If you keep thi…

If you keep thinking about what you want to do or what you hope will happen, you don’t do it, and it won’t happen.

The very truth Mr. Erasmus


Ambient Assisted Living 4 All


It is no secret to you that the group of people at the age of at least 65 is continuously growing. We live longer, but this also has its impact on assisted living and retirement homes: people never required so much help from nurses and other educated people to support them in their live. The Ambient Assisted Living for All project I’ll be working on is an IT system which aim is to support people who can still live more or less on their own but require additional help for some of their daily tasks. My exact objective is to set up a gateway device which collects data from remote sensors. Once the data is collected it can be interpreted and/or be send to remote servers and services in the local LAN and internet. The data which could be collected by the gateway could be for example is simple as monitoring the pressence of someone through a radar detector or monitoring the health of a person through his heartbeat. As gateway device I’ll be using a Raspberry-Pi computer, communication between the Pi and the difference sensors will be done via the ZigBee protocol (wireless radio frequency) and XBee modules. Depending on how fast I get through this project I can try to implement different types of sensors and for example make a  web interface around all the attached sensors (display the data).

Aside of that, assisted living is actually a lot more than just monitoring some stuff:

It can not only help elderly people but also people with disabilities like those who are for example in a wheelchair, or in general people who just need some extra help living on their own. AAL can help them not to forget taking their medicine, it can monitor the lifestyle and health but it can also add make sure the people feel less isolated by offering social services and entertainment. The AAL4ALL system is also aiming to connect the AAL4ALL gateway to remote medical services and patient files in order to automate and aid when medical assistance should be provided.

The picture below shows how, not AAL4ALL precisely, but IT in general can help in the daily tasks of people:

However, my main task will be to set up the sensor gateway and to set up the ZigBee communication. Later you learn more on how I did this and how this is done precisely.

Settling down and stuff

It’s been… let me think… 21 days already! Arriving at night packed with 30 kilos on your back was the worst experience I had so far, and it wasn’t even that bad. From then on, things only got better. In 2 days I found myself a nice and affordable house to stay in for the next few months. It’s a typical Erasmus house, we’re here with 15 and we’re located in the old city center: all bars and pubs within walking distance! Who lives here? 4 Italians, 3 Austrians, 2 Brazilians, 1 Spanish girl, 1 British girl, and 4 Belgian people with myself included. I didn’t know anyone from before I got to Porto, but actually there’re a lot of Belgians in this city, it’s really surprisingly for such a small country. There is even someone from my house who goes to the same school as me in Belgium! So until now I’ve actually spoken Dutch most of the time, unfortunately, but I’ve subscribed for Portuguese courses so once I pick the basics I hope we can switch to Portuguese instead of using English, Italian, German or Dutch in our house. Or maybe I should get myself a Portuguese girlfriend, no?
Until know I’ve mostly just hung around in the city: some sightseeing, shopping, or relaxing at the beach… or explore the city by night… aaaah the good life!
Today was also my first day of school. Going to school with a massive hangover is maybe not the smartest thing to do, neither is it the most pleasant thing I did so far but all together I’m glad I can finally start working. I’d like to tell you some more about what I’m actually going to do here, I’d also like to show you some more Portuguese culture and historical buildings but I’ll do this in another time, it’s time for a nap now!

Xau Belgica!