The AIDE project is divided into 5 phases. Each project phase will be performed by one/set of Work Package/s (WPs). In the following paragraphs, the scheduled phases, a brief description of the WPs, their objectives and responsible partners will be described.
Phase I. AIDE system specifications
Involving target end users in research and development (R&D) from the very beginning is critical to ensure development of devices and services that are close to the market and most likely to be adopted and used. In this phase, it is the ambition of the consortium to use quantitative tools for example the EQ5D standardized measure of health outcome (http://www.euroqol.org/home.html) or Psychosocial Impact of Assistive Devices.
Phase I is mainly associated with WP2 led by UMH in close collaboration with CF. CF will be fo
cused on assessing the needs, expectations and requirements of endEusers, defining appropriate scenarios and managing ethical values. UMH will be focused on translating values into a concept design and defining the general and specific requirements as well as expected performance objectives for all systems, subEsystems, interactions and components of the AIDE system. In addition, it is noticeable that Task 2.5 in WP2 will be active from month 6 to the end of the project and focus on evaluations and usability tests, ergonomics, technology acceptance and user experience with mock-ups and prototypes of the system. All relevant components will be tested with end-user groups at partnering institutions in the UK and Spain. This task is of paramount importance to safeguard usability, ergonomics and user experience and to maximise technology acceptance later in the process.
The expected outcomes of this phase will be: 1) the overall characterization of the AIDE system and technical specifications of its individual components; 2) the definition of ethical guidelines for active user involvement in design processes and requirements for security and reliability issues; 3) the definition of the “project quality assurance plan”; and 4) the specification methodologies and scope of testing, test procedures, guidelines and the expected results for successful validations and iterations in the R&D activities with specific focus on usability and ergonomics.
Phase II. Modular architecture for AIDE system
This phase will be focused on development of a modular hardware and software architecture supporting the development of the multi-modal interface. This phase comprises WP3 led by UCBM. A modular architecture will be developed based on the results of WP2. It aims to fulfil the following criteria: 1) it should be reliable, effective, valid, timely and complete; 2) it should ensure that data can be exchanged efficiently and effectively, through a standardised c
ommunication protocol; and 3) it should allow resizing and adapting the multimodal interface on the basis of the modules that are required in a specific application scenario and/or for specific user needs.
In this phase, the necessary hardware components to the implementation of an integrative hardware platform consisting of wearable and wireless components allowing the user to move freely in daily life environments will be developed, adapted and/or acquired. It should be noted that the integration of the already available robotic exoskeleton with a wheelchair will performed in this phase. This is a critical step to complete the whole multi-modal interface. However, the risk of this task is low as the system is now fixed to an external support, which only has a weight-compensation system and it will be feasible to shift such support from the depicted arrangement into one included in the wheelchair structure.
The main expected outcomes of this phase will be the preparation of the modular architecture of the AIDE system.
Phase III. Iterative development of enabling technologies
This phase will be focused on the development of enabling technologies for the AIDE system:
1) multimodal sensory processing for estimation of user’s intention and affective state (WP4 led by UPV); 2) monitoring and understanding user behaviour and context factors (WP5 led by EKUT) ; and 3) developing a shared control system to contextualize the user’s behaviour, intentions and affective state in the current environment and activity in order to support him/her in the control of an external applications and/or devices (WP6 led by SSSA). The WPs involved in this phase (WP4, WP5 and WP6) will run in parallel and the development process will be iterative testing of usability, ergonomics, technology acceptance and user experience with mockEups and prototypes of the system components in target end-users and redesigning them if necessary.
Phase IV. Integration and Validation
This phase will be focused on two interwoven activities: system integration (WP7 led by UMH as project coo
rdinator in close cooperation with all the partners) and experimental validation of the integrated system (WP8 led by CF, as a leading non-government organisation in UK working on delivering services to primarily physically disabled people in close collaboration with all the partners). Task 8.2 of WP8 dealing with the definition of experimental protocols and recruitment of volunteers for clinical validation will be conducted in parallel with the final integration of the AIDE prototype.
The clinical validation of the AIDE prototype will be performed in the UK (CF) with 5-10 users with different pathologies who belong to the aforementioned groups of users with different residual capabilities. The participants will be selected to fit with the inclusion criteria defined in Task 8.1 having at least one participant in each of the proposed groups. The validation activities will be conducted during the last 6 months of the project to evaluate: 1) the performance, functionality, reliability, effectively of the AIDE system using the validation methodologies defined in WP2; and 2) the acceptability and usability of the AIDE system for assisting disabled people in different daily tasks.
Phase V. High Impact dissemination and exploitation
This phase will be devoted to maximize the impact of the project results during the project and after the project. WP9 will be focused on this issue through two complementary activities:
- Dissemination and communication activities will be targeted at key stakeholders (such as public authorities, patient associations, etc.) and at the general public at large.
- Exploitation activities will be mainly tailored to develop an ecosystem of stakeholders to allow the proper marketing of the project results.
Scientific dissemination activities will be led by UMH and UCBM in close collaboration with all consortium partners. UMH and UCBM have strong expertise in the scientific dissemination of project results in journals, conferences and books, while some members of their teams serve or have served as General Chairs, Program Chairs, Editor in Chief in top level conferences and scientific journals.
ZED and BJ Adaptaciones will lead general public dissemination and exploitation activities. ZED is a large corporate group with presence in 63 countries having more than 400 million users and will use its commercial network to disseminate the results of the project to the general public and to key stakeholders.
Regarding exploitation activities, ZED is particularly interested in the project results regarding high innovat
ive multimodal interfaces for mobile devices and BJ Adaptaciones is devoted to manufacture and commercialization of innovative products for people with disabilities. Moreover, there is as task (Task 9.7) in WP9 devoted to the involvement of leading European companies with a strong interest in the technologies developed within the AIDE project aiming at maximizing the outcome of the exploitation activities even beyond the consortium boundaries.
To summarize, the AIDE workplan is broken down in 9 WPs and each of them is divided into different tasks addressing the project general objectives. The work plan is shown in Figure 6, and it covers timescale of 36 months.
Each color is representative of a specific project phase. WP2 (in blue: Phase I) deals with the definition of end-user requirements and their translation into design requirements. WP3 (in orange: Phase II) is devoted to providing a modular hard/soft architecture suitable for further research. WP4 to WP6 (in pink: Phase III) are focused on the development of the technological modules of the multimodal interface. This project phase will be iteratively run including endE user tests (Task 2.5) to refine integration of technological modules developed in the WP4E WP6 framework. Finally, WP8 (in red) is focused on the experimental validation of the AIDE system in a measurable and quantifiable way in real application scenarios.
WP1 and WP9 (in yellow) run all along the project lifetime in parallel to the other WPs in order to ensure: i) the efficient management of the project; and ii) to maximise the impact of the project through the dissemination and exploitation of project results.