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National Research Project QuaLiSID: Quality of life support system for people with intellectual disability

"Intellectual Disability" (ID) constitutes a disorder that appears during the developmental period (from birth to age 18) and includes both intellectual and adaptive functional deficits in conceptual, social and practical domains according to manuals of the classification of diseases (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - DSM, International Classification of Diseases - ICD). People with ID encounter persistent problems in their daily living with regard to their needs and activities, as well as their communication with other people, generally in their interaction within their home and urban environment. Millions of people worldwide suffer from ID issues and the prevalence in the general population is estimated about 3% in developed countries, while varies among different countries. The ID severity is categorized as mild, moderate, severe and profound. Education, professional training, family support and personal characteristics can help people with intellectual disabilities adapting to the demands of everyday life.

A major challenge is to offer to people with ID new opportunities for healthy living, improved quality of life, infotainment, education, specialized training and social reinforcement in order to maintain their morale and psychology at a high level. To this end, technological development can offer new opportunities by providing appropriate interactive systems and services that can stimulate their interest and creativity, and on the other hand the detection of emergencies along with the corresponding alerts. Moreover, considering the number and diversity of devices and sensors, as well as the advances in information technology, the clinical and research community have many means (voice assistants, smart applications, intelligent platforms, etc.) available to study, approach, and address the special needs of people with ID.

The aim of QuaLiSID project is to develop an appropriate, fully functional and interactive support system for people with ID, which will integrate many different functionalities providing a cost-effective, easy-to-use solution, tailored to the everyday users’ needs. The integrated system will provide various stimuli, serve information and entertainment content, and propose creative activities and training through specialized learning programs. In addition, it will allow automatic identification of health emergency situations and send necessary alerts and notifications towards the responsible care givers. More specifically the QuaLiSID platform will include the following services and capabilities:

  1. Personalized suggestions will be provided according to the interests, habits, abilities, skills and current mood of each user. Information, entertainment services, creative activities and training, socialization enhancement (based on the user profile), which will be performed through the interaction with specific web applications, tailored for use by people with ID and according to the individual preferences and interests, but also the user's mood.

  2. Detection of health emergency situations through the measurement of critical biomedical signals and parameters, such as heart rate, body temperature, etc, received by wearable sensors and cases of spatial disorientation, along with issue notifications to caregivers and relatives containing information related to the health status and location.

  3. Development, exploitation and intergration of state-of-the-art voice technologies, aiming of being able to control and operate the platform subsystems that will be developed for the "smart" mobile devices in a percentage of almost 100%.

  4. Medication reminders the healthcare givers, and/or their relatives and assistance provision through communication with carers, but also automated assistance from the system.

  5. Configuration of the infrastructure for the implementation of future extensions of the system in supporting other languages in order to serve people with intellectual disabilities from abroad, as well as development of an interaction environment with relevant bodies abroad.

  6. Capability to integrate studies of activities study of movement and patterns and daily behavioral patterns of people with intellectual disabilities, as possible future extensions of the system.

The objectives of the project QuaLiSID include:

  • Design, development and production of tools, services and mechanisms that can contribute to the active, independent and good quality of life of people with ID.

  • Design and development of an integrated platform for recording, sending, storing and exchanging information in a secure way, protecting personal data.

  • Design and development of a system that apart from monitoring medical indicators and sending health-related reminders, will cover multiple needs, such as monitoring of the emotional state of people with intellectual disabilities through direct feedback from them (selection of corresponding expressive icons), motivating them for active behavior through enhancing socialization and online creative activities, training, entertainment and interactive digital applications of navigation, exploration and multimedia presentation of selected natural landscapes, sightseeing, etc.

  • The adaptation of the system’s functionalities in order to be easy to use and provide services to different groups of people according to their ID level, i.e. mild, moderate, severe and profound.

  • The control, testing, and evaluation of the multi-functionality system in real-time by several potential users of varying ID levels, that determine their specific needs.

  • The production of a prototype product that will be commercially marketed, exploiting the system’s capabilities and user evaluation.

  • Market analysis and study of mechanisms for marketing innovative products and solutions for people with ID.

  • The partnership, collaboration and empowerment of social, business, academic and research foundations for improving the living standards of people with ID.

  • The formation and development of social responsibility and ethics within society, research and business community, aiming to provide supportive services and products for people with ID and offer practical solutions to addressing related issues and meeting their everyday needs.

The main purpose of the implementation methodology is to integrate multiple technologies into a single, 'smart' platform with customization / extension capabilities and functionality adaptation depending on the user's profile.

The QuaLiSID project creates a core of qualified scientists, both engineering, computer and basic sciences, with complementary expertise, know-how and laboratory infrastructure, in order to create the conditions for the final implementation. The research team of the two organizations TUC-DISPLAY and CERTH-ITI is complemented by the MLS company, which is active in the design and development of innovative technology applications in smart communication devices, ensuring the development of the integrated system for people with intellectual disabilities.

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