SOFTEC

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Information
Information doc: 
Contact: 

Alessandro Saffiotti. Center for Applied Autonomous Sensor Systems (AASS), Örebro University, 70182 Örebro, Sweden.

alessandro.saffiotti@aass.oru.se.

Effective member: 
No
Country: 
Sweden

SOFTEC is the Swedish Open Facility for Technology in Elderly Care. Its goal is to provide a shared facility where Swedish and European researchers can jointly study, develop and evaluate technological solutions aimed at increasing the independence and quality of life of elderly people. SOFTEC is hosted by the School of Science and Technology of Örebro University, but it includes partners from other disciplines and geographic areas.

Description

The proportion of elderly people in Europe is projected to increase to around 30% by 2050. The consequent increasing cost to healthcare and society is of growing concern to most Western countries. This is all the more true in the “wealthy” Nordic region, where this concern has been backed by farsighted research programs in technology such as Robotdalen, Cogknow, and the Norwegian Centre of Telemedicine. The main pull for such programs is to provide cost effective technological solutions for aging at home by combining results from state of the art robotics, sensors, and information technology.Research and development in technology for the elderly requires distant research fields to share insights on common problems. These include medicine, social work and technology. Moreover, results need to be backed by psychological validation, the approval of society and the interest of the healthcare infrastructure and stakeholders. Rather than continuing on separate tracks, all relevant fields need to be provided with a common reference point. The ambition of SOFTEC is to provide an “open source” reference point in Sweden and in Europe.Specifically, SOFTEC aims to:

•    federate projects dealing with technology for eldercare

•    inject the end-user perspective into technology development

•    maximize interaction through common infrastructure

•    foster cross-disciplinary approaches

•    provide open access to relevant results and tools

References and Track Record

Our involvement in technology for eldercare started in 2004 with the project “Ecologies of Physically Embedded Intelligent Systems” in cooperation with the Korean ETRI research institute. This project has resulted in the creation of a unique test-bed environment called the PEIS-Home. We have also engaged in field evaluations of robotic technologies for elderly care, establishing contacts with relevant actors from the non-technological arena (medical, social, nursery, psychology, private companies). The concept of SOFTEC was born in 2008 as a spin-off of these activities. Today, a growing number of projects are being included in SOFTEC, ranging from regional (e.g., the NovaMedTec project Ängen: a Physical Testbed Apartment for Prototyping Distributed Care Technologies) to international (e.g., the EU AAL project ExCITE: Enabling SoCial Interaction Through Embodiment).