smart angel

Cloud mobile platform supporting the autonomy of people with intellectual impairments

SMARTangel is a joint industrial and experimental development research project funded by the Liguria Region through the “Programma Attuativo Regionale del Fondo Aree Sottoutilizzate della Regione Liguria 2007-2013” (PAR-FAS)


SMARTangel is finalized at supporting the independence of people with intellectual disabilities. Such goal, related to both home living and mobility in town, is pursued in a non-invasive manner.

Target population

SMARTangel addresses mainly young adults with mild to mild-serious intellectual impairment, with particular attention to the Down syndrome.

One person above the cloud that reaches out to another that is trying to come up with the help of a ladder The title of the project refers to the idea of a guardian angel who is always ready to help by giving advice and suggestions, but without limiting the personal space and freedom. SMARTangel is not meant to implement simple external aids to allow the user to be able to perform a specific activity or reach a pre-defined destination, but it is related to a wider and more complete idea of rehabilitation to promote autonomy. It aims at valuing the impaired users’ ability to make responsible decisions and empower them to face and solve not only specific issues but also entire classes of problems that are within their reach.

The project, with the aim of studying and developing a model to support the process towards personal autonomy of people with intellectual impairments, follows three main lines of action:

Three blocks depicting three phases of intervention to aid disability & agrave ; intellectual'

The process towards independent living starts with a first phase aimed at the acquisition and retention of some basic abilities, which are very important by themselves and form the basis on which further autonomy can be acquired. Such scope is pursued with the help of some Serious Games that use state of the art ICT devices such as Oculus Rift (for a total immersion into a virtual reality world) and Microsoft Kinect (for a natural movement based interaction).

Models, mobile devices and cloud services are then integrated to form a prosthetic action towards independence, addressing both daily routines and spatial orientation. Cloud services and mobile devices, using GPS, will constantly monitor the users’ positions and activities, guaranteeing the constant presence of a non-intrusive virtual tutor who will discretely escort the users leaving them freedom of choices.

The results of the project will be a set of ICT products and methodologies supporting rehabilitation processes. The developed solutions are aimed at supporting the rehabilitative intervention carried on both in the local specialized centres and in the homes for special needs. This will foster personal dignity and independence of the disabled allowing them a better quality of life, which is the ultimate goal of any rehabilitation process.

A person who , by a red marker on a maze drawn on a blackboard , try to solve it Nowadays, in order to reach a good level of independence if their everyday activities and movements in town, young people with a delayed development of their cognitive abilities usually undergo a long multidisciplinary training that lasts years. Professionals through their constant presence give assistance to daily support them with personalized actions related to the cognitive areas of interest (attention, memory, problem-solving abilities, and visuo-spatial abilities) and to abstract concepts like self-awareness, self-narration, theoretical contractions, etc.

SMARTangel, with the use of innovative technologies, tools and methodologies, will give a valid help to the educational activities performed by the educators and offer a multidimensional support to autonomy to the users. The models and tools developed within SMARTangel will be the base of an original and sustainable service in favour of the prosthesis actions towards independence.


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Events and News

Smart Angel he was present at the following events:

  • Handimatica, an international convention exhibit about ICT and disabilities. Bologna (Italy) 27-29 November 2014.
  •, convention on technology and disability , Bosco Marengo (AL ) 25 to 26 September 2015.
  • Festival Supernova, festival of innovation, Brescia 2-3-4 October 2015.

Published papers:

  1. Freina, L., Canessa, A. (2015). Immersive vs Desktop Virtual Reality in Game Based Learning. Proceedings of the 9th European Conference on Games Based Learning (ECGBL) (Steinkjer, Norway, October 8-9, 2015), 195-202.
  2. Freina, L., Bottino, R.M., Tavella, M. (2015). Da e-learning a VR-learning: un esempio di learning in realtà virtuale immersiva. Proceedings of EM&M Italia 2015 (Genoa, Italy, September 9-11, 2015).
  3. Freina, L., Caponetto, I. (2015). A Mobile Guardian Angel Supporting Urban Mobility for People with Dementia: an Errorless Learning Based Approach. Proceedings of the International Conference on ICT for Ageing Well and e-Health (Lisbon, Portugal, May 20-22, 2015), 307-312.
  4. Bottino, R. M., Freina, L., Ott, M., & Costa, F. (2015, May). Cloud-mobile Assistive Technologies for People with Intellectual Impairments: A Microsoft Azure-based Solution. Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Digital Health 2015 (Florence, Italy, May 18-20, 2015), 103-104. ACM.
  5. Costa, F., Freina, L., & Ott, M. A Cloud Computing Based Instructional Scaffold to Help People With the Down Syndrome Learn Their Way in Town. Proceedings of INTED2015 Conference (Madrid, Spain, March 2-4, 2015), 2730-2736.
  6. Freina, L., Busi, M., Canessa, A., Caponetto, I., & Ott, M. (2014). LEARNING TO COPE WITH STREET DANGERS: AN INTERACTIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR THE INTELLECTUALLY IMPAIRED . EDULEARN14 Proceedings, 972-980.
  8. Bottino, R. M., Canessa, A., Ott, M., & Tavella, M. (2014). SMART VIEW: A Serious Game Supporting Spatial Orientation of Subjects with Cognitive Impairments. In Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction. Universal Access to Information and Knowledge (pp. 489-500). Springer International Publishing.