Smart Teddy

The Smart Teddy is a therapeutic companion with a very basic functionality. It can bark and move its tail if someone interacts with it. It is soft and cuddly to invite people to grab and hug it. Seniors can keep the Smart Teddy as a long term companion.

Like a real pet, the Smart Teddy observes the senior citizen using its sensors. It has a digital brain that allows it to understand what the senior does during the day and estimates how much the senior citizen is enjoying his/her time. Teddy can also check whether the senior is having enough sleep and how often they wake up during the night. From all this information, Teddy tries to make an educated guess about the QoL of the senior, and inform their family or caregivers about their condition. Teddy’s sensors also allow it to detect potential dangers like smoke, loud noises, cries for help, etc. If Teddy thinks that the senior requires urgent assistance, then it can immediately inform someone so they can come and help.

Volunteers helping many seniors in the neighborhood may find it difficult to know how all of these seniors are doing. It would be nice to have a close friend for each senior that can keep volunteers updated with how each senior is doing. Seniors owning a Smart Teddy can choose to share how they are doing with family members and/ or caregivers. Our research demonstrates how to achieve this.

If you were a caregiver, imagine a dashboard as shown below where Teddy can tell you how the seniors in the neighborhood are doing. The 10 day summary shows you the general status of everyone and helps you notice if anyone’s situation is rapidly changing. Selecting one senior shows all their information, and how their QoL levels have been in the past few days. This information helps you decide which senior in the neighborhood will benefit most from your visit.

More work on the dashboard was conducted in the Spring of 2021. Interviews were held with dementia coaches and home care professionals to understand what they look for when visiting seniors that may be showing early signs of dementia. The experts interviewed were from care institution in The Netherlands, namely Peter van Foreest and Vierstoom Zorg Thuis. The result was a list of indicators that these caregivers tend to watch for. Clues like eating rhythms, ease of movements, clarity of mind, and sleep rhythms help sure whether the senior is suffering of any traces of dementia.

 

A functioning dashboard was built using Power BI which was tailored to the wishes of the professionals that we interviewed. The first step was creating a number of mock ups that were shown to the professionals in order to get their feedback and preference. Then the functioning markup was built and populated with markup data that stimulates the daily activities of three seniors over the period of one year. This dashboard prototype was then shown to the professionals again and validated showing that if such information is collected and visualised in this manner then this will help support them in taking care of the seniors.

Smart Teddy Project Video

Watch how we conduct research in a series of projects with the help of our students.

Dr. Hani Al-Ers
Senior Researcher
Hani Al-Ers is a researcher in the field of human-machine interactions. He completed his PhD at Delft University of Technology at the Interactive Intelligence group of the Faculty Computer Science (EEMCS). Philips Research in Eindhoven sponsored his project which was aimed at improving the user experience of Philips tv sets. He completed 2 post-docs at Delft University of Technology, during which he managed international consortia on topics such as an improved quality of life for the elderly. Currently he is conducting research in the field of health and education and he leads the Research Education activities at the Dutch Innovation Factory.