Personal Assistant for a healthy Lifestyle

Funding institution: co-financed by European Union

Duration: 48 months, from 01/03/2015 to 27/02/2019

Diabetes • Self-management • Robotics • Artificial Intelligence • Serious Games • Edutainment

The PAL project

PAL – Personal  Assistant for healthy Lifestyle is a project funded under the Horizon 2020 Research Framework of the European Commission, started in 2015 and granted by EU for 4.5M Euro.

This 4 year project involves the research partners TNO (coordinator), DFKI, FCSR, Imperial College and Delft University of Technology, next to end-users (the hospitals Gelderse Vallei and Meander Medical Center, and the Diabetics Associations of Netherlands and Italy), and SME’s (Mixel and Produxi). MediaClinics is supporting Mixel in mobile apps developments.

The Personal  Assistant for healthy Lifestyle (PAL) system will support children with T1DM (7-14 years of age), their families and the related medical staff. Overall, the system can adapt to the children’s individual needs (health condition, developmental and behavioural change stage, abilities, gender, and social environment) and can help them to acquire the tools, the knowledge and the skills to adhere to and self-manage their diabetes regimen.

The project applies in facts a user-centered co-design and test-process to establish consistent, long-term and personalized self-management support in and outside medical settings, via mHealth applications, which include on-line diary, educational quizzes and games. PAL will also provide motivational support for the adoption of healthy lifestyles.

The PAL platform developed to achieve these objectives, is composed by a social robot (and its mobile 3D avatar), an extendable set of mobile health applications, and a safe Cloud platform for data storage, which all connect to a common knowledge-base and reasoning mechanism. PAL is instructed and supervised by the health professionals (e.g., diabetologists, nutritionists, nurses, psychologists) who set self-management goals and tasks for the children and could monitor at the same time their developments through it. In turn, PAL helps the children to adopt the goals and perform the activities (together with their families) that will help them achieve the goals. The professionals also provide the relevant educational content for PAL to ensure high quality and alignment with the information provided during usual care.

PAL Platform and its components

As mentioned before, the PAL platform is composed by the following technologies:

  • A humanoid robot, named NAO, able to interact with the kids thanks to its Artificial Intelligence which understands natural language
  • A set of software modules communicating between them, to manage the NAO robot’s behaviour: dynamical interactions, natural language and emotional states recognition, decisions and reactions, selection of the educational content to feature. All these modules are built based on a set of specific common rules designed to manage diabetic scenarios.
  • A mobile app, to allow the kids to remotely interact with the PAL system, which features:
    • Display of custom objectives, defined by the medical equipe, related to the kid’s self-management ability
    • Three serious games, educational and funny
    • A Diary section, where the kid can insert data about his/her meals and activities
    • Interaction with a 3D avatar of the NAO robot.
  • A safe Cloud Platform, uniquely accessible to the kid’s parents and the medical personnel, where all data is stored (objective achieved, glycaemia measures, meals and activity data, games high scores etc).