A Barrier-Free Platform to Help Elderly People to Help Themselves

Sven Schmeier, Norbert Reithinger

In: Constantine Stephanidis (editor). HCI (27). Human Computer Interaction International Conferences (HCII-14) 16th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction June 22-27 Heraklion Greece Pages 316-321 ISBN 978-3-319-07853-3 Springer 6/2014.


The proportion of elderly people in German society has been increasing for decades. As a result Germany, and other industrial countries as well, are currently facing large demographic changes in terms of age structure and population size, changes that will only increase in the future. Furthermore, especially in bigger cities, the traditional family structures with more generations living together are disappearing. Starting from these observations, the project Barrierefreie Cloud für Se- nioren - WirlmKiez (translated: A barrier-free Cloud for Seniors - We in our neighbourhood), funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research, aims to develop a platform where elderly people can get in touch with and help each other with everyday problems and issues. We plan to realise a virtual neighbourly help especially for elderly people who have no or very little social contact. Persons using the platform will be able to either provide support to others ("I can help to hang curtains", "I can help gardening", ...) or they can request for help ("I need to go to hospital for 4 days, who can take care of my cat"). The app will run on computers, smartphones, and tablets and will be very simple to use and appropriate for seniors. Its main features are creating a proposal or request by using natural language. Behind the scenes we will use shallow information extraction (IE) to extract the core information. After this we store the extracted information plus additional meta information like time and location on a central server (cloud). In the final step a generated request or proposal is offered to adequate users of the system, e.g. people who live nearby and are able to help or need help and connecting the persons in the end.


HC2014_WIK.pdf (pdf, 508 KB )

German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence
Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz