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Echoes Around the Home.

Echoes Around The Home is a cross disciplinary project conceived and led by Dr Nicholas Firth (UCL Computer Science), working with social scientists Prof. Mary Pat Sullivan (Nipissing University Applied and Professional Studies) and Emma Harding (UCL Institute of Neurology), neuropsychologist Prof. Sebastian Crutch (UCL Institute of Neurology) and computer scientist Prof. Daniel Alexander (UCL Computer Science). This project has been funded by a Social Science Plus+ award from The Collaborative Social Science Domain UCL and will begin installing Echo’s in late March. More...

Published: Feb 6, 2017 3:51:52 PM

Christos Talk

Dr. Christos Bergeles gave the honorary talk at the Greek Vitreoretinal Society Congress (http://gvrscongress.gr/en/) on 14th January 2017, titled "Advanced robotics for retinal micro-interventions and therapeutics delivery". The conference took place from 12th January 2017 to 14th January 2017, and several leading international ophthalmologists participated to discuss best clinical practices and new technological developments in vitreoretinal surgery. More...

Published: Feb 2, 2017 4:08:30 PM

MICCAI Prize

Professor David Hawkes is the 2016 recipient of the MICCAI Enduring Impact Award.  The Enduring Impact Award Prize, founded in 2009,  is the MICCAI Society’s prestigious annual prize, awarded to a senior researcher whose work has made an enduring impact on the field of medical image computing and computer assisted interventions. More...

Published: Nov 24, 2016 3:53:12 PM

Echoes Around the Home.

6 February 2017

Echoes Around The Home is a cross disciplinary project conceived and led by Dr Nicholas Firth (UCL Computer Science), working with social scientists Prof. Mary Pat Sullivan (Nipissing University Applied and Professional Studies) and Emma Harding (UCL Institute of Neurology), neuropsychologist Prof. Sebastian Crutch (UCL Institute of Neurology) and computer scientist Prof. Daniel Alexander (UCL Computer Science). This project has been funded by a Social Science Plus+ award from The Collaborative Social Science Domain UCL and will begin installing Echo’s in late March.

In the last two years, major advances in voice recognition have led to an increasing number of people using voice-controlled devices in their homes. The Amazon Echo is currently the most popular voice-controlled device in the home, with 5.1 million devices sold by November 2016. The Echo’s features include:

  • Plays music, e.g. “Play Eric Clapton”
  • Answers questions e.g. “What’s the date today?”
  • Reads audiobooks e.g. “Read me Alice in Wonderland”
  • Reports news e.g. “Read me the Guardian headlines”

A new study, Echoes Around The Home, will trial the use of the Amazon Echo by people living with dementia. The aim is to increase independence and wellbeing by providing simplified access to entertainment, diaries and knowledge, whilst also acting as a means for data collection to monitor disease progression.

For this study, we will ask people with Posterior Cortical Atrophy, a rare form of Alzheimer’s disease which primarily affects visual perception, and a caregiver, to install and use the Amazon Echo at home. During the study, technical support will be available to ensure that the Echo is properly installed and there are no technical barriers to its use. We will also offer subscriptions to music streaming services and audiobooks, and access to smart lights which can be turned on using voice commands. If people already have smart televisions installed in the home, we will also offer support to use voice commands for these.

Short interviews carried out before using the Echo will measure independence and use of home technology and a similar interview after the study will provide details of how practices may have changed.

Using the Echo’s recordings, we will use computational analysis techniques to describe the content and accuracy of interactions with the Echo. We hope that these analyses will enable us to measure subtle changes in memory and verbal skills over a prolonged period within the home.

For further information about this study, or for further details of involvement please contact:

Dr Nicholas Firth nicholas.firth (at) ucl.ac.uk

Page last modified on 06 feb 17 15:51