Some Contributions to Smart Assistive Technologies
This doctoral dissertation is built upon a number of scientific contributions conducted during the last decade with the general aim of producing a new generation of smart, personalized and pervasive assistive systems. The research relevant to this Thesis spans through three different but interrelated technological domains. The first domain is Universal Accessibility, where the focus was the design, implementation and validation of architectures for the provision of universal access to local devices and online services, specifically for digital TV. The second domain is Decision Support where we have designed, implemented and validated architectures that (i) are enriched semantically, (ii) are able to learn from experience, and (iii) show high adaptivity to capture, learn, reuse and evolve the experience of the decision makers, with a special emphasis on Clinical Decision Support systems. The third domain is Assistive Technologies, where we have tackled interactivity challenges for people with different types of disabilities, studying how to achieve natural interaction in Ambient Assisted Living environments, engaging virtual environments for telerehabilitation, and outdoors assisted navigation for visually impaired people. All these developments have been carried out in the context of projects leading to practical demonstrations, which include (i) assisted living for the elderly people, (ii) diagnosis, treatment and follow up of diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Breast Cancer, (iii) telerehabilitation of people with brain stroke, and (iv) assisted outdoors navigation of visually impaired people. We argue that these domains, and hence our contributions, are highly complementary, paving the way to the advent of a new generation of Smart Assistive Technologies which unobtrusively and seamlessly will support the end users in the daily living activities.