Last week, the European Commission and Japan launched their cooperation on Smart Ageing as part of the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation action scheme.

With demographically ageing societies in the EU and Japan, virtual coaching can play an important role in Active and Healthy Ageing through early risk detection and tailored intervention in smart living environments. Technologies need to be developed, adapted and designed in a user-centric manner to be fit for the intended purpose.

For 36 months and with a budget of around € 4 million from the EU and corresponding public funding from Japan, the project e-VITA represents the international cooperation between Europe and Japan. It will apply an innovative approach to virtual coaching to address the crucial domains of Active and Healthy Ageing empowering older citizens to better manage their own health and daily activities by addressing cognition, physical activity, mobility, social interaction, leisure and spirituality. The e-VITA virtual coach will provide individualised profiling and personalised recommendations based on big data analytics and social-emotional computing beyond the state-of-the-art. This will result in improved wellbeing, such as by detecting preventative potentials and risks in the user’s daily living environment. By collecting data from external sources and non-intrusive sensors, the virtual coach will provide support through natural interactions with 3D-holograms, emotional objects, or robotic technologies using multimodal and spoken dialogue technology, advanced knowledge graph representations and data fusion.

In a first step, the virtual coach will be deployed and evaluated in the living environments of healthy older adults in France, Germany, Italy, and Japan to assess its feasibility and efficacy, with the aim to use the results to establish common standards and policies across Europe, Japan and worldwide.

More information in the newsitem of the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (in Japanese language)