Toilet virtual assistant tested in Cáritas Coimbra’s Day Care Centre

The Day Care Centre of Rainha Santa Isabel Centre, a facility of Cáritas Coimbra, has been testing the pilot of the virtual assistant DIANA, which intends to help older adults in using the toilets. This test is part of the European project DIANA – Digital Intelligent Assistant for Nursing Applications, which has the partnership of Cáritas Coimbra.

Between November 15 and 17, Cáritas Coimbra received the project’s technological partners – Cogvis and TU Wien, which installed the DIANA system and monitored its technical performance.

During these days, the Day Care Centre users accessed the toilets with the support of the virtual assistant, who was giving them indications on the steps to follow (through a demonstrative video and audio), such as sitting down, getting up, dressing and, finally, washing their hands. In this way, it is intended to maintain a routine in the use of this space, so that no step is forgotten, preserving the autonomy and independence of users whose cognitive capacities begin to decline. An added value of this system is that if the person doesn’t go to the next step and remains without “reaction” during the pre-defined time, the sensors detect the anomaly and send a notification to the caregiver.

At the end, each user shared their experience and expectations regarding the DIANA system. To complement this testing phase, formal and informal caregivers also met the virtual assistant and interacted with the technology, to contribute with their comments and suggestions. All opinions were collected and will be considered.

In parallel, users had a playful activity, where they were invited to draw and paint the virtual assistant as they imagined it.

The DIANA project aims to support the caregivers’ tasks and at the same time improve the autonomy and safety of older people. In this sense, it is developing sensors that assist in monitoring the safety of older people 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, thus supporting the routines and activities of daily living.

Besides this toilet virtual assistant, the DIANA project is also testing sensors in bedrooms and bathrooms at the Cáritas Coimbra’s Nursig Home Santo António, with the purpose of detecting falls, as well as providing relevant information to prevent them.


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