A P2P platform supporting virtual communities to assist independent living of senior citizens

The PeerAssist Concept

PeerAssist will provide an accessible, adaptable, multimodal and multilingual user interface and integrate behind the scenes the appropriate knowledge and context management and peer-to-peer interaction as needed to allow elderly people using the system to build virtual communities on demand, based on interests and needs that they share among themselves and/or with people in their supporting environment. The main effort of this challenging project is to design a P2P platform helping the elderly fulfil their everyday needs in a user-friendly, effective, and totally safe manner. Use of PeerAssist by an elderly end-user should not require computer literacy. User supporting entities (e.g. family members, friends, caregivers etc) that participate in PeerAssist may use similar terminals or more powerful off-the-shelf computers as needed, depending on their role and function, level of computer expertise and services they provide. All terminals will be connected to the Internet and communicate via a peer-to-peer overlay technology. The top level view of the envisioned P2P concept is shown at Figure 1.

Figure 1

Figure 1: The PeerAssist P2P concept

PeerAssist will be input-output device independent, enabling communication through almost every accessible device. Users without any experience could interact by spoken dialogue, or tactile, most experienced probably PCs or/and mobile devices (smart phones or personal digital assistants - PDAs). The proposed most common communication in PeerAssist will be: a) through a TV with an accessible remote control and a set-top box (STB), b) a touch display and c) speech only user interaction. Communication will be controlled by the personal assistants agent and modified according to the habits of each user. The Personal Assistant (PA) (Figure 2) will learn from past user requests and adapt to user context.

Figure 2

Figure 2: Personal Assistants (PA) in PeerAssist architecture