E-care@Home is a Swedish interdisciplinary distributed research environment that pulls together competences in Artificial Intelligence, Semantic Web, Internet of Things and Sensors for Health.
A current vision in the area of ICT-supported independent living of the elderly involves populating the home with connected electronic devices (“things”) such as sensors and actuators and linking them to the Internet. Creating such an Internet-of-Things infrastructure (IoT) is done with the ambition to provide automated information gathering and processing on top of which e-services for the elderly residing in their homes can be built hence, E-care@home.
As a basis for these services, the information from the home devices can be collected and organized in the form of personal health records (PHR). In addition to the information contained in the PHR, the services need to be linked and interfaced to other computerized “things” such as care and health related information resources, i.e., electronic health records (EHR), home-service (in Swedish: hemtjänst) documentation, end-user generated information, informal care-givers related information (e.g., information provided from family, neighbors, social networks etc.). Thus, the IoT infrastructure defines how the things will be connected through the Internet and how those things “talk” with other things and communicate with other systems in order to expose their capabilities and functionalities. Technically speaking IoT is mainly supported by continuous progress in wireless sensor/actuator networks software applications and by manufacturing low cost and energy efficient hardwarefor device communications. However, heterogeneity of underlying devices and communication technologies and interoperability in different layers, from communication and seamless integration of devices to interoperability of data/information generated by the IoT resources, is the major challenge for expanding generic IoT technologies to efficient ICT-supported services for the elderly.
E-care@home is designed to address this interoperability challenge by: 1) performing research on selected fundamental issues in semantic interoperability; and 2) testing the research results on a technical platform which is embedded in the IoT infrastructure and provides information with an unambiguous, shared meaning across IoT devices, elderly residents, relatives, health-and-care professionals and organizations and various personal information repositories and the various electronic health records associated with those. The below figure illustrates how E-care@home is positioned with respect to established research fields.