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Communications of the ACM

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­lster Scientists Develop Smartphone 'assistance Agent' For Older People

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A senior on the phone and the computer.

A smartphone app under development will provide seniors with location-based, context-sensitive, and personalized assistance via a tailored user interface.


University of Ulster researchers are developing Help-on-Demand (HoD), a smartphone application designed to help older people fully engage in an increasingly self-serve society.

The researchers say HoD will provide location-based, context-sensitive, and personalized assistance, enabling older users to carry out and solve common tasks and problems. "Each user will have a specifically tailored user interface, which will accommodate health problems such as dyslexia and poor vision, and also location-based context such as Internet connectivity," says Ulster senior lecturer Liming Chen.

The researchers say HoD should be ready for a real-world trial and adoption by the end of 2013.

The HoD system is being developed as part of the Situated Adaptive Guidance for the Mobile Elderly (MobileSage) research project. "Our ongoing MobileSage research could radically improve life for older people and help them maintain their independence," Chen says. "It will also ease the burden on family members, care persons, and other secondary end users as the primary end user will be equipped to solve daily challenges themselves."

From University of Ulster
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