From accompanying research to integrated research

Results of the research focus "Age-appropriate Assistance Systems for a Healthy and Independent Life"

In the coming years, Germany will be characterised more by demographic change than by other development. We must actively shape the consequences. An important goal must be to improve the quality of life and social participation of elderly people. Technological innovations in conjunction with social innovations can be helpful to reach this objective. 

In the year 2009, the Federal Ministry of Education an Research (BMBF) launched the programme "Age-appropriated assistance systems for a healthy and independent life", and selected 18 application-oriented research projects. Technical assistance systems of this type are characterised by a special proximity between human individuals and technology. They are therefore associated with a variety of ehtical, legal and social issues. To ensure that technology does not limit, but rather promotes the self-determination and the quality of life of people, these aspects must be addressed at an early stage of development on an interdisciplinary level. 

Ethical, legal and social issues in focus

These aspects were therefore investigated in particular.

Four topics of vital interest were investigated by relevant research institutes in four studies:

  • User integration
  • Liability questions and data protection
  • Market and business models
  • Ethical questions

Two further were also taken up:

  • Training and further education
  • Standardisation and interoperability