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The ever growing percentage of elderly people within modern societies poses welfare systems under relevant stress. In fact, partial and progressive loss of motor, sensorial, and/or cognitive skills renders elders unable to live autonomously, eventually leading to their hospitalization. This results in both relevant emotional and economic costs. Ubiquitous computing technologies can offer interesting opportunities for in-house safety and autonomy. However, existing systems partially address in-house safety requirements and typically focus on only elder monitoring and emergency detection. The paper presents ANGELAH, a middleware-level solution integrating both "elder monitoring and emergency detection" solutions and networking solutions. ANGELAH has two main features: i) it enables efficient integration between a variety of sensors and actuators deployed at home for emergency detection and ii) provides a solid framework for creating and managing rescue teams composed of individuals willing to promptly assist elders in case of emergency situations. A prototype of ANGELAH, designed for a case study for helping elders with vision impairments, is developed and interesting results are obtained from both computer simulations and a real-network testbed.
Date of Publication: May 2009