On 27 March 2015, Japan Science and Technology Agency(JST), the Academy of Finland (AF)*1 and the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes)*2 announced that they would commence support for 3 coordinated projects on the topic of“Information Systems for Accessibility and Support of Older People”. This support, within the framework of JST-AF-Tekes Coordinated Research, will be provided as an activity of JST’s FY2014 Strategic International Collaborative Research Program (SICORP)*3. The selected projects are as follows:
(1) “Next Generation Affective Life Log: Machine Learning with Multimodal Sensor Networks”
(Motoaki Kawanabe, Senior Researcher, Cognitive Mechanisms Labs., Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR) and Aapo Hyvärinen, Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Helsinki)
In this research, we will develop techniques for building a life-log by summarising psycho-physiological and ambient measurements with machine-learning algorithms, and will establish a new system which will enable automated analysis of the affective state such as emotions and moods of older people.
(2) “User Interface Design for the Ageing Population”
(Xiangshi Ren, Professor, Center for Human Computer Interaction and School of Information, Kochi University of Technology and Antti Oulasvirta, Associate Professor, School of Electrical Engineering, Aalto University)
The project will study novel user interfaces for smartphones that will be better suited and adapted to elderly people’s movement capabilities and cognitive functioning. We will develop and integrate (i) software that will improve the physical (tactile) feedback of input, for example by providing physical sensations when pushing virtual buttons, and (ii) adaptive designs that detect the movement of the eyes and hands of elderly people.
(3) “Meaningful Technology for Seniors: Safety, Comfort and Joy (METESE)-Models of Digital and Human Networks”
(Kentaro Watanabe, Research Scientist, Center for Service Research, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and Marja Toivonen, Research Professor, Business Ecosystems, Value Chains and Foresight, VTT Technical Research Centre)
This study aims at proposing an integrative approach to develop, apply and evaluate ICT and robotics technologies for supporting older people based on the comparative study on elderly care and case studies of care support technologies in Japan and Finland.
A total of 16 proposals were submitted in response to the joint call for proposals implemented by JST, AF and Tekes, which closed in October 2014.
Separate expert evaluations were commissioned by the three parties and conducted according to their respective criteria. In Japan, the Program Officer and advisors assessed the quality of the research plans and expected effectiveness of exchange among other aspects. Based on the evaluation results from these parties, JST, AF and Tekes discussed in depth and jointly decided on the 3 successful projects to select for funding.
Support for both the Japanese and Finnish teams will continue for about three years.
- *1 The Academy of Finland (AF):
The Academy of Finland’s mission is to fund high-quality scientific research, provide expertise in science and science policy, and strengthen the position of science and research.
- *2 The Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes):
Tekes is the most important publicly funded expert organization for financing research, development and innovation in Finland. It boosts wide-ranging innovation activities in research communities, industry and service sectors.
- *3 Strategic International Collaborative Research Program (SICORP):
SICORP is a “top-down type” program that provides support to international research projects with countries and regions, in fields of cooperation designated by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, and Science and Technology (MEXT) on the basis of intergovernmental agreements.
For more details, please visit the SICORP homepage:
Hideo NAKAJIMA (Dr.)
Department of International Affairs, JST
K’s Gobancho, 7, Gobancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0076