In the same office we work at, we have the SHARE-it guys. The main purpose of this project is to design and implement AI systems that help people with disabilities, as the acronym indicates: Supported Human Autonomy for Recovery and Enhancement of cognitive and motor abilities using Information Technologies.
This definition, as always, seems quite abstract, but they are already showing stuff that will be really useful. The underlying IA system will allow for the creation of intelligent software and hardware to assist disabled people, specially elders.
One of these devices is the i-Walker, an intelligent walker that is location-aware, and assists the patient in moving, for example, through a house or a hospital. The user can interact with an interface plugged into the walker using verbal commands, and its levels of autonomy can be adjusted for a better experience. The same concepts will be applied to a wheelchair.
Other devices that will be built on top of the IA system include an RFID bracelet which collects information about the movements made and the objects around the user. With this information, a PDA will be able to act as a personal agenda, predicting the needs of the user and the recommended actions to take (e.g. it’s time to take the pills).
This running project not only looks good from the research perspective but also seems to have real useful application. In fact, along with one of its leaders, Ulisés Cortés, SHARE-it has started to have a deserved media exposure.