The CONFIDENCE project will develop a care system. This care system will be able to reconstruct the user’s posture and detect abnormal situations, such as falls or loss of consciousness. The system will raise an alarm if an abnormal situation is detected.
This care system will also be able to detect changes in the user’s behaviour and issue a warning. For instance, if the system notices changes in the user’s gait that may involve a lack of stability, the CONFIDENCE system will warn the user about an increased risk of falling, and prevent an accident. Detection of anomalous behaviour will utilise prior expert knowledge as well as learnt movement patterns of particular users.
An important characteristic of CONFIDENCE is that it will adapt itself to the user. One of the goals of the CONFIDENCE care system is to introduce only small and low cost changes in the user’s home.
The system must be as simple as possible from the user’s point of view. A complex system would cause reluctance among the users, who would regard it as a problem rather than as a solution. Therefore, the CONFIDENCE system will be easy to use, so that it does not limit the user’s daily activity. As it can be seen in the next figure, the system consists of a central device, which plays the role of a base-station (BS), a small portable device (PD), which looks similar to a mobile phone, and several tags.
The base-station will be placed inside the house and could be designed to look like a decorative item. It will be able to determine the position of each tag in the three dimensional (3D) space.
The portable device, which will automatically enter in a setup mode, will guide the user during the installation process and will indicate him/her where to place the tags. This is one of the innovative aspects of this solution, since the user can easily install the system by himself/ herself without any external help. The CONFIDENCE system is intuitive, easy to setup, and user-friendly, and, thus, the user feels independent since the beginning.
The user will have to wear small size and low cost tags, either in the form of bracelets to be worn in wrists and ankles or in the form of necklaces. If the user prefers it, the tags may be sewed into the clothes (socks, underwear, etc.).
Some other small devices may be needed indoors in order to increase the accuracy of the system. These devices will be placed in specific positions such as the bed, chairs or some other pieces of furniture.
Both the base-station and the portable device can raise an alarm or a warning. The base-station will have priority in indoor environments. Typically, the CONFIDENCE system follows the following alarm protocol: first, it makes a phone call to the user. If the user picks up the phone, he/she is requested to indicate that he/she feels well by pressing a button or telling a certain word. This stops the alarm. This way, the user keeps control of the system, which is an important feature and considerably reduces the false alarm rate.
The user decides who the system is calling in case of an alarm or warning: a relative, friend or to the emergency services. If the user does not pick up the phone in a certain time, the system makes a phone call to the first telephone in the list provided by the user. If nobody answers the phone, the system will call the following telephone in this alarm receiver list. The system will explain to the call recipient the reasons of the alarm or warning.
The user will be able to customise the alarm protocol and will select the time that the system waits for him to answer, before triggering the alarm. Additionally, the user will be able to allow the system to transmit all the available information about the situation: localisation, posture and how long the user has been in that posture. This information will help to react to the emergency call.