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Review Meeting in Brussels was successful

20 May 2011

On May 18 the HERMES project results were presented at the final project review. In general reviewers were content about the results and complimented the project work. Revisions of the final report will be delivered until July 14. Entries in the latest news section will from now on concentrate on the further exploitation of the project results and present the development of relevant products.

The HERMES project is finished

31 March 2011

The HERMES project has now officially finished and all tasks have been completed. The final review will take place on May 18th in Brussels. Preparation work is ongoing to successfully present HERMES to the reviewers.

Second user trial phase completed

23 March 2011

The second user trials of the HERMES functioning prototype have been completed. Evaluations of concept and user experience of all user-related components took place. In the concept evaluation 52 the users were presented with the HERMES scenarios and asked to rate them. In the user experience evaluation 49 participants tested the HERMES Home System, HERMES Mobile and Cognitive Games by performing several tasks. Furthermore, 8 users in Spain tested the prototype over a period of 1-2 weeks. The corresponding deliverable D7.3 describes the test conditions and the results in detail. As a summary it can be stated that fewer and only minor usability problems were found, and users were well interested in using the system, which is reflected in improved acceptance of the system in comparison to the first user trials.

HERMES second user trials have started

7 February 2011

In January the HERMES integrated prototype has been successfully finished and so the second HERMES lab trials have started in Austria today. In the next weeks the trials go on in Austria and Spain with 16 participants in each country. The home trials in Spain will start shortly as well. The purpose of this trials is to investigate the technology acceptance, the user experience and the perceived performance of seniors with the HERMES system. Especially a comparison to the results of the first trials is interesting to find out if the improvements of the prototype are helpful for seniors.

HERMES and Vital Mind organise workshop on cognitive support technology for older people

12 November 2010

The EU funded projects HERMES and VitalMind organise a workshop about cognitive support technology for older people. In this workshop the state of the art of accordant technology will be explored and we will discuss how technology can help the elderly to preserve their quality of life, describing which work several research groups have done and are doing in the area of cognitive training and assisting technologies. The workshop takes place in London on december 15th 2010. The agenda and further information can be found in the attached PDF: Workshop Details

CURE is hosting a workshop at the AmI10

8 October 2010

CURE is hosting a Workshop at the AmI10 Conference (www.ami-10.org) on the subject Designing Ambient Interactions - Pervasive Ergonomic Interfaces for Ageing Well. The CFP has been extended until 17 October 2010, so you are welcome to submit papers on the subject. You can find more information on the workshop here: dai10.cure.at

HERMES has been presented at AAL Forum und ICT 2010

4 October 2010

The 2nd integrated prototype of HERMES has been successfully presented at two major European events: the AAL Forum in Odense, Denmark (September 15-17th) and the ICT 2010 in Brussels (September 27-29th). The professional audience was very interested in HERMES and we received a lot of positive feedback.

Field Trials for the 2nd Prototype will start shortly

17 September 2010

After the reengineering of the first prototype based on the results of the first user trials, the final prototype trial will test the HERMES concept as a whole in terms of technology acceptance and effectiveness of memory support, the user experience, and the technical performance of the system within several scenarios. These trials will happen again with real users but this time in real environments.

The final prototype trials will be conducted in Austria and Spain with 24 persons in each country in a lab setting starting at beginning of October. In Spain additionally 8 persons will use a a minimal system setup for 2-4 weeks in their home.

Final Design and Specifications for 2nd Prototype

9 April 2010

The Milestone of settling on a final design and specifications for the 2nd prototype has been reached. This marks the beginning of the home strech of the project. Implementation and integration are well on their way to be evaluated during the second user field trials.

M24 Public Deliverables Finalised

7 January 2010

The public deliverables due for Month 24 are finalised now. The results of the user studies of the first integrated protoype are documented in Deliverable D.7.2.  Furthermore the Dissemination Package has been updated in Deliverable D.9.2b.  It now includes the new Project Brochure. Finally, the Peridoic Dissemination Report D.9.3b  includes all dissimination activities of 2009 and planned activities of 2010.


First HERMES user trials completed

14 December 2009

Today the first user trials to evaluate the first integrated prototype of HERMES completed in Austria and in Spain. The trials focused on user acceptance studies of the system in general and on usability issues of MyFuture, MyPast and HERMES Mobile applications. The data collected during the trials will be analysed in the following weeks and published in Deliverable D.7.2.

HERMES organizes Workshop in Conjunction with Ambient Intelligence '09, Salzburg

10 November 2009

Consortium members of the HERMES project organized the workshop "Designing Ambient Interactions for older users", or DAI'09, at AmI 2009 in Salzburg. The workshop focuses on the various interaction methods, technologies and paradigms that are useful to support the interaction of older people with ambient technology. This workshop aims to support researchers and practitioners to develop proper interaction paradigms effectively and interactively in order to fit well with the older persons needs and habits.

More information can be found on the DAI'09 Workshop homepage.

Hermes First Integrated Prototype

4 July 2009

The integration efforts in the first half of the project have led to the first integrated prototype being finalized and deployed locally at the Spanish trial site in San Sebastian. As a next step it will also be deployed at the Austrian trial site in Vienna. Consecutively, Spanish and Austrian older users will participate in the first field trial in order to evaluatethe functionality and usability of the developed solutoins.

HERMES organizes Networking Session at the ICT 2008 Event, Lyon

25 November 2008

The project consortium is organizing a networking session with the title "Effectuating User Needs in ICT-Development to Support Ageing and Independent Living". This session addresses cost-effective methods for user needs analysis, involvement and evaluation. Addressing both the group and the individual with R&D efforts and development of innovative technology is a huge challenge for the research community. In this workshop we want to address the needs from the end-user perspective themselves as well as industry perspectives on the challenges with the aging community and the effective investigation of user needs and evaluation with end-users and through virtualization. The ICT Event in Lyon is Europe's biggest research event for information and communication technologies with around 4,000 participants (ec.europa.eu/information_society/events/ict/2008).

More information can be found on the session website (ec.europa.eu/information_society/events/cf/item-display.cfm).

HERMES hosts Workshop in conjunction with Ambient Intelligence '08, Nrnberg

25 November 2008

The HERMES partners CURE and INGEMA have organized a workshop on "Capturing Ambient Assisted Living Needs" in conjunction with the Ambient Intelligence 2008 conference (www.ami-08.org). After the successful completion of the user requirements phase in the project, the goal of this workshop was to share results and methodological findings with other researchers facing similar challenges. The workshop aimed at innovative methods to analyse and evaluate users' needs and requirements with regards to smart assistive home environments. The workshop addressed such questions as "which methods can use to evaluate early prototypes of intelligent but error-prone technology, where not all functionality is integrated (yet) or can only be used with certain limitations?", more information can be found on the workshop website (workshops.icts.sbg.ac.at/ami2008aal/), which will also include a summary of the results of the workshop.

HERMES in Global Forum 2008 and at the Athens Digital Week

24 November 2008

1. HERMES in Global Forum 2008

Recent results of the HERMES project were presented in the scope of Global Forum 2008 (www.items.fr/spip.php). Global Forum is an Annual High-Profile International & Independent Event dedicated to Business, Policy and Civil society issues affecting the successful evolution of the Information Society. The 2008 Global Forum has held in Athens, Greece, October, 21-22, and was co-organized by ITEMS International (www.items.fr) in collaboration with Hellenic Ministry of Economy and Finance (Special Secretary for Digital Planning) and The City of Athens. In the scope of the event HERMES Technical Director Prof. John Soldatos, presented how pervasive computing technologies are gradually penetrating Ambient Assisted Living applications for the ageing society. The talk included a presentation of the interfaces of the HERMES project (www.fp7-hermes.eu ), with emphasis on the HERMES multi-touch surface and the congitive training games that are developed on it.


2. HERMES Demonstrations in Large Scale Public Events

AIT demonstrated recent technology developments of the HERMES project in the scope of the Athens Digital Week (www.athensdigitalweek.gr) , a technology festival which was attended by more than 40,000 citizens. The demonstrations focused on:

  • HERMESMulti-touch surface, which was demonstrated to the public as a novel perceptive interface enabling end-users to execute commands based on multiple simultaneous touches of the surface. The importance of this technology for elderly and disabled users was illustrated through practical examples.
  • The HERMES real-time context-acquisition components including real-time FaceID, face detection and speaker localization. These systems were demonstrated as Real-time far-field systems enabling detection and identification of people and speakers with very high accuracy.
  • A Mixed Reality System enabling end-users to interact with virtual objects within the physical space. Two flavours of this system were demonstrated: first users interacting with virtual objects on a physical table, and second users to dragging a virtual map (the result was displayed in the screen). The Mixed reality systems were built based on HERMES hand and finger tracking technologies, which are developed in WP4 of the project.

Infrastructure developments

29 October 2008

The beginning of Q3 has seen the finalisation of the "Technical specification and system architecture design" document, that has been submitted to the EC by early August.
Activities of the technical partners focused then on the definition of the Infrastructure Integration and the System Verification Plan.
During the Milan General Meeting (6, 7 October) the integrated architecture has been discussed and agreed between all the IT partners. The integrated architecture has been agreed as well as the common integrated database. IT partners also started working on the document with an internal workplan that will conclude the activities foreseen for this task in the first week of December leading to the definition of the broad lines of the integrated platform across which all communication between the components takes place. This will ensure the correct operation of the various modules and sub-modules, as well as the correct internal and external exchange of data. The technical requirements will include interoperability and data exchange requirements with existing components.
TXT has started working also on the defintion of the system verification plan. This task will define the unit and system level tests, and plans for integration of the prototype and final system. This will enable the systems integration work to proceed in a planned and measurable way. A sound verification plan is essential in order to allow checking that consistent functionality and interoperability is achieved in the wide range of expected application scenarios and technical architecture flavours. Passing the tests in the verification plan will allow the system to be signed off. The approach has been outlined adapting the guidelines defined for the IEEE 829 standard. The final document will include clear description of the testing environment as well as the testing plan for individual subsystems and the integrated prototype. The schedule is similar to the previous mentioned document, so we will end up with the final version of the deliverable by the first week of December.

HERMES video summarization participates in TrecViD'2008

22 October 2008

Bradford researchers have participated in TrecViD'2008 video processing evaluation under the video summarization task, and the announced results put Bradford's entry within top 10, the processing speed is at top 3

Project reaches first milestone: User Requirements Analysis complete

27 August 2008

The first project milestone, the analysis of user requirements was finished at the end of August! Through user interviews, focus groups, questionnaires, memory assessments and other methods such as cultural probes in three different countries (Austria, Greece and Spain), the project partners gained more insight in the way older people interact with technology and particularly with technology that deals with forgetfulness. The requirements have been summarized into scenarios which in turn have followed into concrete use cases of the future HERMES system. In various deliverables this process hsa been documented, which can partly be accessed directly through the HERMES website!

In the next phase of the project, first interface prototypes will be developed that are evaluated with users throughout Europe to validate the user requirements and to iterate on the scenarios that define the technology.

Pervasive Computing Systems for Ambient Assisted Living

15 April 2008

The vision of pervasive computing is to transform physical spaces into computationally active and intelligent environments, which provide non-obtrusive human-centric services regardless of time and end users location. A main characteristic of these services is that they are context-aware in the sense that they can automatically sense and perceive the status of their surrounding environment, and accordingly exploit this status in shaping their application logic. Numerous instances of context-aware services have been developed in research initiatives, but also in the scope of deployments in smart homes, smart conference rooms and systems for ambient assisted living (AAL).

In the area of ambient assisted living we are recently witnessing a growing interest for pervasive context aware products and services which target elderly users. This is largely due to falling fertility and rising longevity phenomena, as well as due to the proliferation of the ageing population all over the world. Ambient assisted living solutions for the elderly target a variety of assistive functionalities such as social integration and decentralized communication support (e.g., supporting interaction with friends and relatives), as well as e-health and e-care (e.g., facilitating caretakers and minimizing the need for hospitalization). Most pervasive systems and services for the elderly employ usually one of the following prominent approaches to ubiquitous computing and context-aware systems:

  • Tag based systems, which read tags (e.g., Radio Frequency Identification, Active Badges) to track objects, humans and infer context.
  • Wearable computing, which is based on sensors that are attached to humans and employ custom I/O mechanisms to derive and disseminate context.
  • Smart spaces, which are ordinary physical environments equipped with pervasive sensors and devices that perceive and react to people in a natural and non-intrusive manner

Smart spaces provide the less obtrusive approach to implementing human centric services for aged users. The later are not likely to be familiar with ICT technologies and devices, which makes the natural interactivity provided by smart spaces preferable. Nevertheless, application development in smart spaces is still a complex task, since it involves a wide range of highly distributed and heterogeneous hardware and software elements. An integral element of smart space applications are perceptual components, which provide information about the identity, location, activities and sometimes the goals of human actors through person trackers, person identification components and other situation identification elements. In addition to these development challenges, smart space applications for elderly users must extend their outreach outside the domestic environment given that user activities are not confined to the home environment. On the contrary, a variety of elderly user activities (e.g., shopping, doctor visits) takes place in outdoor environments. Hence, application development is made more difficult since developers have to deal with mobility, CPU-constrained devices, as well as their interaction with in-home systems.

The HERMES project leverages leading edge audio and video based perceptual processing components, which can be used to implement a wide range of ambient assisted living functionalities. HERMES relies also on state of the art application architectures which define structuring principles for integrating these perceptual technologies into added value applications for senior citizens. HERMES targets three families of such added value applications spanning the areas of memory aids, ambient calendar and cognitive training games. These applications can contribute to minimizing the cognitive decline for elderly users.

However, HERMES has to deal with some stringent requirements and constraints associated with building context-aware applications for elderly users. Specifically, speech processing applications and speech based emotion detection require customization to the peculiarities of elderly speech. Also, a number of usability issues are raised, given that elderly people are not accustomed to using devices and context-aware applications. A systematic and complete resolution of these important issues asks for a thorough and consistent understanding of end-user requirements, which is in progress in the scope of the first eight months of the HERMES project. Nevertheless, the availability of robust perceptual components and application architectures open up new opportunities in the area of the ambient assisted living applications for senior citizens. We envisage that the unique partnership between leading edge technology providers with usability and gerontology experts (realized in the scope of the HERMES project) will capitalize on these opportunities towards novel added value services.

User Requirements Analysis

1 April 2008

A questionnaire developed in order to collect the needs of elderly has been administered. The objectives of the questionnaire were: (1) To specify the needs of the elderly people that allow them to live in an independently and autonomous way; (2) To know the specific aspects of the user needs in which HERMES can offer help and the way it can do it; (3) To define which information is important for the elderly to be reminded.

It has been administered to 63 people with and without memory complaints, when these people attended at Cognitive Training Sessions organized by INGEMA. Regarding the gender of the sample, 14 people were male and 49 female. The age average was 70.15 years, with a standard deviation of 6.30 years.

Both, qualitative and quantitative approach were taken into account. The qualitative analysis consisted on the frequency of anwers given in the open questions. Unfortunately, not everybody answered these questions. The main results were the following:

  • Needs in the field of health and prevention: to remember an adequate diet:
    • 42% of people that answered afirmatively to this question.
  • Needs in the field of conditions to live by yourself:
    • health preservation: 27% of people that answered afirmatively to this question
    • access to emergency telephone: 25% of people that answered afirmatively to this question

The analysis of the quantitative approach, has produced the following results:

  • Elderly want a device that reminds them: shopping list (50%); conversations with the doctor (41.0%), or with their families (36%), things they have to do (48.1%); cognitive games (86.66%) and register places (39.47%).
  • The situations in which they feel uncomfortable because of not remembering something is: buy or do any task (55%); how to go somewhere (23.3%); forget names (63%), important appointment (41.66%); conversations (30%); having bought something or buy it twice (16.9%).
  • In the cognitive training field, they feel that is necessary to practice 34% (9 people)

Finally, an attemp to find significant relations between variables has been done. The most statistical significant relations (p<.05) have been found between Range of age and being uncomfortable forgetting names (p= .07), and between Range of age and use of remembering strategies (p= .11). These relations imply that people with more age feel more uncomfortable when they forget names, and use more strategies in order to remember the things that they have to do.

Start of the HERMES Project

2 January 2008

The HERMES project has officially started on the first of January 2008 with a project duration of 36 months, the project will finish in December 2010.

The kick-off meeting will take place in Vienna on the 16th and 17th of January.