Ambient Assisted Living

Ambient Assisted Living

The new multi-disciplinary Ambient Assisted Living (OpenAAL) lab aims to revolutionise the way assisted living care is delivered in the community. Comprising a purpose-built flat and adjoining workshop, the OpenAAL lab will research and create smart technology solutions to help improve the physical and mental wellbeing of people with assisted living needs who want to live independently.

Successful innovation in this field is crucial to alleviate the strain on health and social care services. Demand for caregiving, home assistance, rehabilitation and physical support is hugely increasing as the world’s population ages. 

Creating what is possibly the world’s first open and remote access living lab, OpenAAL aims to facilitate wide-scale industry cooperation and prevent time or distance being barriers to research and innovation. Bringing together researchers, industry, care providers, and end users of assisted living services to co-create scalable and affordable solutions, OpenAAL will utilise Heriot-Watt’s expertise across artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT) and sensor technologies. These technologies can be used to provide social, cognitive and physical assistance and tackle potential challenges such as ensuring regular medicine intake and identifying signs of illness. They can enable non-intrusive monitoring of behaviour, support self-management, and enhance communication and social connectedness. 

Initially, the project will focus on support for key priority groups in the UK whose conditions have been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. These include those with multi-morbidity conditions, disabilities, and those in acute stages of mental ill health. The priority will be to devise solutions that are practical and feasible, allowing them to be quickly implemented in the face of challenging social and economic conditions.

The project is funded by EPSRC under the Impact Acceleration Accounts scheme and has gained support from NHS Lothian, The Digital Health and Care Institute (DHI), Blackwood Home and Care Group, Consequential Robotics, Alcuris Ltd, Cyberselves and The Data Lab. The Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS) will play a key role in connecting the project to members in its supporting organisations.

Contact the National Robotarium about research collaboration and business partnership opportunities at NationalRobotarium@hw.ac.uk