Institute for Medical Informatics, Statistics and Documentation, Medical University of Graz

Intelligent Environments: A Promising Solution for an Active and Socially Included Life in Old Age

Speaker: Prof. Carsten Röcker,
Human-Computer Interaction Center, RWTH Aachen
Date, Time: September 27, 2012, 02:00 p.m.
Location: IMI Meeting Room (S-05-170), Auenbruggerplatz 2/5, 8036 Graz
Presented By: Institute for Medical Informatics, Statistics and Documentation
Abstract: More and more people are requiring care every year. At the same time, the number of people in working age is continuously decreasing, which will inevitably lead to a situation, where the number of people needing personal care outweighs the number of care-takers who can provide individual support. In this context, intelligent environments are often cited as a promising solution for providing personalized medical support in domestic spaces.

The concept of intelligent environments envisions a future, where a multitude of computers are seamlessly embedded into everyday objects of the physical world. With respect to the support of elderly or handicapped people, intelligent environments can provide a variety of different medical services, ranging from systems for the detection and prevention of emergencies over applications for long-term treatment of chronic diseases to solutions for the prevention and early-detection of illnesses.

While intelligent environments might revolutionize the way personal care will be delivered in the future, there are new problems that arise with such computerized care concepts. Today, care-takers are in many case the only contact persons and the only chance for older people to have some sort of social exchange. So, on the one hand, intelligent environments provide the technical infrastructure for an independent life, on the other hand, such systems further reduce the social contacts that come through personal care. In order to guarantee the long-term success of intelligent homecare environments it is therefore necessary to augment the functionalities of existing care infrastructures so that they do not only provide the necessary medical care, but also support users in maintaining an active and socially included life.

Carsten Röcker is Associate Professor at the Human-Computer Interaction Center (HCIC) at RWTH Aachen University. As part of an interdisciplinary team of researchers he is designing healthcare applications for supporting elderly people in computer-enhanced environments. Before joining RWTH Aachen University in 2008, he was a PostDoc at the Distributed Cognition and HCI Laboratory at the University of California in San Diego. From 2000 to 2006 he worked as a research associate at the Fraunhofer Integrated Publication and Information Systems Institute (IPSI) in Darmstadt, Germany. During that time he was involved in several EU projects designing novel information and communication technologies for intelligent home and office environments. He has an interdisciplinary background with academic degrees in the areas computer science (PhD), psychology (PhD), electrical engineering (Master), and management (Master).
Publicatons of Prof. Röcker.

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