PRE2017 4 Groep8

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Group members

  • Isabelle Cooijmans | 1014516 |
  • Ramon Hameleers | 0998964 |
  • Angelique Husson | 0956648 |
  • Marrit Jen Hong Li | 0963568 |
  • Dana de Vreede | 1020836 |

Previous idea

Our Previous Idea can be found on this page.


Since the past decennia, a new problem has arisen: the increasing age of society. In the year 2018, almost 25% of the Dutch population has an age of 60+ years old and this number is ever increasing. [1]. This increase in elderly brings many problems with itself, such as elderly homes being pushed to their limits, healthcare not being able to catch up with the increased demand and much more. Due to this tremendous increase in ageing people, there is a great demand for systems and robotics that can allow elderly to receive less care without harming the elderly. Our robot will try to help society by creating a device, which will allow elderly to live more independently.

Problem statement

Elderly women with dementia often have problems managing their daily routine and thus independent living. By creating a system which helps with creating a daily routine the general health and independence can be improved.


Our goal is to help elderly women in the early stages of dementia. They will be helped in the form of an interactive system primarily focussed on letting the patient water its plants at specific times and let the plant be a reminder for certain periodical things, like eating and medicine. Firstly, by creating this repeated event, elderly will create a stronger daily routine. Such a routine provides consistency and a predictable time slot, in which to return to valued occupations [2]. Secondly, our objective is to research whether the shape of such a system contributes to the functionality of it.

Thus the main objective can be split into two sub-objectives:

  • A system that creates a routine for the patient.
  • Investigating the impact of shape on functionality.

These sub-objectives will be explained in more detail further in this wiki page.


The shape of a plant helps the user better than the shape of a cube.


The users of the technology formulate certain requirements or wishes for the functioning of the technology. The users are a diverse group and therefore they will be split up into three kinds of users: primary, secondary and tertiary users. The primary users are the users that come directly into contact with the technology and directly benefit from it. Secondary users will use the technology infrequently or not directly. Tertiary users are the users who are affected by the technology or make decisions about its purchase.

The primary users are:

  • Elder women in the beginning stages of dementia

The secondary users are:

  • The care takers
  • The family, friends and loved ones
  • The government

The tertiary users are:

  • The technicians


The three different types of users described in the previous section all have requirements. These requirements are listed below. Requirements of primary users:

  • Elder women with a decline in memory need a system that will help them remember specific tasks
  • Elder women need a daily routine to improve their well-being

The specific tasks that the elder women can be remembered for are tasks such as:

  • A reminder to water the plants
  • A reminder to take in medicine
  • A reminder to have a meal

Requirements of the secondary users:

  • The secondary users need their elder woman to be healthy
  • The secondary users need their elder woman to be helped to remember basic tasks

Requirements of the tertiary users:

  • The tertiary users need a system that is easy to install and easy to maintain.
  • The tertiary users need a system that gives a notification in case of an error or when it needs maintenance.

Approach, milestones and deliverables

Having something to care for, keeps people busy and makes life more enjoyable. For example, having a plant and hence responsibility to take care of that plant can serve as occupational therapy and ease the mind. Imagine that this plant is no ordinary plant but a robotic plant, which can signal the owner. This robotic plant can give forgetful elder women something they can nurture, but it can also give the owner reminders of basic tasks. This robotic plant could, for example, remind the owner that the plant needs water to stimulate the nurturing aspect and compliment the owner when he or she does a great job caring for the plant. The plant can also give the owner a reminder at a specific time of the day in which the plant asks if the owner has already taken their medicine or to ask if the owner has already eaten. the owner can then respond by pressing a button. In response to pressing the button, the plant can again complement the owner or stimulate the owner to do their daily activity and so the owner will create a daily routine. The plant is meant as a playful device from which elderly will benefit, namely, increase their well-being and which they will also enjoy.

Our goal is to deliver a prototype of a robotic plant that will be tested with the involvement of the users and is capable of the following actions:

  • The robotic plant notifies the user that the plant needs care
  • The robotic plant gives positive signals when it is properly nurtured, or stimulates the user to nurture when it is not cared for
  • The robotic plant can remind the owner of small specific tasks
  • The robotic plant is able to interact with the owner

With the made robotic plant our goal is to test the hypothesis, which is why it is important to finish the prototype in time.

Other deliverables are:

  • A presentation which will be given in the last week of this quartile. In this presentation, we will present our prototype of the robotic plant, discuss our findings and show our progress.
  • A finished wiki page which will include all our findings and progress made during this project, which will be extensively discussed.

Other milestones and deliverables can be seen in the planning below. This planning also shows a detailed task division.


About some of the topic that is discussed before, only a little research has been done as can be seen later in the literature study. Therefore some things will be tested using hypothesis tests. A hypothesis will be stated and this hypothesis will then be tested for example by taking the robotic plant to nursing homes and then conducting some questionnaires. This will be explained further in the following section called ‘Research’.

State of the art

In this section, an analysis will be made of the state of the art. Here similar projects are investigated. Overlap with the 'Literature Research' may exist, as this section will often refer to articles or technologies found in articles. The purpose of this section is to illustrate existing technologies, whereas literature research also contains articles and researches.

The Billy-Billy robot [3]

Fig. 1: Billy-Billy robot

During our literature study, a robot was found that was made using similar ideas as our project. The fact that there is a company also involved in this field has two benefits. First of all, it shows that society is interested in such a robot and that there is economic potential. Also, looking at differences between the two projects reveals new features that might be useful, or shows us what can be improved from the other design.

The robot that we discovered is called the Billy-Billy robot. It is a robot in the shape of a face with a plant growing out of its head. Billy-Billy is a flowerpot that has several unique features. It is an interactive flowerpot who makes the life of elderly people more enjoyable in an interactive way. Billy-Billy has smart sensors that can detect when the herbs or plant growing out of Billy-Billy needs more light or extra water. It can then notify the elderly. Billy-Billy is easy to install and can be used in several minutes and also has plant seeds included when bought. It does require a network connection. This internet connection provides an online platform in which family and friends can see how happy Billy-Billy is. It also allows the family and friends to send text messages to Billy-Billy and in return, Billy-Billy can communicate these messages to the elderly. Lastly, Billy-Billy has an integrated agenda system which notifies the user to take medicine, notify when a carer arrives or when a family party is planned.

To get in touch with the company we have tried several means, sadly enough none of them succeeded. We got in touch with a student who proposed to arrange a video-conversation. However, we never got a reply from her. Also contacting the company by both mail and phone didn't result in anything either. This sadly enough means that a very interesting analysis never was able to take place.


Paro is a robotic pet, as will be more thoroughly explained in the literature research, which reduces the feeling of loneliness, as the owner will take care of Paro. Such a feeling could be simulated using a plant. When elderly take care of the plant, an emotional bond may start to develop. No actual research is done regarding this subject, but by measuring long-term emotions, one could find whether it is true.


What are our hypotheses?

The first hypothesis is that the user will be more interactive with a robot which has the shape of a plant than a robot shaped like a box. In the literature part, the effect of the caring character of PARO, the robotic seal, is that people with dementia started talking to the robot. A box does not have a caring character, but a plant does. So taking a robot shaped as a plant would probably be prefered over a box-shaped robot.

The second hypothesis is that the robot helps the elder woman to create a routine.

Test plan

This project is about testing two things. Namely, whether the elderly get an improved quality of life when using the robot, and secondly whether the shape of the robot plays a role in how the patients interact/react to it.

General setup

This project only has 8 weeks, in which the prototype also had to be built. So, in this project, only a short-term test plan can be executed. In the short term test, the true effect on the user’s well-being cannot be tested since this will only be visible in the long term. So, in the short-term test plan, only the impressions and opinions of the user can be tested. However, a long-term test plan is written to test whether the robot will actually improve the user’s well-being.

Short-term test plan

There is two kind of shapes that we are wanting to test here, namely the shape of a plant and the shape of a cube. Since the user has to get used to the plant, the sequence of testing will have an effect on how the user feels about the prototype. Hence there should be two groups of test-users. Group A will first test with the plant-shaped robot and then with the cube-shaped robot. Group B will first test the cube-shaped robot and then the plant-shaped robot. Both groups will have the same number of test-users. All the test users are women above the 70 in an early stage of dementia, who are living in an elderly home. Since the users have a tendency to forget things, since they have dementia, the results of a survey can be influenced by forgetfulness. To get a better view of what the user feels about the robot, a researcher will be present to analyze how the test-user interacts with the robot. The researcher also has to be present because of safety reasons. For example, the robot has a malfunction and asks the user to take their medicine every 5 minutes, if the user is very forgetful and takes medication every 5 minutes, the user can get an overdose and die. If the researcher is present, he/she can interfere and keep the test-user safe. Because of this reason, there was chosen for users that are only in the beginning stages of dementia. Users that are in later stages of dementia do not have access to their medicine without a nurse being present. A nurse would bring the user the medicine when the user has to take them in, order to guarantee their safety. Therefore it would not be possible for users in later stages of dementia to use this robot.

After having the robot in the test-users chamber for a few days, the researcher will ask the user questions in form of a survey. The survey used is attached in the Appendix. The questions for the plant-shaped robot and the cube-shaped robot are the same. In both the test with the different shapes, the robot will be placed in the same place and the same researcher will be present to analyze the user-robot interaction and to keep the user safe. The test-user may not change the robot, only interact with it. So, the user may, for example, not place pictures of his/her grandchildren on the side of the cube.

The cube and the plant are tested up front whether the microphone sounds the same in de tulip as in the cube and has the same range and volume. Moreover, the visibility of the light is tested up front, such that the lighting is approximately the same. Besides, both robots will give the same signals at the same times and both will have the same real-life plants on the side of it. So, the only thing that differs from the two robots is the shape.

Long term test plan

To find out whether the second hypothesis is true, a long-term test plan is set up. Via these tests, the effect of the plant and the impact of its shape are analysed. There will be two groups of test-users. The test-users are elderly women above 70 with an early stage of dementia. Group A will first test with the plant-shaped robot for six months and then with the cube-shaped robot for six months. Group B will first test with the cube-shaped robot for six months and then with the plant-shaped robot for six months. Both groups will have the same number of test-users.

Before the test-user will be in touch with the robot, the state of their well-being and health must be determined. This will be determined using similar methods as used by F.M. Ludwig. This means that conversations will be held with the test-users in which not only direct questions will be asked to gather knowledge and understanding of the situation. During the longer conversations, one can get a better impression of how the test-user feels, its capability of focussing on one conversation for an extended amount of time and how the test-user feels about its own well-being.

After the initial well-being is established, the robot can be implemented in the home environment of the test-user. The robot will be placed close to a window, such that the plants get enough sunlight. To prevent an overdose of medication, a test-user should ask the caregiver of the elderly home to give him/her his/her medicine. In this way, if a test-user asks for the medication he/she had already taken, the caregiver can tell the test-user this.

After each month a conversation with the user will be held to establish the well-being of the test-user. Moreover, the test-user will fill in a questionnaire every month. Such a questionnaire will give more information about the test-users health and hence a better view on the well-being.

Looking at all of the results from the conversations and the questionnaires, it can be established whether the robot helps in creating a daily routine and hence improve the user’s well-being.


A prototype of a robotic plant will be made in order to test our hypotheses. As for the plant a tulip was chosen and a specific system has been designed, which allows real plants to be watered if someone waters the robotic plant. Two real plants will be placed next to the robotic plant. A design of our prototype can be seen in the figure below in which the watering system will be explained and the plant idea will be shown.

Design robotic plant

Flower box

The flower box consists of two layers. The top layer consists of three parts, the two outer parts contain real plants, the middle part contains the robotic tulip. The tulip will be made completely waterproof and dirt will be placed around it. The user can water the tulip and the water will go through the dirt and into the second lower layer of the flower box. The lower layer of the flower box serves as a water reservoir. The two real plants will have a rope that connects them to the bottom layer. That rope touches the water in the lower layer and these real plants can use the rope to drink water when they need it. These plants do so by absorbing water from the rope, which the rope has absorbed from the lower layer of the flower box.

The following sections will explain the robotic plant and all of its electronic parts.

Fig. 1: Top side flower
Fig. 2: Under side flower
Fig. 4: Schematic LEDs
Fig. 5: Test LEDs
Fig. 3: Stem
Fig. 6: Electronics box


The original tulip-model came from thingiverse: The tulip is made from three elements, the stem, a leaf and the flower itself. The stem and the flower were edited in FreeCAD to make room for the electronics. The inside of the flower was hollowed out to be able to install a speaker and a LED-strip (see figure 1). Four holes are extended even further into the flower to make room for four 5 mm RGB LEDs. A hole was made through the stem of the tulip all the way to the electronics to be able to wire everything (See figure 2 and 3). The rest of the electronics will be installed in a plastic box below the tulip, especially designed to hold all the electronics (see figure 6). This box features separate compartments for the battery and the Arduino.

The model was printed with transparent plastic. This way the LEDs can make the tulip change colours.

The cube version of our model will be realized by removing the tulip from the box that holds the electronics.


There are multiple circuits inside the tulip. Every single one corresponds to a different functionality to the tulip. All circuits are driven by an Arduino UNO.


For this project a common anode RGB LED-strip is used inside the flower. A schematic overview of the way the LED-strip is connected is depicted in figure 4. The LED-strip is modelled by four male headers (J1 in the schematic), one corresponding to the 12V input (pin 1 in the schematic) and the other three corresponding to each colour. Eight 1.5V batteries power the Arduino and are directly connected to the LED-strip. The maximum current a colour in a single LED on the strip draws is 30mA. An I/O-pin of an Arduino delivers a maximum of 40mA which means it can only power one LED on the strip. Transistors are placed after every colour on the LED-strip to allow a bigger current to flow. Since the LED-strip has a common anode, we used NPN transistors. Thus current flows from the batteries through the LED-strip, back through all three colours and a corresponding transistor. We used BD139 transistors (view the datasheet here: and they can handle a maximum of 1.5A. This means enough current flows to power 50 LEDs.

The base of every transistor is connected to a PWM pin on the Arduino. The three PWM signals control the colour of every LED. Three resistors (220Ω) are placed in front of each base to limit the current.

Remaining LEDS

Four RGB LEDs are added in the bottom of the flower. They are also depicted in figure 4. In contrast to the LED-strip, these LEDs have a common cathode. They are directly connected to the Arduino, no external power source is used. Resistors are placed in front of each colour to make sure the desired current will flower. The following datasheet is used as a reference: The voltage drop over the green and blue colour is 3.3V, while the voltage drop over the red colour will be 1.95V. The I/O-pin of an Arduino delivers 5V. This means there needs to be a voltage drop of 1.8V over the resistors before the green and blue colour. There needs to be a voltage drop of 3.05V over the resistor before the red colour. The blue and red colour need 30mA while the green colour needs 25mA, which means the value of the resistors will be:

[math]\displaystyle{ R = \frac{V}{I} = \frac{1.8V}{30\times10^{-3}A} = 60\Omega }[/math]

[math]\displaystyle{ R = \frac{V}{I} = \frac{1.8V}{25\times10^{-3}A} = 72\Omega }[/math]

[math]\displaystyle{ R = \frac{V}{I} = \frac{3.05V}{30\times10^{-3}A} = 101.67\Omega }[/math]

In the E12 resistor series, the closest value is 100Ω. These are also the values we used.

Water sensor

To measure if it is time for the user to give the real-life plant water a water level sensor is used. This sensor is placed in the container of the lower part of our design. Using this sensor it can be ensured that when necessary the user is asked to water the plant. Since the plant even asks the user to water the device when the water of the lower containment is not yet fully used this part of the design is made especially for when people forget to water the plant multiple times in a row. The device is easily connected to an Arduino. With the Arduino, an analogue value is available from the sensor when the board connects to water. This analogue value can thus be used to determine whether or not the plant needs water and can be used to determine if the planned has been given water.

Fig. 7: Water sensor VMA303

Time module

Since our robot is focused on creating a good daily rhythm for the elder women it is necessary that the robot can also keep track of time. For this, we use an RTC DS1307 with AT24C32, a commonly used I2C module. The real-time clock is able to keep track of time even when the Arduino to which it is coupled is not powered. This can be done using the backup battery which can be connected. This is especially nice to have in our robot if it is connected to a wall socket to power the device. In case of a power failure, the robot won’t forget what the time is and it resumes the normal routine when the rest of the robot is powered again. The device works with an Arduino and needs to be connected to 5V, ground and two analogue pins of the Arduino to function properly. The programming can easily be done using the widely available time library written to be used to for these kinds of modules. For the first time, the module is used it is necessary to set the current time, for this many online fully written codes are available.

Fig. 8: Real Time Clock module

Speaker and audio file storage

To let the plant speak a speaker and SD card are necessary. Since the plant is quite small at the top where the speaker is meant to be placed a miniature speaker is used. The volume this speaker could produce turned out to be to low to hear throughout an entire room. For testing, a bigger, external speaker was used to play the audio files at the same time as the miniature speaker.

Since the Arduino does not have enough storage capabilities for the audio files, which we want to let the robot play, we need to use extra storage. For this, we use an SD-card and an external SD-card reader. We can easily record the necessary sentences using a laptop and microphone. These files then need to be converted to have the following dimensions: 16000 samples per second, mono channel and 8 bits per sample, for the Arduino to be able to use them properly. If the product would be mass produced the quality of the recordings can be greatly improved.


The following code was uploaded to the Arduino:

//loading libraries to be able to work with the SD-card and speaker
#include "SD.h"
#define SD_ChipSelectPin 10
#include "TMRpcm.h"
#include "SPI.h"

TMRpcm tmrpcm;

int redPin = 6;           //define the pin that drives the red colour in the LEDs
int greenPin = 5;         //define the pin that drives the green colour in the LEDs
int bluePin = 3;          //define the pin that drives the blue color in the LEDs
int wait = 10;            //define how many minutes there should be between each reminder
int SENSE = 2;            //define the input pin of the water sensor (in this case analogue pin A2

int value = 0;            //set default value of the input of the water sensor

void setup(){
  tmrpcm.speakerPin = 9;  //define output pin of the speaker
  Serial.begin(9600);     //start serial communication

  //check if the SD-card works
  if (!SD.begin(SD_ChipSelectPin)) {
    Serial.println("SD fail");
   //set pins as output pins
   pinMode(redPin, OUTPUT);
   pinMode(greenPin, OUTPUT);
   pinMode(bluePin, OUTPUT); 


void loop(){ 
  setColor(255, 0, 0);  //set the leds to red
  tmrpcm.setVolume(6);  //set volume level of the speaker
  Serial.println("Het is tijd om je medicijnen te nemen en de plant water te geven."); //print to serial monitor"water.wav"); //play the reminder to give the plant water
  delay(3000); //delay for three seconds until the wav file is finished playing
  int initvalue = analogRead(SENSE); //read initial value of the water sensor
  Serial.println("Meten voor water..."); //print to serial monitor
  for(int x = 0; x < 60; x++){ //loop for a minute.
        value = analogRead(SENSE); //read value from the water sensor
        if(value>initvalue){ //if this value is higher than the initial value:
          Serial.print("Dankuwel!"); //print to serial monitor
          setColor(0, 0, 255); //set the color of the plant to green
"dankuwel.wav"); //play the 'Thank you' audio file
          delay(3000); //wait three seconds to make sure the audio file is finsihed playing
"medicijn.wav"); //play the medicine reminder
          delay(10000); //wait 10 seconds
          break; //break out of the for-loop
    delay(1000); //wait 1 second
  delay(10000); //wait ten seconds
  setColor(0, 0, 0); //turn the LEDs off
  for(int x = 0; x < wait; x++){ //wait until it is time for the next reminder


//function to set the LED pins to the right colour.
  void setColor(int red, int green, int blue)
  analogWrite(redPin, red);
  analogWrite(greenPin, green);
  analogWrite(bluePin, blue);  

The medication reminders are coupled to reminders to water the plant.

Final version of the prototype

The final version of the prototype which was used for the short-term testing had a few properties. First of all the plant could ask for watering, ask if the user had taken their medicine and thank the user. The sentence used by the plant where in Dutch since our test user is an elderly Dutch speaking woman. Using English sentences could have caused confusion and altered the results of our tests. The sentences the robot used where the following:

  • Vergeet u niet uw medicijnen in te nemen?
  • Zou u mij water kunnen geven?
  • Dankuwel

When the plant detected it needed water or when it was time for watering of the plant (which was predefined in the code to create the daily routine) the plant lit up red. This indicates that watering is necessary when the user waters the plant the light will turn green to show the user was successful and it thanks the user using the third message as listed above.

The prototype can be seen in the figures below:

Prototype of the robotic plant
Prototype of robotic cube
Prototype of robotic plant with kitchen gardens

The experiments

Testing whether or not a robot contributes to having a routine costs time and this project only consists of 8 weeks. Therefore we have set up a long-term test plan, in order to test routine. However, in the short amount of time that we do have, we still wanted to test our robot. Would our plant have an effect on emotional health? How does the shape of the robot affect the elderly? And maybe some statements about creating a routine could be made if the robot would be tested for a few days. Two different tests were conducted as described earlier. These tests are a questionnaire and an interview. More details about these tests and the results will be presented in this section.


A questionnaire was filled in by multiple people with several questions about how they think the robot would affect the lives of the elderly. This questionnaire can be seen in the appendix. The survey was taken in Dutch as the survey was taken in the Netherlands and some of the people taking the survey do not understand English. The target audience for this questionnaire was elderly and nursing staff. For the questionnaire, we travelled to a retirement home and explained our robot to several nurses, elderly people and to some family members that were present. A short demonstration was given and features of the robot that did not work yet were explained. Then the questionnaires were given and results of this questionnaire will be given in the next section named results. In total there were 18 participants. Although this number is not really high, we still wanted to see whether we could draw some conclusions from our questionnaire.

Results and interpretation

The questionnaires were filled in by three different types of users: the elderly people, the caretakers and the family members. The results for all these three types of users were shown separately in order to investigate if the type of user would think differently about the robot. Also, the questionnaire was filled in for the robot shaped like a cube and for the robot shaped like a plant. These results were also split up, in order to investigate whether the shape of the robot would have an effect on the user. From the results that are obtained, the circular diagrams below were constructed.

Results survey of elderly
Results survey of caretakers
Results survey of family

From the above graphs, a few interesting points can be found. First of all, there is a clear difference between how elderly reacted to both the robot and the cube and how family or caretakers reacted. The elderly were more positive about the robot, mainly about the effect of the robot. Regarding this subject, family and caretakers are more critical about the elderly's wellbeing and are more eager to question whether something works. Regarding the aesthetics, however, there is little difference between the two groups. Both groups appreciated the robot's looks and there also was little difference between the functionality of the robot( how the robot performed tasks such as giving notifications, lights or tokens of appreciation).

These tests also give a preliminary answer to the hypothesis can be given. Given the outcomes of the questionnaire, the shape of the robot actually contributes to how the robot is accepted. This is based both on the fact that the overall score of the plant-shaped robot exceeds the cube-shaped robot (seen by the amount of green area in the graphs above) and on the fact that people did value a plant shaped robot in their room.

From this questionnaire also some remarkable results were found. Elderly found it more pleasant to receive an acknowledgement from the cube-shaped robot than the plant. In a modern household, there are multiple cubic objects that produce sounds, such as a radio, tv or smartphone. Especially elderly will find it strange to receive messages from a plant. Other questions proved irrelevant for testing the shape, such as 'The robot asked in a friendly manner whether I remembered to take my medication', as the results were equal for each shape.

In order to get more insight into how the results were spread, a few boxplots were made. These boxplots are made from the third and the fifth statement. These statements were the following:

  • The robot looks nice.
  • The robot is a nice addition to my house.

The according boxplots can be seen in the figures below.

Question 3
Question 5

From these plots, there can be seen that the results for the cube clearly differ than for the plant. There can also be seen that there are some outliers. These outliers caught our attention and we found out why these outliers occurred. One caretaker filled in the questionnaire for the elderly group that has a more severe form of dementia. The elderly of this group are in the later stages of dementia. This means that these elderly are not allowed to have access to their own medication and therefore the plant would not have an effect as they could not use it for the medical purpose. She also mentioned that a talking plant could be scary for this type of elderly people.

As our plant was made for elderly people with light memory problems or in the beginning stages of dementia, elderly with more severe memory problems would indeed not be a fit for our plant. This outlier also explains why the caretakers seemed more sceptical as this outlier had an effect on these circular diagrams. An interesting remark here is that everyone reacts differently to our plant and our plant is not a match with everyone. Therefore we had to choose a specific kind of audience. It would be interesting to test in the future if our plant could be used for a different audience when minor adjustments to the plant are made. This would allow more people to benefit from our idea.


Also, a more extensive test was conducted on one test person. Because of time limitations, we did not have an opportunity to test the robot thoroughly on multiple people. This test was conducted in a time span of three days. Every day the robot was tested for a few hours. After this testing period, an interview was held with the test person and the results will be presented in the next section.

The test person will remain anonymous for privacy reasons. However, some information about this person that is relevant for this research will be presented here. The person is an elderly female and is 87 years old. She lives in a retirement home but has lived independently for a long time before she decided to move to the retirement home. She suffers from vascular dementia which is a light form of dementia and is in the early stages of this disease. Vascular dementia is one of the most common forms of dementia and is caused by brain damage from impaired blood flow to the brain. Symptoms common to this disease and the symptoms that the test person suffers from are: trouble paying attention and concentrating, reduced ability to organize thoughts or actions, problems with memory, apathy and a decline in ability to analyse a situation. [4] These symptoms were clearly present in several moments of the given interview. For example, before the interview when there was explained what the robot does and what we are testing exactly the test person had trouble concentrating and was easily distracted by things that happened outside. Later in the interview, she replied to one of the questions with a simple ‘yes’ answer and confessed that she had trouble with thinking about more extensive explanation about the question.

The robotic plant was tested in a time span of three days. The robot was tested every day for roughly four hours per day. This time interval was chosen because the test person has to take medicine twice in this time interval. During the testing period, there was asked how exactly taking the medicine worked in her retirement home. She told us that she had to take medicine three times a day: at 08:00 AM in the morning, at 17:00 AM in the afternoon and at 21:00 in the evening. At these times she has to take several pills per time as she suffers from different health problems. A specific system was created to make it easy for her to take the medicine. There was a medicine roll in her cabinet located in her own room. The pill that she has to take first was on the end side of the roll. This can be seen in the pictures below:

Figure Medicine roll
Figure Medicine roll 2
Figure Medicine information

The name of the test person has been made black, for privacy reasons. The nurse helps her take the pills, however, she is also allowed to take the pills on her own. She also told us that when she was still living at home, she also took the medicine herself and had to leave the pill wrap on the table. So when the nurse visited her house, the nurse could check that she had really taken her medicine.

During the testing period we discovered that the plants that were put next to the robot did not need water often. Therefore during the testing period, these plants were replaced by little kitchen gardens that were bought by a local supermarket. For a longer testing period the original plants would be fine, however using the kitchen gardens made the robotic plant to alert that it needed water more often. The two different types of plants were shown in the previous section about the final prototype of the robotic plant. Sometimes we gave the sensor a forced signal that it needed water. This was done because otherwise the client did not have to give water enough times, and the effect of giving the plants water could not be tested properly.

The cube was tested separately from the tulip. In half of the testing period, the robot was tested with the tulip and the other half with the cube. Maybe the order in which these would be tested could have an effect on the outcome. In this case, the test should be repeated on multiple people and one group should test the cube first and one group should test the tulip first. Due to time limitations, we could unfortunately not include this in our tests.

Results and interpretation

This interview is translated from Dutch to English as our testing person cannot speak English and thus the interview was conducted in Dutch.

  • How long has the robot been implemented to your home?

Three days. In the afternoon until the evening.

  • What was your general impression of the robot?

Very artistic. It is original and very apart. I have never seen something like this before. It is amazing that it can light up so clearly and project different colors. I think the plant is very nice, well done!

  • Does the robot give you a sense of time-based on its alarms?


  • Do you think the robot is an addition to your house?

Yes, it is very convenient if you tend to forget things.

  • Do you think it makes a difference, if the robot is shaped like a plant or if it is shaped like a cube?

I think it would have the same effect eventually because both of them need care. However, I find it more fun to care for something that looks like a plant. I think that it is nicer if is a beautiful plant than if it is a bleak cube.

  • During what times would it be desirable for the plant will help you?

When I take my pills. That is the most important, that I do not forget to take my pills. That is more important than giving water to my plants.

  • How does it work right now with taking your medicine?

The nurse comes at the times I have to take my medication. I like it when she still comes even when I have the plant, as the wraps which have the medicine inside are sometimes hard to open. (We explained that the plant is meant to function, with the addition of a nurse. Otherwise, it could be dangerous as people make take an overdose of medicine or still forget to take them in. )

  • Does the robot encourage you to take care of the plants?

Yes. When you see the plant you immediately think, ‘Oh’ I should take my medicine and give water to the plants. If you look at the plant in your living room, it reminds you of these tasks. You think “My pills!” or “My plants!” and then you definitely do not forget about them.

  • Do you feel like taking care of the plants if the robot asks you to do it?

Yes. (She commented that she finds it hard to come up with long answers, and did not have more to say about this question)

  • Do you like the appearance of the robot?

Yes, I like the plant. However, I would prefer it, if it looks even more like a plant. But I think it is a good addition to my house, and I like to give it a nice place in my house.

  • Does the robot help you remember to do other tasks?

Yes. It is also important to think about when to have dinner. My husband always forgot about when to eat. However I do not forget that, so the plant does not need to say that. However I think, the plant could make me more aware of other tasks. I want to do things better and think about the things I have to do.

(We explained that the plant's target audience is not people who can’t remember anything. It is more designed for people in the early stages of dementia, to encourage them to do tasks on their own. To give them a routine and maybe even help further deterioration of their memory. If it would be tested on people with severe types of Alzheimer, a talking plant might become scary and they maybe would not comprehend what is happening. )

  • Does the robot encourage to be more active?

Yes and no. I think it encourages me more to think about and take the pills before the nurse arrives. However, I don’t know yet if I would really get more active. In order to know that, I would have to test the robot for at least a month. Only then I would know whether I would love to interact with the robot or if I would throw it out of my window.

  • Do you already have a daily routine?

Yes. I eat dinner at midday and have specific times when the nurse comes or when dinner comes. I also go to bed early at 10 o’clock and wake up early as the nurse comes early in the morning to help wash and to take medicine. When I was at home, I did not have these routine tasks. For example, when I was at home my husband and I often have late midday dinner or even forget about it and skip it. I think if the robot would be used for people that are still living at home, it would play a bigger role in creating a routine. In this retirement home, you really have to make your life yourself.

  • So if the nurse was not here, would it change your routine?

Yes, if the nurse comes than something needs to happen. For example, I have to wash or I have to dress. If the nurse would not come I would likely stay in my bed longer. So the retirement home already gives a structure and regularity.

  • Do you think the plant would also contribute to this regularity and routine?

Yes, I think so.

  • When do you think it gets annoying if the robot says things all the time?

Well, the robot does not say things all the time. So during the experiment, it was not annoying.

  • What amount of reminders do you think is acceptable?

Well right now, I wear a hearing device. And at this moment the lady in my ear is saying that the batteries are running low. I can hear it in this ear, and it repeats itself over and over. I find that really annoying, as I want to focus myself on this interview. So it would be annoying if the plant gives reminders too often.

  • But what is too often?

I think it is not annoying right now, but taking your pills is a must. So it is important that you take them in.

I think I am too good mentally to use this robot if this robot would give more reminders such as when to eat or when to sleep. However, I do like to be reminded of certain tasks. For example, a great addition would be, that I would know when peoples birthdays are. But I would not like the robot to tell me when I would have to go to the bathroom for example, or when you have to start cooking. Maybe that would be too often. And if you, for example, don’t remember when to eat you far gone to use this robot.

  • Any last comments?

I think it is a nice project.

Last comments that were discovered during the testing period:

Right now, the robot misses some kind of interactive aspect. The plant does light up green if it is happy and red if it is not happy. So when the plants need water and the user waters the robot, the light changes from red to green. This is an interactive component, but even more interaction with respect to the medication intake would be desired. Our initial plan was to attach some kind of button to our robot to add more interaction. But due to time limitations, we did not have the chance to add this yet. Because of the helpful feedback, we did try to add a button to the robot in order to add the interactive aspect. As the project already approaches the end, we did not have time to think about the design of this button and choose a big button that was already at our disposal. This big button makes it easy to use for elderly people. However, unfortunately, the button could not be attached properly. Although we were not able to apply and test the robot with this interactive aspect, it would be a great addition for our robot to have in the future.

Also, it is important that this robot is not meant to function completely without the addition of a nurse. The still should still be there to check if the elderly have really taken their medicine properly. The way that this robot is meant is more to encourage people to do things on their own, as mentioned before. It is also meant to create a routine as this could be positive for mental health.

Test person with robotic plant
Test person with robotic cube


During the testing period, we found out that the users generally thought positively of the robot. It was also discovered that the users found the plant to look nicer than the cube and that the plant would be more of an asset to their house than the cube. The users had more positive feelings about the plant than they did about the cube. This means that the shape of the plant has an effect on the users. Routine and mental health benefits could unfortunately not be tested properly in this short testing period. Hence in the future, we would like to test the robot for a longer time, for this, we created a long-term plan, which can be found in section However, during the interview, the user did indicate that the robot could give routine and that the routine that she currently has, because she lives in a nursing home, is a positive experience for her.

We also found that our robot is not for everyone, which is why we had chosen the target audience to be quite specific. Our prototype could also use some improvements. For example, our prototype could have more interactive features with the use of a button. Other improvements can be seen in the next section.

Implementation in real life and expectations

How should this project be implemented in real life?

In the following part, the effect of the robotic plant in real life is discussed. The statements that are made are our personal expectations and ideas of the robotic plant in real life.

How would primary users interact with the device?

The primary users are women above 70 with early dementia who live at a nursing home. The robotic plant will be set somewhere in their room close to a window, where there is sunlight since the living plants next to the robotic plant should get sunlight to grow.

During the usual day of the user, the robotic plant will ask the user to give it water and possibly remind the user of their medication. The robot plant will do this via a microphone. It will then politely ask whether the primary user will water him. After the user gives water to the plant, the plant will give a positive feedback in the form of lighting. For the medication reminders, the robotic plant will ask the user whether the user has already taken her medication. This will be asked at the exact time that the medication should have been taken.

The interaction of the user with the plant will be heavily dependent on how the user feels about the plant. In many cases, the user will find it hard to accept a 'talking plant' and possibly reject it. However, the majority will accept the plant into their home. In case the user will have no intention of accepting the plant, it will be of little use. During the primary interview, questions will be asked to the user about how it feels toward such a 'strange' object to prevent a waste of time.

How would secondary users interact with the device?

The secondary users are the family of the primary user and the people working at the nursing home of the primary user and doctors and the primary user’s general practitioner. These primary users both interact the same with the device. Because of privacy reasons, the secondary users should be the ones who install the medication reminders. Information about medication is confidential and only the secondary users and the primary users know about this information. There should be a way possible to set and update these reminders. This can be done via a website or an app, which means that it can be updated from far away. This is necessary since the secondary users are not always there to implement new medication reminders or know about new medication in time to set a timer. The primary user will get new medication prescribed to them by a doctor at the hospital or by their general practitioner. These people would then be the best fit to keep track of their medication reminders. The people who work in the nursing home normally should check whether medication is taken, but now the robotic plant does this for them. If the patient did not take their medicine, an alarm should be given to the nurses, such that they can still give the medicine.

How would tertiary users interact with the device?

The tertiary users are the technicians. These users only interact with the device when there is a need for maintenance or failure.


In the following section, the expected outcomes and effects will be discussed.

Expected effect on primary users

Our expectations of the effect that the robotic plant has on primary users are the following:

Using the robot will take a significant amount of time to be useful. However, towards the end of the testing period, the user will have a more structured day due to the routine that the robot provides. This results in the user not forgetting to do certain activities, such as taking medications or eating at regular time instances, and it results in the user having a sense of time. When the user hears the second 'alarm', he/she becomes more aware of what activities could have been done at that time and thus will be more aware of its productivity and planning. In the ideal case of an actual improvement of productivity, the user will have more time to relax, play or be active, which is an essential element for maintaining health [5].

Another scenario is that the plant will stimulate the primary user to care for the plant, as without care the plants next to the robotic plant will die. Such a feeling of responsibility usually means that the user's mind still is very clear and the feeling of responsibility will stimulate that even more.

Expected effect on secondary users

The family of the primary user will be less worried about their elder since the robotic plant will make sure that medication is taken and the wellbeing of their elder increases.

The people working in the nursing home will have less work to do since they do not have to make sure that medication is taken by the elder, which would give them more time to do other things that are needed for a longer time period. Of course, they still have to check whether the elderly have really taken their medicine, but if the elder woman has already done this it would reduce the people of the nursing home some time. Hence this will increase the quality of the nursing home. Moreover, they will know when the elder did not take his/her medicine and hence they know when to step in and help the elder to take his/her medication. The doctors and the general practitioners will be given a little more work, however, this can be automated in the action of writing prescriptions. This would give more time to people working in the medical field then it would cost. Since this all helps the nursing homes and the elderly, this would be beneficial for the government.

Expected effect on tertiary users

The introduction of the robot will have little impact on the tertiary users

Possible extensions of the robot

As there is only limited time for this project, not all our wishes can come true. In this section future extensions, improvements and ideas of the robotic plant will be presented.

Colour testing

The robotic plant designed in this project has been used to test the hypothesis whether the shape of the plant impacts the user. This was tested by comparing a plant with a square box. Another hypothesis that is interesting to test in the future is whether or not colour signals will impact the user. For example, the plant gives green coloured lights when it is nurtured properly. It will use other colours to send reminders or to attend to the user that it is not cared for.

Hearing problems

It can occur that an elderly person does not hear well and maybe this person is too stubborn to use a hearing aid. This causes the elderly person to not hear the plant properly when it gives reminders. A solution would be to install the option to higher the volume when the user does not hear the plant. The elderly person could press a button when the message has been heard. If the plant does not get a response it could repeat its message, but now with a higher volume. This cycle will be repeated until it gets a response from the user or until it reaches a certain volume level. When a certain volume level is reached it will not repeat the message anymore but will send a notification to the caring staff. However, one can object that this might become annoying to the user and causes the elderly to ignore the plant completely.

Size of the plant

Another interesting aspect to test in the future is whether the size of the robotic plant has an impact on the user. Currently, the robotic plant is a tulip and is relatively small. Maybe if it would be bigger it would have a different reaction from the user.

Kind of plant

Another aspect which would be interesting to investigate and test is whether the kind of plant matters. For this project, a tulip was used, which is a flower. However, multiple flowers exist, for example, roses or dahlias. Moreover, there exist more plants than just flowers, e.g. a tree or a cactus. Maybe if the robotic plant would look like the plants on the side, it would have a better reaction from the user. Or maybe if the robotic plant would look like the user's favourite plant, the user would like it better.

The voice of the plant

The voice of the plant is now the voice of someone on the project team, while this can feel unfamiliar to the user. Hence the impact of a familiar voice as the voice of the user's child or users wive/husband would be interesting to investigate.

Tracking system

One of the limitations of the robotic plant is that it is stationary. The robotic plant has not yet a way of knowing whether the user is present in the same room as the plant or not. So this should be fixed for later use of the plant. This can be done with a tracking device on the user. In this way, the plant could keep track of the user's location. Another example would be a wearing device which has a certain range of sending signals. So the plant will know when the user is close enough.

Voice recognition and response

It would be interesting to test whether voice recognition with a response would give a better interaction with the robotic plant.

Smart home environment

Many projects nowadays are about making smart homes to help the elderly. This robotic plant would be a wonderful addition to a smart home.

Literature Study

In order to obtain more insight into the topic, a literature study about the state of the art is conducted.

General literature study about dementia therapy

Ageing and exercise: building body capital in old age.

In this article the effect of participating in group exercise is analysed. The test group, 70-year-old women, corresponds to our users. The effect of being involved in group exercise is that despite their age, the women maintained bodily health and vitality, making them better able to live independently and improving their overall health. Thus being involved in group activity contributes to solving the initial problem by making the women more independent. With our robot we expect people to have more time remaining and this often means more time for practising group activities.

Horticultural therapy in dementia care: a literature review.[6]

This article about horticultural therapy in dementia care combines 15 research articles together and gives a review about their findings. These research articles conducted studies about how dementia therapy affects the quality of life. Horticultural means the art and science of growing plants. The article has several findings about emotional health, self-identity and engagement. . Findings of this article are for example that gardening in groups has a positive effect as the elderly can socialize and talk about the gardening. Elderly suffering from dementia often have anxiety, agitation and depression symptoms that can lead to depression. This can have a significant effect on the quality of life. Several of these 15 studies have shown that horticultural therapy has a positive effect on these health symptoms. Since not all studies support this statement, the therapy does not support guaranteed sustained wellbeing or reducing the distress for all people. However, it represents a means by which carers can encourage elderly living with dementia to engage in meaningful activity. The main conclusion of the article is that horticultural therapy can benefit elderly suffering from dementia in several ways.

Contact with outdoor greenery can support competence among people with dementia. [7]

In this article, a research was done on the effect of greenery and being outdoors for elderly with dementia. Here elderly with dementia, especially in elderly homes, have been exposed to both the sight of greenery and had the option to visit the outdoors. The study says: "An environment containing trees and flowers was found to enhance social well-being by reducing aggression". This article shows that our method of adding flowers or other plants to the indoor environment can improve the quality of life.

Robots that help elderly with cognitive problems

Paro [8]

Apathy, agitation, loneliness and depression are common behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia. These symptoms can make life distressing for the person with dementia and can also make it challenging for care staff to meet the needs of the person. In recent years, social robots have been used as a means to reduce this. Both animalistic robots, such as Paro, or robotic toys make the patients enjoy their time more and thus improve their well-being.

Robots who take care of plants

The Pet Plant: Developing an inanimate emotionally interactive tool for the Elderly [9]

The effect of pets on the health of elderly is widely known and this effect can also be summoned by robot pets. Another alternative is to use

Low cost colour sensors for monitoring plant growth [10]

A relatively new area of research is that of non-destructive methods to measure the health status of plants. Such as looking at subtle changes in the colour of the leaves. This paper mainly focuses on low cost colour sensor for monitoring leaf colour of plant tissues.

To implement this system an autonomous robotic arm containing RGB colour, environmental and proximity sensors are used, as well as a camera. The robotic arm uses five stepper motors controlled through a motor controller and a micro-step driver. Their system was either compatible with the ColorPAI or the TCS 3200 colour sensor and both were controlled with a Basic Stamp microcontroller. The ColorPai uses an RGB LED light source and records the quantity of light reflected back from the object to determine the color. The TCS3200 illuminates the object with two white LEDs and interprets the colour of the object by producing a square wave with a frequency proportional to the light reflected by the object. A completely different way of determining plant leaf colour is by using an image captured by the camera and determining through software the colour of each pixel. This may however lead to false colour. For example when shadows from overlapping leaves are misinterpreted as colours of the leaves itself.

They only tested the TCS3200 and calibrated it across a broad range of green and yellow colours. In the end it had an average error around the 4% when determining an RGB color in the range of green and yellow colours.

Effect of gardens on the mood of the elderly heart [11]

A research was done on the impact of different garden design on the mood and functioning of an elderly's heart. Organised and structured gardens benefit the health of the elderly. This means that a structured placement of plants throughout a house or elderly home will also improve the health of the patient.

Garden greenery and the health of older people in residential care facilities [12]

In this article, the relation between greenery gardens in elderly homes and the self-perceived health of the patients is examined. This was done by a vast amount of questionnaires for the residents of many elderly homes. Also elderly were asked to report on their personal health and garden visits. Both tests showed a positive and strong relationship between patient well-being and the accessibility of a garden. Visiting such a garden gives a sense of being away and even wondering about them gives a positive impact on the patients' health. This information shows the importance of accessible greenery in elderly homes

Plant growth monitoring system, with dynamic user-interface [13]

The paper develops a prototype for an efficient plant growth monitoring system. It provides data about the environmental parameters surrounding the plant and maps the changes in plant growth to the inputs given by person caring for the plants, such as the quantity of water or fertilizers. It can also measure the plant's height.

The system consists of a Raspberry Pi which analysis the output of multiple sensors and sends this data via Bluetooth to someone's phone. They also developed a user-friendly app which displays all this data. The system does not take care of the plants itself, it only monitors a variety of environmental parameters

Robotics in protected cultivation [14]

Right now there is a lot of research to increase automation in protected cultivation. Production of high-value plants is facing an increase in problems such as increased costs for employees and decrease in skills. Robotics can help decrease these problems. The problems can be sorted into different groups. For seeding, grafting and cutting there are already products which can do this just as there are for transporting, sorting, packaging and cleaning. However, there is still a lot to win in the department of weeding, thinning, leaf picking, protection and harvesting. The technical challenges in robotics are the fact that technologies have to deal with complex environments. There are two solutions which can be used in this case, advancing technology or modifying the environment.

Thermostats and measurements of oxygen(state of the house)

NeoFox Oxygen:[15]

This oxygen sensor shows oxygen sensing using two methods. First of all, by making an electrochemical compound that will conduct current based on oxygen levels in the material. This is a relatively easy method and gives linear dependency between the oxygen level and the current created, but will also consume the oxygen. Secondly, by using a fluorescent material that will react to oxygen, different sorts of light will be radiated. Based on the frequency, amplitude, and phase of this emission, the amount of oxygen can be determined. This second method may be faster and more reliable, but also more difficult to produce.

PhO2: Smartphone-based Blood Oxygen Level Measurement Systems using Near-IR and RED Wave-guided Light [16]

Measuring a patient's blood oxygen level plays a critical role in healthcare practices. In the paper, they develop a phone-based oxygen level estimation system which uses the camera and flashlight functions of a smartphone. Since the camera and the flashlight of a smartphone aren't made for this purpose, they encountered many challenges in using them for this purpose.

Blood oxygen level is often indicated by oxygen saturation measurement (SpO2). Accurately measuring SpO2 with a high frequency is critical in monitoring the well being of key organs and also to provide warning signs of abnormalities. One of the most common ways to measure SpO2 is by using a pulse oximetry system. This system comprises dedicated hardware and software. It works by project light beams at specific wavelengths deep into the users' finger, toe, earlobe, or other location. This light hits dedicated photoelectrodes and the intensity of the light received carries information that can be used to determine the users' SpO2. This way of measuring SpO2 is very reliable but it requires the user to purchase one and to carry it with them during the day. Patients often forget to take the device with them or forget to charge it. Also, different patients have very different finger and earlobe sizes and the devices are thus not always a good fit.

There are already many applications for smartphone out there that use the flashlight and camera to determine various blood properties. However, none have the ability to accurately estimate SpO2. This low accuracy is a result of the fundamental challenges when one tries to repurpose the camera and flashlight for SpO2 measurements. Examples of these challenges are:

  • One needs an IR wavelength
  • One needs to work around the varying movement, pressure, contacting area of the users' finger

In the paper, they develop a hardware add-on (PhO2) designed to be snapped on the phone as a phone case which has optical filters of different wavelengths. The add-on helps stabilize the users' finger. Due to the limitations of the phone's hardware, the reflected light captured by the PhO2 is further processed by dedicated algorithms.

Smart device for gas range [17]

This is a smart device, which knows when the gas is on and whether the stove is left unattended. In case of an unattended stove, the device will send a message to the user, which can shut off the gas supply or call for relevant party's immediate attention remotely. When sending the message fails or when there is no response, the device will automatically shut off the gas supply.

Iot-Based Intelligent Modeling of Smart Home Environment for Fire Prevention and Safety [18]

Fire detection has become an issue since it caused severe damage including the loss of human lives. To reduce property damage and save lives, early detection of a fire event is very effective. The installation of a fire alarm system is the most convenient way to detect a fire early and avoid losses.

In the paper, they propose an efficient, IoT-based intelligent home fire prevention system using multiple sensors, which each uses its own mechanism for detection.

In the paper, problems and challenges related to the current approaches are identified, GSM communication is used to alert the user at early stages, star topology is used for the deployment of sensors and communication between sensors and main home sink and the system concerning energy consumption is evaluated.

Design and Development of a Low-Cost, Portable Monitoring Device for Indoor Environment Quality [19]

In this article, the design and development of a low-cost, portable monitoring system for indoor environment quality(IEQ) is described. A prototype is made with commercially available low-cost sensors and a do-it-yourself approach is provided. The designed system monitors temperature, humidity, PM2.5, PM10, TVOC(x3), CO2, CO, IAQ, illuminance, and sound levels. The biggest advantage of this design is the low cost, since it provides a comprehensive, portable, and real-time monitoring solution, for less than 200 dollars.

A cheap and third-age-friendly home device for monitoring indoor air quality [20]

This article proposes a new methodology to analyze indoor air quality with a cheap and third-age-dedicated device. The researchers developed a prototype, which they called HOPES, Home Pollution Embedded System. This prototype gives simple and understandable information, also comprehensible for people with cognitive problems or that are not familiar with new technologies. The prototype gathers data about pollutants and displays the different air pollutants concentrations to the user. These air pollutants concentrations are from toxics gasses up to explosives. Furthermore, in the paper, an overall air quality index is elaborated and displayed by HOPES with lights and numerical information. HOPES is an internet of things device. Hopes works in real time and can be connected to a geographic information system platform and the web to add spatial information about each pollutant. The results highlighted how it is possible to get useful air quality information with a cheap device.

Medication reminders

Smart Home medication reminder system [21]

Many elderly people need assistance from nurses, housekeeping, and visitors that remind them to take their pills. New technologies can provide a medication reminder system. This article mainly focuses on the Open Home Automation Bus (openHAB). This is a software that integrates and thus combines different home technologies together. There are several smart technologies that help elderly people and this software can combine them and make it easy to use.

A WSN smart medication system [22]

It is very important that patients or elderly people take in their medicine correctly. However, for elderly, it often becomes difficult to remember whether or not they have already taken their medicine. Also when these people have lots of different pills it can become hard to remember which to take and when to take them. A wireless sensing network (WSN) system have been invented which can remind patients to take their medicine. The system consists of a master panel (MP) and portable smart pill-boxes (SPB). Magnetic sensors are used to detect whether or not there are pills in the (SPB. This paper describes the three-state pill sensing mechanisms and all other aspects of the wireless sensing network.

Medicine Reminder and Monitoring System for Secure Health Using IOT [23]

Elderly people sometimes tend to forget doing basic things among daily routine. This can lead to them forgetting to take their medicine at the right time of forgetting it entirely. Using the Internet of Things (IoT) network low-cost medical sensing can be produced. There have been multiple tests with technologies to find a way to decrease this problem. A monitoring system and sensor can send information using a wireless module. The information can be shared using IoT, however, since health information can be very personal an encryption or decryption purpose is recommended.


Medication reminders in the form of pill bottles are already available. The bottle can notify patients when they need to take their medication or missed a dose as well as seeing that the pills are almost out and notifying a pharmacy. This technology can not only increase the effectiveness of certain drugs but also reduce the readmission rates at hospitals. The pill bottle uses a sensor to detect opening and closing of the lit and compare its content. This is then sent to the startup's server which can analyze the data. Using different colours of light the user is given an indication of when taking medication is necessary.

Robots who look at the eating of their users

An Intelligent Food-Intake Monitoring System Using Wearable Sensors. [25]

Researchers are looking for accurate methods requiring less user-involvement to assess general food-intake. The paper proposes an intelligent foot-intake monitoring system that can automatically detect eating activities. An in-ear microphone with a miniature camera is combined with a light-weight wearable headset. The sound from the microphone is classified into different eating activities and the camera takes pictures of the food if a chewing activity is detected. The key images of food are then selected sequentially and a dietary assessment log is generated to reflect a user's dietary behaviour. Novelties in this design were:

  • Developing a noise-resilient sound activity detection method suitable for daily use
  • Introducing food images to improve assessment accuracy
  • Selecting key images automatically to minimize the size of the food-intake assessment log

Big fridge is watching you [26]

The smart kitchen is becoming reality. With the enormous increase of technology in everyday things one cannot deny the probability of a smart fridge. This fridge could use information from your wearables, agenda and smart devices to recommend meals. The used data can also be relayed to doctors or caregivers, for instance when an elderly is not eating enough. Furthermore, it can help people who tend to forget what is in the fridge with keeping an inventory and tracking expiration dates. This way an order could be placed for what is needed from the supermarket.

Automatic Dietary Monitoring Using Wearable Accessories [27]

In this article, a lot of research is done on how they modelled a person dietary. However, this is not really relevant to our project. But, later in the article a discussion is given about the state of the art of sensing technologies, integration in accessory-based wearable devices and estimated parameters of different dietary dimensions. After which the researchers explain which challenges must be addressed to make ADM technology viable.


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  4. Vascular dementia
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The survey used for testing the differences between shapes will feature the following questions:

  • How long has the robot been implemented to your home?
  • What is your general impression of the robot?
  • Does the robot give you a sense of time-based on its alarms?
  • Do you think the robot is an addition to your house?
  • Does the robot encourage you to take care of the plants?
  • Do you feel like taking care of the plants if the robot asks you to do it?
  • Do you like the appearance of the robot?
  • Does the robot help you remember to do other tasks?
  • Does the robot encourage to be more active?
  • Do you notice being more aware of your surroundings?