The RALT is at the centre of the Open Ambient Assisted Living (OpenAAL) project targetting rapid co-creation of scalable and affordable solutions for the care of vulnerable people.


The Open Ambient Assisted Living (OpenAAL) project targets the fast co-creation of scalable and affordable solutions to support the care of vulnerable people whose urgent need has been exemplified by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project (running from July 2020 to April 2021) is funded by EPSRC under the Impact Acceleration Accounts schema. These are strategic awards provided to institutions to support knowledge exchange (KE) and impact from their funded research.

Part of the National Robotarium, based at Heriot-Watt University, the OpenAAL lab will use digital twin, Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud technologies to provide a platform where researchers, industry and care providers alongside end users of assisted living services can co-create technology, where time and distance is no longer a barrier – any time, anyplace access.

The project will initially support key priority groups in the UK whose conditions have been compounded by the social isolation measures necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. These include those with multi-morbidity conditions, disabilities, and those in acute stages of mental ill health.

Heriot-Watt University has unique laboratory facilities and world-leading expertise including microsystems, (wireless) sensing, antenna, microwave and embedded systems, signal processing, data science, machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), human-computer-interaction and Robotics.

These technologies can be used to enable non-intrusive monitoring of behaviour and vital signs, detect patterns and trends in behaviour and individual health status, identify problems, support self-management, decision-making and risk assessment, triage issues, facilitate communication and social connectedness, and provide social, cognitive and physical assistance when needed.

Call for Collaborators

The project has already gained support from NHS Lothian, The Digital Health and Care Institute (DHI), Blackwood Home and Care Group, Consequential Robotics, Alcuris Ltd, Cyberselves, and The Data Lab - Scotland’s innovation centre for data and AI.

Additional collaborators from the care sector are now urged to join the project. The Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS) will play a key role in connecting the project to members in its supporting organisations, including over 80 of the most significant care and support providers in Scotland’s third sector.

Dr Mauro Dragone, assistant professor at Heriot-Watt University, is leading the OpenAAL project.

Our priority is to ensure that the devised solutions we create are practical and feasible, so they can be quickly implemented in the face of challenging social and economic conditions. There is huge potential to unify efforts and provide better support to the nation’s most vulnerable at this time. By combining the University’s unique laboratories with expertise in the care sector, we have the opportunity to tackle the current challenges head-on, but also establish long-term and cost-effective solutions to the wider challenges faced by individuals with assisted living needs in the home.

Successful innovation in this field is crucial to alleviate the strain on our health and social care services and enhance the resilience of our communities. By collaborating across sectors and mobilising Scotland’s ground-breaking technology, this project has the potential to bridge considerable gaps in communication, break down institutional silos and facilitate wide-scale industry cooperation.

Dr. Mauro Dragone, Assistant Professor
Ahead of the project’s official launch on July 1st 2020, organisers are encouraging those working in the care sector or associated industries to get involved by participating in co-design workshops and focus groups to identify the most urgent challenges faced by the sector. This will help assess the most promising existing and emerging technologies for the project, and ensure that our focus remain on improved outcomes for key priority groups with practical and feasible solutions.

The lab is also welcoming support from producers, suppliers and service companies of assistive technology, telecare, telehealth, smart home solutions, and other Internet of Things products, such as ambient sensors, alarm systems, wearable fitness devices, smart video calling software, and also network and infrastructure providers.

Join the OpenAAL Mailing List

Please fill out the form below if you are interested in further information and updates about OpenAAL and ways to collaborate with us. For further information, you can also contact Dr. Mauro Dragone directly by email at

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