Fraunhofer IESE researchers awarded Joseph-von-Fraunhofer Prize

Press Release /

On 30 May 2017, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft presented a team from the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE, Kaiserslautern, with the Joseph-von-Fraunhofer Prize for Human-Centered Technology. The researchers received this award for excellent scientific research at the annual conference in Dresden for their project SUSI TD. With SUSI TD (Safety and Support for Senior Citizens through the Integration of Technology and Services), the researchers Rolf van Lengen, Mario Schmitt, and Cornelius Moucha together with their partners Anne Gebert from the German Institute for Applied Care Research [Deutsches Institut für angewandte Pflegeforschung e.V. (DIP)], and Bernd Klein from CIBEK GmbH developed a system that enables elderly people to live longer independent lives in their own homes.

© Fraunhofer
Prof. Neugebauer presents the Joseph-von-Fraunhofer Prize to: Anne Gebert, Bernd Klein, Cornelius Moucha, Mario Schmitt, and Rolf van Lengen.

The challenge was to develop a sustainable concept that provides future-oriented support processes and structures to ensure that elderly people can continue living independently and to improve their quality of life. In the project, which was funded by the Rhineland-Palatinate Ministry for Social Affairs, Work and Demographics (MSADG), a process was developed that detects so-called activities of daily life (ADL) and situations of helplessness. But no cameras or other such devices can be found in the homes equipped with the system: Instead, the system is based on non-invasive sensors, especially on motion sensors such as those used in lamps or alarm systems, as well as on touch sensors located on frequently used drawers or on the refrigerator. Without the need for complicated configuration, the normal behavior of the person is captured by the sensors and is then modeled. Based on the sensor data, the system learns to identify recurring actions and to recognize when help is needed.

This process is an integral component of the SUSI TD platform, which combines assistance systems based on ambient assisted living (AAL) technologies with preventive home visit approaches in conjunction with the existing social space. The senior citizens use a video communication tool that can be used in various ways: Via touchscreen they can talk directly to the advisors of the nursing care centers, whose care support is thus not restricted to occasional home visits. Maintaining social contacts is also made easier. People can meet virtually with friends and family members, play games together, or share photos.

In the area of technology-based assistance systems, Fraunhofer IESE focuses on four areas of research: Through prevention, gradual changes can be detected in time, while telemedical care makes it possible to provide medical support to the users in their everyday lives in the best possible way. By providing support in acute situations, fast help is ensured. With the communication platform, the social integration of the senior citizens and thus also the acceptance of the system is promoted. SUSI TD offers security plus privacy and thus makes an important contribution to the everyday world of elderly people.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Liggesmeyer, Executive Director of Fraunhofer IESE, congratulated his staff at the annual conference in Dresden: “Human-Centered Technology – this is our  mission. The award for ‘SUSI TD’‘ also confirms that we are on the right path with our research project Smart Ecosystems: Here, we are developing innovative and smart services for people and are demonstrating the value that digitization adds to society.”

In the follow-up project StuDI, the researchers want to trial an adapted system based on SUSI TD by integrating it into 100 apartments. CIBEK GmbH is already working on solutions for projects with more than 1000 households, for example in Hamburg. The successful collaboration within the interdisciplinary team of the prize winners is being continued in the follow-up project StuDI.