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Relaxed Care

The entirely new way of communicating and caring

End User Perspective

“Is my mum doing okay right now?” This question is present permanently in the mind of most informal caregivers. Feelings of burden, stress, and even burn-outs are common results of their manifold tasks.
For reassurance of the assisted person’s wellbeing, regular phone calls or visits are the current solution, causing even more stress – and even though the number of social contacts increases, the quality decreases due additional stress caused.
Most assisted persons do not want to put even more burden on their informal caregiver or disturb them in their busy life. They often perceive their own problems as minor in this fast moving world.

Having this in mind, RelaxedCare has identified three major challenges:

1) To answer the question “is my mum doing OK” in an easily comprehensible and unobtrusive way by providing wellbeing information.

2) To provide an easy way to stay connected with your loved ones, with a low communication barrier.

3) To combine those functions in a well-designed lifestyle product that is fun to use for all generations, thus increasing the bonds within families and facilitating mutual caring.

The only way to develop such a solution is to do it in close collaboration with the future users. The User Inspired Innovation Process, developed within the project and following the User Cantered Design ISO 9241-210 standard was the basis to collaborate with 210 end-users to design the “RelaxedCare System”. Use-context, look & feel, functionalities and ethical implications have been developed together with the relevant stakeholders.

The result of applying the User Inspired Innovation Process is the Relaxed Care System.

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Innovation Perspective

The RelaxedCare system consists of a well-designed cube and a smartphone app.

At the Assisted Persons home the cube is connected to a smart home system, based on an exisitng AAL platform. Innovative behavior pattern recognition methods detect the wellbeing status of the user. This includes activity level, social interaction and daily life routines.

On the caregiver´s side, the wellbeing status is displayed in a simple and pervasive way by the RelaxedCare cube and via the app. A short glimpse at the color indicator on the cube or the app informs in an easy comprehensible way about the wellbeing status of the assisted person. Detailed information can be accessed in the app.

The Cube also enables both sides to send simple messages on the basis of an innovative interaction design – by simply placing NFC tiles on top of the cube. Asking for help, requesting a call or saying “I think of you” has never been as simple and non-intrusive as with RelaxedCare.

A new communication paradigm is invented – to allow more communication from the assisted person’s side while unobtrusively keeping informal caregivers worry-free and informed about the assisted person’s wellbeing state.

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Market Perspective

RelaxedCare offers more relaxed care situation by improved bonding with the family and a low barrier, pervasive communication interface for both parties. The system is easy to install as it comes in a box and it can be extended by 3rd party services and devices, allowing it to grow with the needs of its users.

Early adopters of RelaxedCare will be the relatives in care situations who do not live close to each other. The primary buyer is the younger generation, which is familiar with mainstream ICT. They are addressed via (online) shops. The older generation is targeted by social care providers (for marketing and approving the system as trustworthy and beneficial).

Revenue streams are a) product sales, b) support services, c) offering to rent reliable, highly secure cloud service for competitive fee, d) offering personalized pervasive devices, e) integration of new ICT solutions (e.g. sensors and algorithms from 3rd party systems).

RelaxedCare will be focused more on the connectivity and life-style than in the assistive technologies segment. Competition is still low, as RelaxedCare is placed in the field between the fast changing app-market and the highly regulated telecare market.

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The Relaxed Care Prototype

In close collaboration with the future users, the RelaxedCare team has developed the prototype that will be tested in the beginning of 2016. It consists of the “RelaxedCare Cube” and the “RelaxedCare App”, both offering multiple ways to learn about the other’s wellbeing state and to easily send messages.

Wellbeing state.

At the assisted person’s home, the RelaxedCare Cube and a set of smart-home sensors are installed. The information from the sensors is collected and processed to yield a “wellbeing state” in the RelaxedCare Cube. This wellbeing state is then presented as a “colour code” on the round screen on the front side of the RelaxedCare Cube. Additionally, the recent trend of the assisted person’s wellbeing state is represented with a gradient colour scheme on the same screen.

The information about the wellbeing state is communicated and presented to the Informal Caregiver in the same way on the RelaxedCare Cube and the App. Therefore, the Informal Caregiver is reassured that everything is fine or, if not, can react in an appropriate way immediately. This pervasive means of communicating the wellbeing state of the AP to the IC allows the latter to be informed in a relaxed way.

Getting in touch.

Many people who need help with certain tasks are afraid of putting additional burden on their relatives, friends or carers. They know that the everyday life of their family members is often quite busy, and thus asking for help is often a psychological barrier which is hard to overcome.

With the RelaxedCare Cube, one can simply take the “shopping request sphere” and place it on top of the cube. The request is sent to the Informal Caregiver’s App and Cube immediately. Due to the unobtrusiveness of the system, the Informal Caregiver does not have to react to the request right away, but only for instance during his next break. This approach facilitates finding a convenient time for both parties to phone, visit or talk, which in turn means communicating with less stress and more joy.

The RelaxedCare system can be extended by different spheres for different purposes, like “call me”, “let’s go for a walk” or even just to let the partner know “I’m thinking of you”. Requesting assistance and staying in touch has never been as simple as with the RelaxedCare system.

The project RelaxedCare is co-funded under the contract AAL-2012-5-199 by the AAL Joint Program and the national funding authorities and R&D programs in Austria (bmvit, FFG, program benefit), Switzerland (The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation), Slovenia (Ministry of Education, Science and Sport) and Spain (Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism (REF: AAL-010000-2012-1)) More details can be found here.

Funded by

Consortium Partners