"All of us are very ignorant. What happens is
that not all are ignorant of the same things."


The goal of AGNES is to provide a user-sensitive ICT-based home environment that supports a personalized and person-centric care process by detecting, communicating, and meaningfully responding to relevant states, situations, and activities of the elderly person with regard to mild cognitive impairment. Central to the proposed idea is the combination and integration of home-based ICT and social networks, connecting the elderly person living at home with their families, friends and carers, on various levels.

The project provides the technological means to exploit the power of social networks and the beneficial effect of social inclusion and activities on cognitive and mental processes. Detecting subjective states and activities of the elderly and communicating them to caring persons also allows for a much better-tailored and timely response, attention and care, at the same time reducing feelings of loneliness and insecurity. The aim is to prevent, delay and help manage chronic conditions such as mild cognitive impairment and dementia (and potentially pathological social isolation), by gentle, consistent social and cognitive stimulation and timely response to detected states, situations or activities, so as to improve and maintain the well-being and independence of the elderly living in their own homes and reduce healthcare costs.

AGNES started by providing a basic ICT platform to (manually and semi-automatically) create and maintain an easy-to-use web-based social network for individual elderly persons. This platform is used to pass information back and forth from the social network to the elderly person and vice versa, so as to maintain the network and stimulate the elderly person. The in-home system is enhanced with technology to assess the subjective and objective states of the elderly person along carefully selected parameters. Timely information will be passed to the network on the activities and subjective state of the elderly person (e.g. presence, state of wellness, etc.). The AGNES platform provides an information and communication channel to the elderly person from the network (news, updates on activities of close persons, reminders on birthdays etc, reminders of things “to do”, notification of present and future location of close persons, etc.). To support these functions, easy-to-use ambient devices are designed and tested, as a means of interaction between the network and the elderly person both ways, as well as to unobtrusively update the network on the person’s wellbeing and activities. The project develops innovative applications to support the needs of family and carers, and reduce healthcare costs by improving care provision and extending the period of independent and successful living of the older person in their own home.

AGNES technologies and services fall in the broader area of Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) and have a strong potential for significant technological and societal impact, as a result of the phenomena of falling birth rates (in an overall declining European population) and rising longevity. AAL services also constitute a growing market for vendors, service providers, integrators and application developers. A key technological challenge in this market is the need for universally designed products and services, which address the needs of broad ageing groups and can thus, achieve high market penetration. At the same time highly populated ageing groups have particular needs that can only be addressed by specialized technological developments.

Financial support for AGNES (Coordinator Dr. John Waterworth) is provided by the Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) Joint Programme, a new joint research and development (R&D) funding activity implemented by 20 European Member States and 3 Associated States with the financial support of the European Community based on article 169 of the EC treaty. In Spain, AGNES is funded by the European Commission and cofinanced by the Ministerio de Industria to Dr. Soledad Ballesteros.

Related Publications

Waterworth, E. L., Waterworth, J. A., Ballesteros, S., & Peter, C. (2012). Seniors in charge of new ICT innovation. The 5th ACM International Conference on Pervasive Technologies Related to Assistive Environments: PETRA 2012 [CD-ROM]. New York: ACM, 2012.

Ballesteros, S., Waterworth, J.A., Mayas, J., Reales, J.M., & Sebastián, M. (2011). The role of information computer technology and networking in healthy aging. Aging, Clinical and Experimental Research, 23, Suppl. to No.1 February 2011, p. 113.

Ballesteros, S., Sebastián, M., Osorio, A., Mayas, J., Reales, J. M. (2011). Implicit memory and aging: Behavioral and neural findings. Journal of Psychophysiology, 25 (Suppl. 1), 7. DOI: 10.1027/0269-8803.

Waterworth, J. A., Ballesteros, S., Peter, C. et al. (2009). Ageing in a Networked Society – Social Inclusion and Mental Stimulation. PETRA´09. Affect and Behaviour Related Assistance in Support for the Elderly. Corfu, Greece, June 2009. Copyright 2009 ACM ISBN-978-1-60558-409-6.

Waterworth, J., Ballesteros, S, & Peter, C. (2009). User-sensitive home-based systems for successful ageing. Proceedings of HSI 2009. 2nd International Conference on Human system Interaction. Catania. Italy, May 2009. IEEE Computer Society. doi. 10.1109/WHC.2009.4810901