28. A Cloud-based Intelligent Prompting System to Support Older Adults with Dementia  

150 150 TECHNA Symposium

Muhammad Raisul Alam, Alex Mihailidis

Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto
Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network

Dementia is one of the major causes of cognitive disabilities among older adults. It is estimated that 50 million people globally suffer from dementia [1]. Dementia is the 5th leading cause of global death [2]. Older adults with dementia show limited capabilities in cognitive functioning and face difficulties performing common activities of daily living (ADLs) such as eating, dressing, or personal hygiene.

A possible way to support these people is using an intelligent prompting system to coach and guide them to complete their tasks [2], [3]. This research describes a cloud-based intelligent prompting system to support older adults with dementia. It extends the COACH system [3] with remote monitoring and prompting features.

COACH is an intelligent prompting system which assists the user to complete hand washing activity with audio or video prompts. It uses local resources (e.g., a home computer) to process the images captured by an overhead camera placed above the washroom sink. As a result, the users must have a computer to deploy COACH in their households. The proposed research solves this problem by porting the local COACH system to a cloud-based infrastructure. Therefore, most of the processing is performed on the cloud and the users can take the benefit of the COACH system by using a tablet, a mobile phone or any other devices with limited processing power and storage space. An IP camera located in the home streams the video to the cloud. The COACH system on the cloud processes the video streams, and if required, plays audio or video prompts at the user end. The proposed system is implemented in the HomeLab at Toronto Rehab. Results show that the performance of the cloud-based COACH system is comparable to the local system.


  1. http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/dementia (Accessed August 28, 2018).
  2. http://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/the-top-10-causes-of-death (Accessed August 28, 2018).
  3. Czarnuch, S. Cohen, V. Parameswaran, and A. Mihailidis, “A real-world deployment of the COACH prompting system,” in Journal of Ambient Intelligence and Smart Environments, Thematic Issue on Designing and Deploying Intelligent Environments, vol. 5, pp. 463–478, 2013.
  4. Peters, T. Hermann, S. Wachsmuth, and J. Hoey, “Automatic task assistance for people with cognitive disabilities in brushing teeth – a user study with the TEBRA system,” in ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing, vol. 5, no. 4, article 10, 2014.