ageing Baby Boomers, the environment for ageing, chronic illness and other challenges of ageing, developments in Smart Homes and Assistive Technologies and on the available research evidence of the benefits.

Keywords Ageing . Technology . Healthcare

Using smartphones to address the needs of persons with Alzheimer’s disease

Nicola Armstrong & Chris Nugent & George Moore & Dewar Finlay

School of Computing and Mathematics, Faculty of Computing and Engineering, University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland

Abstract Studies have shown that within today’s society, the number of old and very old people is rapidly increasing alongside the average life expectancy. As trends in life expectancy increase, the number of age-related impairments and incidence of chronic disease within the older population is also expected to rise. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is one of the most frequently occurring diseases within the elderly population. AD involves the death of brain cells, which in turn impacts on a person’s memory, language, and thought. With the number of AD cases worldwide expected to increase, demands in health and social care will also rise. A potential solution to these demands for care provision is the use of smartphone technology. Smartphone handsets now offer the potential for explicit and implicit interactions using buttons, touch screens, motion sensing, and voice recognition. This alongside high degrees of connectivity supports handsets to capture, analyze, and distribute large amounts of data securely across great distances. A major benefit of smartphones is their ability to connect and interact with other devices through wireless communications along with supporting a variety of software applications. Therefore, considering the opportunities provided by this broadening of the modes of interaction, functionality, and the connected nature of mobile phones, a more clinically valid approach to smartphone technology is being investigated.

Keywords Assistive technology . Alzheimer’s disease (AD) . Independent living . Mobile phone . Smartphone

RFID in eHealth systems: applications, challenges, and perspectives

Mathieu Bouet · Guy Pujolle

Computer Science Laboratory of Paris 6 (LIP6), Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC), 104 avenue du President Kennedy, 75016 Paris, France

Abstract The radio frequency identification (RFID) technology promises to leverage eHealth systems. Highly pervasive RFID enables remote identification, tracking, and localization of the medical staff, patients, drugs, and equipment thus increasing safety, optimizing in real-time management, and providing support for new ambient-intelligent services. This article presents the potential and challenges on the use of RFID in healthcare. First, we state the required RFID infrastructure and its impact on patient life cycle. Then, based on this description, we identify and discuss not only the issues of large deployments, such as privacy, localization, and interference with medical devices, but also middleware systems to integrate this technology within multimedia and body area networks. Finally, we picture the future RFID-equipped hospital room, where RFID is the basis of the eHealth system.

Keywords RFID · eHealth systems · Ambient intelligence · Security · Localization · Middleware · BAN

Health and wellness monitoring through wearable and ambient sensors: exemplars from home-based care of elderly with mild dementia

Jit Biswas*, Andrei Tolstikov*, Maniyeri Jayachandran*, Victor Foo*, Aung Aung Phyo Wai*, Clifton Phua*,Weimin Huang*, Louis Shue*, Kavitha Gopalakrishnan*, Jer-En Lee**, Philip Yap**

*Institute for Infocomm Research, I2R, Singapore, Republic of Singapore
** Alexandra Hospital, Singapore, Republic of Singapore

Abstract Monitoring and timely intervention are extremely important in the continuous management of health and wellness among all segments of the population, but particularly among those with mild dementia. In relation to this, we prescribe three design principles for the construction of services and applications. These are ambient intelligence, service continuity, and micro-context. In this paper, we provide three exemplars from our research and development activities that illustrate the use of these design principles in the construction of services and applications. All the applications are drawn from the field of care for mild dementia patients in their living quarters.

Keywords Activity recognition . Context awareness . Ambient intelligence . Mild dementia . Smart homes . Health telematics

A cognitive model for recognizing human behaviours in smart homes

Fulvio Mastrogiovanni · Antonio Sgorbissa · Renato Zaccaria

DIST—Department of Communication, Computers and System Science, University of Genova, Genoa, Italy

Abstract This paper describes strategies for monitoring human behaviour within a smart home and, in a broader perspective, for context-assessment in cognitive systems. The proposed framework, which is inspired by a cognitive theory called Computational Functionalism, is aimed at integrating ontology and logic based approaches to context representation and recognition. Two are the assumptions underlying the model: (1) the availability of an ontology (i.e., a “concept–role” representation of what is relevant in a given domain); (2) a simple inference scheme (i.e., subsumption between descriptions of elements within the ontology). The context model is formally defined adopting a structural approach that describes contexts and situations as hierarchical structures grounded with respect to the ontology. Examples are presented to discuss the proposed model.

Keywords Context–Assessment · Activity recognition · Ontology · Inference

User’s behavior study for smart houses occupant prediction

Rachid Kadouche · Belkacem Chikhaoui · Bessam Abdulrazak

DOMUS Lab, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada

Abstract This paper deals with the smart house occupant prediction issue based on daily life activities. Based on data provided by nonintrusive sensors and devices, our approach use supervised learning technics to predict the house occupant.We applied support vector machines classifier to build a behavior classification model and learn the users’ habits when they perform activities for predicting and identifying the house occupant among a group of inhabitants. We analyzed the publicly available dataset from the Washington State University smart apartment tesbed. We particulary studied the grooming, having breakfast and bed to toilet activities. The results showed a hight prediction precision and demonstrated that each user has his own manner to perform his daily activities and can be easily identified by just learning his habit.

Keywords Smart houses · SVM · Testbed

User-driven context aware creation and execution of home care applications

Carlos Baladrón*, Javier M. Aguiar*,  Javier Gobernado*, Belén Carro*, Antonio Sánchez**

*Communications and Signal Theory and Telematics Engineering Department, University of Valladolid, Campus Miguel Delibes 47011 Valladolid, Spain
** Telefónica I+D, Parque Tecnológico de Boecillo 47151 Valladolid, Spain

Abstract In the Internet world, the tags Web 2.0 and user centricity have been used in recent times to reflect the democratization of the Web where end users are no longer passive entities and have assumed a key role in which they create content themselves. The evolution of this paradigm in the Internet has even given birth to tools like Microsoft Popfly or Yahoo Pipes, thanks to which end users with no specific computer skills are able to create their own highly personalized services. In an environment like home care, where each user has very specific individualized needs, the application of this new paradigm seems very promising, and to promote that philosophy porting, this paper presents a system to allow each individual and his/her carers to build, execute, and manage the specific personalized monitoring, comfort, automation, and safety applications required. Additionally, thanks to built-in, context awareness capabilities, the applications created are automatically adapted to the context of the users inside the proposed system, eliminating the need for frequent human– machine interaction which is of the uttermost importance for impaired users.

Keywords Home care . User centricity . SOA . Web services . Home assistance . Rehabilitation

Spatial-frequency data acquisition using rotational invariant pattern matching in smart environments

Michael P. Poland & Chris D. Nugent & Hui Wang & Liming Chen

Computer Science Research Institute and School of Computing and Mathematics, Faculty of Computing and Engineering, University of Ulster, Shore Road, Newtownabbey, County Antrim, Northern Ireland BT37 0QB, UK

Abstract This article details the development and testing of an empirical data capture system with the ability to collect spatial-frequency statistics relating to the movement behaviour of a smart home inhabitant. This is achieved using a greyscale normalised cross-correlation pattern matching algorithm. Environmental obstructions on the floor space can also be inferred from a visual representation of the accumulated data. Whilst this methodology itself is not novel, its application to person tracking specifically within a smart home environment does not appear in the literature and is considered a novel approach. The results of tests performed on the pattern matching technique show a tracking competency rate of 94.45% with a standard deviation of 0.009027, indicating high fidelity across a wide variety of environmental factors.

Keywords Human positioning . Indoor tracking . Pattern matching . Smart environments

Detection of aberrant behaviour in home environments from video sequence

Zdenka Uhríková*, Chris D. Nugent**, David Craig*** · Václav Hlavác*

* Czech Technical University in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic
** School of Computing and Mathematics, University of Ulster, Jordanstown, Northern Ireland, UK
*** Belfast City Hospital, Queen’s University of Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

Abstract We introduce an application for the detection of aberrant behaviour within home based environments, with a focus on repetitive actions, which may be present in instance of persons suffering from dementia. Video based analysis has been used to detect the motion of a person within a given scene in addition to tracking them over the time. Detection of repetitive actions has been based on the analysis of a person’s trajectory using the principles of signal correlation. Along with the ability to detect repetitive motion the developed approach also has the ability to measure the amount of activity/inactivity within the scene during a given period of time. Our results showed that the developed approach had the ability to detect all patterns in the data set examined with an average accuracy of 96.67%. This work has therefore validated the proposed concept of video based analysis for the detection of repetitive activities.

Keywords Aberrant behaviour · Dementia · Video processing

A model and framework for human–environment interaction

Stéphane Renouard, Mounir Mokhtari

Institut Télécom/Télécom SudParis/Handicom Lab, Evry Cedex, France

Abstract This paper describes our approach for studying and prototyping human–environment interaction (HEI) within a pervasive space applied to ambient assistive living context. The objective of our approach consists in developing and implementing an HEI framework to modelling the human–machine interaction. This framework allows a customization facility for designers, developers and even end-users in defining and processing multimodal interaction. We underline the fact that the design of interaction for users with special needs do not have to be considered as orthogonal to the application but rather as a validation context which is the heart of our research laboratory activities. We have integrated our framework in demonstrator dedicated to people with disabilities to validate the concept. This paper will present the framework, the developed components of our HEI model and the prototype realised. The outcome of this research activity is to provide a multimodal processing framework to favour natural human pervasive environment by decreasing the cognitive workload necessary in a complex environment. Thus, this will contribute to achieve ubiquitous accessible space.

Keywords Human–environment interaction (HEI) . Document-centred interaction . Ambient living environment . Modelling of physical and conceptual information in pervasive environments . Multimodal interaction . Universal accessibility . Interaction . Design . Human–computer interaction (HCI) . Human–machine interaction

Intelligent agents in home healthcare

Donna L. Hudson, Maurice E. Cohen

University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA

Abstract The percentage of the population who are elderly will significantly increase over the next decade due to the aging of the baby-boom generation, putting additional stress on healthcare. The elderly are at higher risk for many disorders, especially cardiac-related problems and diminishing mental capacity. The impact will be felt in various domains, including additional pressures on existing infrastructure and increasing per capita costs for medical care. A potential approach to alleviate these problems is the implementation of home healthcare using new technologies. With remote interventions, the patient can remain at home, not only reducing costs but also benefiting from a familiar environment and support of family members. Methods are outlined that can contribute to the delivery of home healthcare in the areas of monitoring and support using intelligent agent methodologies. The methods are illustrated in two distinct applications: support and intervention for patients with dementia and remote monitoring of cardiac conditions. The methods outlined can also be adapted for use in other areas.

Keywords Assistive technologies . Intelligent agents . Home healthcare . Telemedicine

Open Topics

Channel characterization of time reversal UWB communication systems

Dariush Abbasi-Moghadam & Vahid Tabataba Vakili

Department of Telecommunications,School of Electrical Engineering, Iran University of Science & Technology (IUST), Tehran, Iran

Abstract An ultra wideband (UWB) communications system that applies time reversal to transmit the desired signal is investigated. Exact expressions for the first- and second-order moments, cross-correlation, intersymbol interference metric, and correlation coefficient of time reversal (TR) UWB equivalent channel are derived in terms of the physical channel parameters such as delay spread and mean excess delay. These expressions are verified by simulated and experimental results. It is shown that TR-UWB excess delay is very smaller than UWB and its delay spread decreases as signaling bandwidth increases. Semi-analytical results show that the time reversal UWB delay spread is approximately the same as UWB. Furthermore, an ISI metric is derived for TR-UWB channel based on transmitted signal and UWB channel parameters. Moreover, correlation coefficient of two TRUWB received signals with different power delay profile is computed analytically. Simulation and analytical results show that for t>0.3Tw correlation coefficient is below 0.25 and for t >Tw correlation coefficient is zero, where Tw is the transmitted pulse width. Finally, theoretical performance of a receiver with one tap matched filter is computed and compared with measured and simulated result.

Keywords Time reversal . Correlation coefficient . Autocorrelation . ISI .UWB. Delay spread

Performance analysis of multicarrier code selective CDMA system with frequency repetition

Anvar Narzullaev*, Kwanwoong Ryu**,· Yongwan Park*

* Information and Communication Engineering Department, Yeungnam University, Kyeongsan, Korea
**XRONET Corp., Seongnam, Korea

Abstract In this paper, we present a new Multi-Carrier Code-selective Code Division Multiple Access System (MC CS-CDMA) with frequency repetition. The code selection process enables the proposed scheme to decrease the number of subcarriers for the same transmission data rate and total bandwidth as conventional MC DS-CDMA. The remaining bandwidth can be used for frequency repetition in order to achieve frequency diversity gain. Our results show that by maintaining a constant data rate, total bandwidth and PAPR, the proposed MC CS-CDMA system achieves a much greater performance improvement than conventional MC DS-CDMA.

Keywords Code division multiaccess · Multicarrier CDMA · Code selection · MC CS-CDMA

Blind signal-type classification using a novel robust feature subset selection method and neural network classifier

Ataollah Ebrahimzadeh Shermeh & Hamed Azimi

Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering,Babol University of Technology, Babol, P. B. Box 4714871167, Iran

Abstract Automatic modulation recognition plays an important role for many novel computer and communication technologies. Most of the proposed systems can only identify a few kinds of digital signal and/or low order of them. They usually require high levels of signal-to-noise ratio. In this paper, we present a novel hybrid intelligent system that automatically recognizes a variety of digital signals. In this recognizer, a multilayer perceptron neural network with resilient back propagation learning algorithm is proposed as the classifier. For the first time, a combination set of spectral features and higher order moments up to eighth and higher order cumulants up to eighth are proposed as the effective features. Then we have optimized the classifier design by bees algorithm (BA) for selection of the best features that are fed to the classifier. This optimization method is new for this area. Simulation results show that the proposed technique has very high recognition accuracy with seven features selected by BA.

Keywords Communication format classification . Bees algorithm . Resilent back propagation training algorithm . Multilayer perceptron . Spectral features . Higher order moments . Higher order cumulants

End-to-end throughput improvement for single radio multi-channel multi-path wireless mesh networks: a cross layer design

Hieu Cao Trong · Sungwon Lee · Choong Seon Hong

Department of Computer Engineering, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, South Korea

Abstract The distinguished feature of fixed backbone nodes in the wireless mesh networks (WMNs) can be utilized to design an efficient cross layer which cooperates routing and scheduling schemes for increasing end-to-end throughput. With only single radio nodes, by well designing the scheduling and routing schemes for multiple paths, we show that WMN can gain more throughput and reduce communication interference. Much of recent work has focused on those issues applied for “multi-channel, multi-path” environment using multi-radios that is costly and much more complex for implementation. Also, almost all of the proposals work on layer 2 or layer 3 separately that cannot support each other in performing efficiently. Instead, our paper introduces a cross-layer design with new routing algorithm that can balance the numbers of multi-paths and the needed transmission data in each communication session. We also propose a new channel scheduling and queuing models in MAC layer compatible with routing scheme and define a threshold with an effective algorithm to choose the optimal number of disjoint paths for routing scheme. The simulation results show that our multi-path routing scheme performs better than previous proposals in term of throughput improvement which can directly reduce the time of each communication session, especially in case of big size data transmission.

 Keywords Wireless mesh networks · Cross-layer design · Single radio · Multi-path · Routing