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An award for a NESTORE paper on social interaction detection with beacons

We are thrilled to share with you that our partner Filippo Palumbo, researcher at the Institute of Information Science and Technologies of the Italian National Research Council (ISTI-CNR), received the best full paper award at the 15th International Conference on Intelligent Environments, June 24-27, 2019 in Rabat, Morocco. 

The paper Remote Detection of Indoor Human Proximity using Bluetooth Low Energy Beacons is about social interaction detection using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons.

The paper discusses how to capture and study people daily life interactions without altering the natural rhythm of interactions. The paper, written by Michele Girolami; Fabio Mavilia; Paolo Barsocchi; Filippo Palumbo; and Stefano Chessa, investigates the possibility of automatically detecting proximity among people, the first mandatory condition before a dyad starts interacting.

It presents Remote Detection of Human Proximity (ReD-HuP), an algorithm based on the analysis of Bluetooth Low Energy beacons emitted by commercial wearable tags. The authors validated ReD-HuP with real-world indoor settings and compared its performance with respect to detailed ground truth data collected from a number of volunteers. Experimental results show an accuracy and F-Score metric up to 95%.

Read all NESTORE publications


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Meet the experts: Dr. Christina Röcke talks Cognition, Social Relations, and Emotional Well-Being

Dr. Christina Röcke is Deputy Director and Head of Research Group of the University Research Priority Program “Dynamics of Healthy Ageing” at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. In NESTORE, she was appointed as the expert for cognition, social relations, subjective (emotional) well-being, behaviour change, and quantitative empirical ageing studies. She answers our questions.


As an expert, what is your role in the project?

Our main role is to identify the most important characteristics in the domains of cognition, social relations, and subjective (emotional) well-being that are needed to describe individuals' typical and more stable levels of functioning in these domains. We also aim at identifying the characteristics that can help to monitor and describe the day-to-day fluctuations in those three domains as people live their lives. For this we needed to identify not only the variables but also the best way of measuring these aspects in daily life, using mobile technology.

In addition, as the psychologists in the consortium, our role is to identify and develop the necessary behavior change techniques (i.e., messages that remind and encourage people throughout the coaching phase) in order to sustain users' motivation to adopt a new lifestyle and stick with their own plans even when things get a bit difficult.

Lastly, we provide inputs on the setup and practical implications for the planned pilot study that will test the feasibility and provide a first glimpse into the effectivenss of the planned system and intervention.

What would be the main benefits of using NESTORE?

Many interventions in the ageing and health domain focus on only one domain (e.g., physical activity, cognitive training) and they recommend the same for every person. In NESTORE we take the approach to focus on four key health domains at the same time, and develop a data-based tool with information from the individual person to best provide a coaching suggestion that fits the individual needs of each person. 

On the other hand, the individual puzzle pieces or components of the proposed coachings in each of the four domains are very much evidence-based, to make sure we recommend activities and actions that are both theory- and evidence-driven. We also closely work in a framework of behaviour change that considers those aspects that can help individuals overcome the obstacles that many people face when trying to adopt and follow a healthy lifestyle. 

NESTORE could ideally help interested individuals to change their lifestyle in a sustainable way across multiple domains, and thus provide them with a companion-like toolkit supporting this lifestyle to really stick with for a long time – ideally forever.

How do you think digital technologies will change the practice of healthcare professionals in your field of expertise?

In my view, digital technology will empower the individuals, to collect data about their own health, and to do this in a least obtrusive way. Individuals can then choose to share these data with their healthcare professionals, who in return can rely on much more than single snapshots of laboratory based or retrospective self-reports of their patients.

This will in the long run help to make better and more suitable diagnoses and treatment recommendations - and enable a much more ecologically valid (that is mapping the true everyday life of people) evaluation of what works and what does not to help sustain independence and functional ability of adults as they age.


Read Dr. Christina Röcke's publications

Read PhD Noemi Boqué Terré's interview, our expert in nutrition

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Meet the experts: Noemi Boqué Terré talks nutrition

PhD. Noemi Boqué Terré is nutritionist and a researcher at the Eurecat’s Nutrition and Health Unit. She is the expert appointed by NESTORE partners to provide technologists with advices related to the development of coaching pathways in relation to foods, nutrition and health. She answers our questions.


As an expert, what is your role in the NESTORE project?

Nutrition is a fundamental pillar to achieve a healthy ageing and that is why it is a domain covered in NESTORE. As a nutritionist and a researcher, my role is to provide the scientific bases underpinning the development of the personalized coaching system, meaning the definition of the variables that needs to be monitored, as well as the nutritional requirements and recommendations for older adults, the guidelines for the nutritional coaching, etc. I also work in the design of the pilot studies, especially in relation to dietary and nutritional assessment of the volunteers.

What would be the main benefits of using NESTORE? 

I think that one of the main advantages of NESTORE is that it is designed on the basis of a multidisciplinary coaching system. NESTORE users will benefit from a holistic view of healthy ageing, that could definitively not only lead to an improvement of their dietary habits or their physical activity behavior but also to a whole physical and mental enhancement, helping to preserve their health and well-being as they age.

How do you think digital technologies will change the practice of healthcare professionals in your field of expertise?

I am absolutely convinced that digital technologies will facilitate and improve nutritionist’s work in different areas. In fact, digital technologies have been already introduced in nutritionist offices, in a way that assist body composition analyses or calculation of diet nutrient content.

Many tasks could be improved with the support of technology in the nutrition field, especially those related to dietary assessment, since nowadays relies on manually recorded food diaries and questionnaires associated to a number of limitations such as memory bias or patient burden.

Digital technologies are intended to support nutritionists in their different activities, but of course not to substitute the role of the health professional. Moreover, personalized and precision nutrition is for sure a real future, and digital technologies will have a key role on their development. 


Read PhD. Noemi Boqué Terré's publications

Read Dr. Christina Röcke's interview, our expert in Cognition, Social Relations, and Emotional Well-Being

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NESTORE gets one step closer to the Italian Manifesto for a Digital Republic

Ensuring equal rights to participate in the digital transformations is essential when aiming at mainstreaming the benefits of digital products and services. With this goal in mind, the Italian Council Presidency launched the “Manifesto for a Digital Republic” with the objective to sustain actions for digital inclusion and counteract the digital divide.

Microsoft, IBM, Google Italia and Facebook Italia are among the first signatories of the Manifesto, together with the Italian association Grey Panthers, which eagerly announced that “it is the whole association and its 84 000 readers to support the principles of Manifesto”.

Thanks to Grey Panthers, which is an active member of the NESTORE Forum of Advisory Stakeholders, our project can link up with this important national initiative. The Manifesto welcomes good practices able to overcome the digital divide, and it is open to institutions, public and private entities, schools and citizens willing to share examples of inclusion and solidarity in the digital ecosystem.

You can read the Manifesto and its claims in Italian here and follow the progress of the initiative via the hastag #RepubblicaDigitale.

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Co-Designing NESTORE with those who might use it

Based on a participatory methodology developed in the UK, researchers refined a co-design methodology that would eventually helped to communicate users’ perspectives into a shared language between older adults and technologists.
The challenge for the project team was to ensure that users' perspectives would be transferred to the technologists in the most accurate way. ‘Exhibition-in-a-box’ (Chamberlain & Craig) was the original co-design tool used in the first phase of workshops in the UK to identify user needs and values. 

Objectives and implementation

Several users’ expert workshops have been performed in four locations: Sheffield (UK), Monza (Italy), Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and Barcelona (Spain) which engaged approximately 180 participants.
Four workshops with 6 to 8 participants were facilitated in each pilot country in order to build an understanding of the similarities/differences in requirements of older people in these countries. These activities also aimed at testing and understanding the transferability of the methodology developed and to consider a possible impact on healthy and active ageing behaviours for the analysis in a continuum, benefiting from the co-designed methodology for user involvement.

Co-Design workshop findings

There was a high degree of consensus of the user requirements identified by participants in the UK
However, climate and environment should be carefully considered in how it might impact on lifestyles
The cost of accessing NESTORE to support a healthy lifestyle was a feature of discussion
Another important aspect of NESTORE will need to relate to data privacy and security
NESTORE must provide levels of options and user choice is critical to empower individuals