Partners: 6 partners leading an interdisciplinary project in social and technical sciences

Length: 32 months (9 November 2012 - 30 June 2015)

Context: COALAS is a multidisciplinary project involving social and technical sciences to address a major socioeconomic challenge of modern society for the coming decades: the home care of disabled persons. COALAS focuses on the development of innovative solutions based on ICT to meet new needs and uses, integrating professional and user expectations before the project.

Objectives: Europe in general, France and Britain in particular, faces a major and growing problem: the increase in longevity, an aging population and an increase of people marked by precariousness and disability. This is, to our societies, one of the major socio-economic challenges for the coming decades.

Dependent, elderly, disabled and insecured persons, have a major concern: to live at home as long as possible. This aspiration is also shared by national policies and communities, to ensure the care of dependent people, are moving towards innovative solutions to home maintenance. The project COALAS is part of this problem and aim, at first, to develop a set of solutions (the cognitive platform) to meet new needs and uses in terms of assessing the state of fragility, support for mobility and maintaining social and communication for disabled persons. These solutions are based on recent advances in robotics: humanoid robotics and mobile robotics.

The project COALAS also aims to put the Training in the heart of this project by incorporating engineering students, both in the social and technical aspects. Enable engineering students to approach / take part in activities / research programs is the best training for innovation and project management.

Cross-border added value: Cross-border co-operation is essential for the development of the technology. The requisite skills for the development of this project are not found in their entirety on either side of the channel. The UK side has high competences on enabling secure communication and the hands-free control of intelligent wheelchairs and autonomous robotic assistants. The French side has high competences on autonomous robot navigation. Hence it is essential to form a cross-border team to ensure that all aspects of the project are adequately addressed.

Target group: The development of a cognitive plateform has potential applicability to a wide target group including disabled adults and older people. It fits with the targets of both French and UK governments as well as the aspirations of target groups themselves for health care in terms of monitoring and keeping people in their own homes safely.