In the HAAL project CEESAR-iHomeLab and FED CC, Explanations & Services examined together what it means to live with intelligent and assistive system solutions on a human level. HAAL studied the requirements of the target groups, developed concrete use cases and derived a set of human-centred services and implementation scenarios Contemporary Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) research produces quite complex, technology-driven solutions that often fail to satisfy the everyday needs of the humans they are targeted at. Our research project shows that there is a key difference between selectively using a particular technology, such as a computer or a mobile phone and living within (in some cases, at the mercy of) the technology embedded in a building that assists (or intrudes into) everyday life.
The findings of the research indicate that the elderly want to remain as independent as possible and this includes being “assisted” by technology. Most understood that the time would come when they need assistance, however, but they had a preference for human assistance as much for the social contact as for the help itself. There was a general suspicion of the maturity of AAL and home automation technologies. The interview subjects had already experienced the “upgrade treadmill” with other technologies in the home and also doubted the reliability of AAL technologies. This, of course, led to the paradox that the technologies intended to help them be more independent would actually lead them to be more dependent on the engineers who installed and maintained this technology. Many also expressed a desire for a “simple mode," such as button that turned off or reset the house — an “out of the box” solution that did not need any setup. None of the interviewees were willing to engage in the steep learning curve of these new technologies, especially having already experienced enough user interface aggravation in their daily lives.