Death, depression and… Social media.


Death in comicLately I happened to come across a number of sources that discuss what happens to our social media an generally digital accounts when we die.

The most recent article I’ve seen was on Mashable a few days ago. It brought back discussions of the matter with friends. Really what happens to our digital footprints when we die.  Well… the article explains quite good how different social media are handling such cases and in most cases there are options for relatives to either “shut down” the account and delete all data or put it in a specific state where it cannot be updated but can be used to post messages in memory of the lost person.

A few months ago I also read another quite interesting but spooky story about a new (back then) Facebook app called  “If I Die”. To be honest, after searching and reading a bit about the app I found the idea quite cool. What the app is doing is that lets you assign 3 persons responsible for verifying your death. When this happens they are then given a “key” to open your digital will. It could be a video, a document, a collection of photos… whatever you wish to say to them when you… you know… die! Read the rest of this entry »

I’m not sick… I just want to enjoy the view from my window!

Elderly woman looking from a window

Elderly woman looking from a window

Today, I’m going to briefly discuss the potential benefits from exploring affective computing technologies in smart homes and smart environments in general especially when it comes to providing health and social services. Smart home technologies today are mostly accompanied with some potential problems annoying residents of smart homes with false alarms and unwanted reactions. When an elderly or person with disability lives in a smart home one would expect it to be that smart home to recognise what situation is really a potential danger or threat to them and act accordingly. Sensor technologies have advanced a lot in the direction of detecting potential dangers and threats but there is one thing they still cannot control. Human behaviour. Read the rest of this entry »

How far are we from having robots as assistive devices?

PR2 robot from Willow Garage

PR2 robot from Willow Garage (source:

One of the most interesting technologies emerging in the area of consuming services has to do with robotics. Currently, there are a number of cases where robots are used to serve people in specific situations. Such an example is a company based in South Korea named KIST has led the development of a humanoid teaching robot called Erki, which has been under trial for more than a year now as an assistant in primary school teaching. Using robots as assistants in public places can be quite challenging. There are a number of issues to take under account apart from the interface and the communication of the robot with humans. For example, how will the robot operate in a situation where a group of students try to vandalize it, what happens when a part of the robot breaks down, how often and how long does it need to be recharged? Read the rest of this entry »

Make AT not war!


The title might seem a bit strange but this post has to do with… war. Maybe not war itself but military in general.

It’s been years now that the military all over the world tries to make the most out of soldiers supporting them with exoskeletons. In the US for example the Berkley Lower Extremity Exoskeleton (BLEEX) developed by UC Berkley Robotics and Human Engineering Laboratory Homayoon Kazerooni aims to “create an exoskeleton that combines a human control system with robotic muscle”. The project was funded by DARPA and in 2004 and at that time it was the most advanced exoskeleton. UC Berkley is also behind of another newer military exoskeletons as well titled Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC). HULC incorporates features from two other models of Berkley Robotics the ExoHiker and ExoClimber which were designed for carrying heavy loads during long missions and climbing stairs and steep slopes rapidly. Another DARPA funded project was the Sarcos exoskeleton which recently was improved by Raytheon to a newer stronger faster and better model titled XOS2. This exoskeleton, much like the Berkeley suit, works much like a human nervous system. A complex set of sensors act as nerves and hydraulics act as muscles.

The same lab has recently presented a new exoskeleton system called eLEGS aiming to help paraplegics and those with mobility disorder to stand and walk. eLEGS was selected as number 2 of the 10 Most significant Gadgets of 2010 by WIRED magazine. Read the rest of this entry »

My grandma and her smart home.

Elderly woman using a tablet

Elderly woman using a tablet

Well, I wish that my grandma was living in a smart home but she doesn’t and this post is going to briefly discuss some of the challenges why smart homes for health services for elderly are not yet an everyday reality and what needs to be done to get there.

An area with interesting results in monitoring services is this of smart homes. In the past technologies for smart homes meant that a set of sensor would have to be wired into the house. This installation was a problem since it meant drilling holes into walls, Read the rest of this entry »

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