ERCIM News No.47, October 2001 [contents]

Ambient Intelligence and Home Networking for Wellness Management and Home Automation

by Ilkka Korhonen

Different ambient intelligence based services at home using the same infrastructure are within the scope of the the Wireless Wellness Monitor project carried out at VTT Information Technology.

Self-monitoring is an efficient tool in personal health management. Self-monitoring of eg weight means daily measurements of weight, storage of the results, and using the recorded weight history to follow up possible changes in weight. This would allow the user to learn about the behavioural factors affecting the weight, and thereby to manage his/her weight. This is called behavioural feedback model (see ERCIM News No 46, pp. 60-61; http://www.ercim.eu/publication/ Ercim_News/enw46/parkaa.html). Efficient self-monitoring requires daily actions (weighing, stroring of the result, browsing the feedback), which should require minimal efforts by the user for it to be successfully applied in the long-term. Ideally, the measurements should be able to be made wherever and whenever convenient (mobility), the storage of the results should occur automatically (wireless communications, automatic user identification, existence of ambient database services), and the user should be able to get the personalised feedback right when needed, independent of time, place or user interface s/he has at hand (persolisation, adaptation of user interfaces, etc.). This implies application of ambient intelligence (or, home networking, ubiquitous computing).

The first part of the Wireless Wellness Monitor project (WWM I) was carried out between 1.8.1999 and 31.12.2000 (see ERCIM News No 46, pp. 60-61; http://www.ercim.eu/publication/Ercim_News/enw46/parkaa.html). In that part a behavioural feedback model for health management was presented, and a lab-prototype of ambient intelligence based weight management was developed and demonstrated. In the current continuation project (WWM II) we extent the concept to include home automation and other functionalities. This is done in order to demonstrate that different ambient intelligence based services at home should be running as different services on the same infrastructure, including a home network, a home gateway, and different user interfaces such as personal digital assistant, mobile phone, or TV. Especially the project studies how simple devices (such as a personal scale or coffee maker) may be networked at home and how smart health management and home automation applications may actually be implemented in the home networking infrastructure. The project will produce two kinds of results: 1) a home networking and ambient intelligence concept, and 2) a demonstration system, in which the concept is implemented, including the infrastructure and wellness management and home automation applications.

Physical network of the Wireless Wellness Monitor II
Physical network of the Wireless Wellness Monitor II demonstration system. The architecture is based on home server (OSGi server) and IP-based networking. Simple non-IP devices, such as health monitors or coffee machine, join the network physically by eg RS232 and are represented as IP-devices by a device proxy.

Actual ambient intelligence enabled home requires two levels of implementation. The first level provides the infrastructure and makes the technology ambient, communicative. The second level builds the actual smart applications; the intelligence. One goal of the project is to study and demonstrate this two-layered application structure in case of health management and home automation. A schematic illustration of the physical network to be built in the project is illustrated in the figure. The main characteristics of the demonstration system are: 1) the intelligence is mostly located at a home server (OSGi server); 2) from the service point of view, the home network is IP-based; however, simple non-IP devices are represented by a proxy to the network thus allowing heterogenous physical connections to the network. The demonstration system is to be completed by the end of 2001, and user trials are to be carried out early 2002. Partners: VTT Information Technology, VTT Electronics, Nokia Research Center, IST Oy, Celotron Oy and the National Technology Agency of Finland (TEKES).


Ilkka Korhonen - VTT Information Technology
Tel: +358 3 316 3352
E-mail: ilkka.korhonen@vtt.fi