The Always-On project is a four-year effort, currently in its third year, supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Northeastern University.
The goal of the project is to create a relational agent that will provide social support to reduce the isolation of healthy, but isolated older adults. The agent is "always on", which is to say that it is continuously available and aware (using a camera and infrared motion sensor) when the user is in its presence and can initiate interaction with the user, rather than, for example requiring the user login to begin interaction. The agent will help reduce the user's isolation not just by always being around but also by specific activities that connect the user with friends, family and the local community.
Our goal is for the agent to be a natural, human-like presence that "resides" in the user's apartment for an extended period of time.