Thre students in mirror

Intelligent mirror will break the isolation of the elderly and make everyday life easier

A new collaboration between Linnaeus University, HSB Living Lab and TietoEVRY has resulted in a digital mirror that will help break the isolation of the elderly and make their everyday lives easier. The mirror is equipped with various services and functions, developed to, for instance, simplify care contacts, document one’s own health, and to facilitate everyday things such as taking part of the weather forecast, finding bus timetables, and making video calls.

The project is still in a development phase, but the finished solution is intended to be used in, for instance, the home care service and offers simple digital solutions adapted for older people. From Linnaeus University, the students who are participating are Nellie Mustonen, who studies software engineering, and Gert Kipper and Munish Sharma, who study network security, and also Ida Andersson and Anna Strömbäck, who studies interaction design.

“We hope that the mirror will make everyday life easier for everyone who is experiencing difficulties handling the technology of today. This can be anything from having a video call with a relative to receiving a notification informing you that it’s time to take your medicine. There are so many possibilities. In the future, we hope that it will also facilitate contact with healthcare”, says Nellie Mustonen, one of the students involved in the project.

Simplifiy technology for elderly to use

The digital mirror will be equipped with various services and functions that are displayed on the mirror surface itself to provide a clear and simple user experience. The services include, among other things, the possibility to easily contact healthcare, document one’s own mood and health, but also more everyday functions like easily taking part of the weather forecast, finding information on public transport, and making video calls.

“A mirror is a common object that everyone has at home. We hope that it will make it easier for the elderly to start using technology to a larger extent”, says Gert Kipper.

What distinguishes this solution from, for instance, mobile phones and tablets is the possibility to simplify the use of modern technology at home through the use of a significantly larger interface and, for instance, voice control. The user interacts directly with the mirror via a touch screen. The mirror is also equipped with a camera, microphone and AI (Artificial Intelligence) for, among other things, voice control and is connected via a local network, Wi-Fi or 4G and in the longer term also 5G.

As support and guidance, the students have had the help of researchers in both informatics and computer technology.

“The reason the project has developed successfully is due to the broad collaboration that has taken place between students, researchers, companies and the innovation lab. These aspects in combination with finding solutions to the problem of digital exclusion are in line with the research and development work conducted at Linnaeus University's knowledge environment digital transformations. Meeting societal challenges with knowledge in creative environments that integrate education, research and collaboration is something that permeates Linnaeus University's vision and work, says Marcelo Milrad”, professor at Linnaeus University.

Videum an important collaboration partner for Linnaeus University

The prototype mirror is constructed at Videum Science Park. Together with TietoEVRY, the students develop the digital mirror at Videum Innovation Lab, where they have access to the tools and technology that they need.

“The project is carried out at Videum Innovation Lab. As part of our mission to promote innovation and create collaboration between academia, the trade and industry, and the public sector, we have a number of ongoing projects together with Linnaeus University and the business community. We facilitate projects and collaborations and this collaboration has worked very well. We have had a good dialogue with all participants in the project”, says Silvia Estadella, project manager at Videum.

The mirror will be developed together with the residents at HSB Living Lab in Gothenburg, a living research laboratory where developers and innovators meet to test their ideas in a real environment. Technology is developed to adapt the housing so that elderly, with the help of that, can remain longer in their homes.