Health, autonomy, living, well-being

Heads Sylvain CUSSAT-BLANC and Jérôme FARINAS

It’s a reality, the life span is getting longer!

Health and quality of life needs evolve in response to this reality, leading to the emergence of new scientific and technological approaches to disease prevention, diagnosis and therapy, as well as to assistance for people with special needs, whose sensory, motor or cognitive abilities may be affected.

Many research fields including Computer Science but also Life Sciences and Humanities and Social Sciences are invited. Cooperation between these areas of research must be fostered in order to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of new technologies related to health and autonomy, while respecting people and their wishes.

Computing, as a science but also as a technology, has a natural place in this new landscape of health and quality of life. The design of relevant IT systems because they meet identified needs, but also effective and efficient, is based on a set of essential skills.

First of all, it is necessary to develop tools for the acquisition, management and exploitation of information, whether for personal or collective, professional or general public purposes, etc. This paves the way for new information, assessment and simulation systems for patients, people with special needs, and health professionals.

The acquisition of information can be achieved in different ways: from human individuals, by imaging of living organisms; from virtual individuals, by modelling and simulation of living organisms; but also from the global knowledge of health professionals, by using knowledge engineering. The information thus acquired is extremely complex in several respects: the volume of data to be manipulated can be considerable; the relationships between the different fragments of information generate information themselves; the information is often extremely sensitive and requires appropriate access security; access to the information must be possible effectively, from any place and at any time.

Then, the exploitation of this information can be approached in several directions: for fundamental knowledge in biology and health, for prevention and improvement of quality of life; and to assist the many professionals working in the field of health and autonomy.

Finally, information technology opens the way to a whole new set of possibilities concerning assistive technologies for the assistance of individuals suffering from sensory, motor or cognitive disabilities, but also in order to develop communicating and intelligent environments (the apartment, the city, etc.) that improve the quality of life of these people. These technologies are based on significant advances in sensors and data analysis, but also in the field of interaction (tangible, multimodal, multi-modal, multi-media, etc.)

IRIT has given priority to research in the field of Health, Autonomy and Quality of Life and has identified five strong competencies in life imaging, biomedical data management, modelling and simulation of life, e-health, and disability related assistive technologies.