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Creating Aesthetically Resonant Environments for the Handicapped, Elderly and REhabilitation

Acronym: CARE HERE
Start: 10/1/2001
End: 9/30/2002

Project Status History
CARE HERE will design, develop and validate aesthetically resonant environments for the handicapped, elderly and rehabilitation. The users we will be working with are handicapped children, the elderly in long term care and people undergoing rehabilitation in hospital or at home. We will develop an audio and visual feedback system to develop cognitive and physical skills through natural movement. Gesture recognition and sophisticated electronics will be integrated as an open architecture for continual development of our user's special needs, becoming a uniquely adaptable person/system interface. The work is the natural next phase of the projects, CARESS and Twi-aysi probe, placed under KA1.2 as an "improved IST-based application system offering new possibilities for full participation in society by all persons with special needs". Objectives: Create Aesthetic Resonance Environment and Support Programme for Special Needs: supporting the development of physical and cognitive skills by interaction with a Responsive sound and visual environment. Audio-Visual Interactive Content: Sonic Navigation, Visual Empathy, Sonic Tactility, Capture of Expressivity. Individual Adaptability: A unique system able to adapt to individual needs and wishes. Modelling and Capture of Expressivity: production of the above audio and visual content will entail innovation in both (physical) modelling and the capture of expressivities. Immediate Commercialisation: technical innovations being integrated into the product development of our commercial partner. Work description: Our approach to Iterative Development, using Rapid Application Development, is specifically designed to ameliorate the significant risks involved in development of systems for Special Needs and rehabilitation. There are significant risks involved in developing and integrating a system for human development across both large distance and varied target groups. These risks include poor communications, poor change management, long programming cycles, delays in distribution and user trials, and unforeseen external developments. Many technical developments will occur over the next 3 years, which will enhance the potential of the CARE HERE developments. A challenge is to quickly integrate these external breakthroughs with the continuous feedback of our own users. This development methodology will be supplemented by a specific Internet forum for prototype development. The forum will provide a form for user and therapist feedback regarding faults and improvements. This feedback will be processed daily into change iterations with projected deadlines of 2-4 weeks. New versions are then sent for download to the on-site PC. The users can quickly use and evaluate a new development and deliver immediate feedback from their experiences, which are quickly transferred into prototype changes in a repeat of the cycle. Milestones: Six-monthly milestones will be used to implement our key strategy of Iterative Development, incrementally building through user feedback to the product deliverables: D1 Iterative Development; D2 Algorithms and Media Content; D3 User Programmes; D4 Product Integration; D5 Evaluation Methodology; D6 Networked Liaison Forum; D7 Dissemination Material.

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