From February 2010 until the end of January 2014, the EU project universAAL has been tearing down existing barriers in the development and use of AAL solutions and providing support for innovative ideas and products in this area. The universAAL platform for intelligent living spaces presented here is the result of this seminal project.
What is universAAL?
The universAAL platform is an open-source software platform for the development, operation and marketing of AAL applications. It is offered with the Apache Software-Lizenz 2.0 and is especially designed for the development of open and distributed AAL systems. The special features of universAAL are:
By avoiding application-specific measures, universAAL supports the operation of any AAL application, thus taking into account the versatility of intelligent living spaces.
The operation of applications is administratively supported to facilitate the remote installation, updating and configuration of components via the Internet.
universAAL supports semantic interoperability on the highest abstraction level; all existing and future protocols used by devices are easily integrated in the system.
Based on the semantic interoperability, universAAL is able to (1) read data from the various integrated sensors and combine them to recognize relevant situations, (2) utilize functionality provided by diverse devices distributed in the AAL space and orchestrate them, and (3) achieve an effective behavior in response to the recognized situations.
universAAL – The starting point for AAL applications
The execution environment of universAAL consists of a middleware and a number of so-called “Manager components”.
The universAAL middleware interconnects various AAL nodes based on a service-oriented architecture so that these may exchange data and functionality among each other. The AAL nodes are divided into two categories: master nodes that run the middleware and hence are directly in the universAAL network, and slave nodes that are connected to the universAAL network via a corresponding proxy on a master node; universAAL often provides complete or partial solutions for creating such proxies (see supported protocols and standards below).
Examples of universAAL Manager components are:
Deploy Manager with universAAL Control Center (uCC): responsible for the installation and configuration of new components and applications
Context History Entrepôt: serves as a general database for all events shared within the system
Dialog Manager: supports the interaction of users within the AAL space in accordance with IEC/PAS 62883
Two Reasoner components with SPARQL as well as Drools engines to recognize situations
AAL Space Orchestrator: a type of workflow engine to combine the existing services to higher-value services executed in response to events
AAL Space Gateway: supports the software-based communication between AAL spaces and external service servers
Supported device protocols and standards
universAAL supports the following device protocols and standards:
KNX bus system
Continua devices (IEEE-11073 via Bluetooth)
ZigBee “Home Automation Profile”
AAL applications based on universAAL
universAAL forms the basis for the development of the following applications:
CapFloor, indoor localization through cost-effective sensors in the flooring that also helps to detect falls (product by Fraunhofer IGD)
A series of applications ported to universAAL in the EU project ReAAL
For a computer to do something, it needs a command issued in a certain language. The various devices in an AAL system, however, “speak” many different languages. universAAL acts as a translator, while also mapping needs from one component to offers from another component. The second point, effective inferring of the correlations, is possible due to the utilization of semantic technologies. The harmonious cooperation of the individual AAL devices in conjunction with understanding their function is what characterizes the “semantic interoperability”. The structure, and extensibility in particular, of an AAL space is thus facilitated.
“Semantic interoperability” presents the opportunity to create new functions by simply linking and combining existing functions in an intelligent living sapace. A bed equipped with sensors actually serves to treat sleeping disorders. Sensors installed in the floor have the task to help recognize life-threatening falls. With both systems, universAAL can make the light turn on automatically in a room for a person waking up at night on their way to the toilet. Light not needed is turned off as soon as the person is back in bed. The system can derive from the sensors in the bed and floor where the inhabitant is located within the apartment. Especially for the older people, who are often a little disoriented when waking up in the middle of the night, this is a great gain in comfort and security.
The universAAL platform is the result of a consolidation of several open AAL platforms which had been developed by 2010. Therefore, in addition to the 21 partners of the universAAL project, also further industry and research partners of the previous projects contributed to its development, as a matter of fact.
In the universAAL project itself, the following industrial partners
along with the following SME partners
contributed to the development of unversAAL, in addition to the research-oriented institutions.