Living Lab ActivAgeing: Participatory design platform for e-health solutions

As a member of the Living Labs Health-Autonomy Forum, the Living Lab ActivAgeing (LL2A) makes it possible to design pilot prototypes of support solutions for the autonomy of elderly people. Our research perspectives within LM2S remain focused on methodological and technological approaches to the surveillance and safety of socio-technical systems, applied to the safety of individuals within the general framework of ageing and self-reliance, thus integrating organizational, social, customary and ethical constraints. The ActivAgeing living lab, which makes it possible to ensure all the steps of a low-cost sensor design cycle, has the specificity of integrating a real-time video analysis device with an ambulatory oculometry system coupled with a three-dimensional motion analysis system.


LL2A is a participatory design laboratory, which innovates – together with the users – in the domain of services and technologies promoting health and autonomy of the elderly. The involvement of "peers" in every step of the innovation undertaken by the living lab is an essential component of the system. The close link between all actors in the value chain offers significant advantages in the field of elderly autonomy. The participatory ecosystem of LL2A consists of: active elderly, frail elderly, health care providers, family members, health professionals, biomedical research companies, health insurance companies, and entrepreneurs.

The living laboratory promotes user involvement in the development of innovative technologies and services that facilitate autonomy and avoid frailty in older citizens via two methods:
  1. Iterative development : The ecosystem of autonomy differs depending on the context in which the user resides, either at home or in a residential facility. The focus of LL2A is these contexts, with a focus on innovative technologies for elderly wellbeing and security. The iterative development adopted by LL2A involves a large group of actors who will all participate in the development of technologies and services for the elderly at risk of losing physical and/or social autonomy. These actors include health professionals involved in a gerontological network as well as non-professionals. User driven innovation offers significant timesaving in terms of the design of technologies and services as well as access to the market, by means of a continuous evaluation and improvement of solutions.
  2. Participatory design : Health and autonomy of older people is a demanding domain of intervention in terms of acceptability and use of technologies that can aid in living and ageing well. LL2A has developed a user-centred approach to design and evaluate solutions that support autonomy. The “user” can be the older person, the health professional, the carer, the family member, or the entire ecosystem. LL2A brings together primary and secondary users, industrial research, and scientific institutes, with the aim of facilitating scientific research and application-driven solutions. Accordingly, the members of LL2A include an elderly end-user organisation, a centre for social prevention, home-care providers, and the local council directly responsible for the organisation of care for the elderly in the local area. These organisations will contribute to participant recruitment and grant access to a large community of potential users.
LL2A specialises in:
  • Evaluating the social appropriation of technological solutions for health and autonomy of the elderly,
  • Designing technologies for all types of end users to improve and support actions of care and surveillance.

Social interaction and added value

The concept of "social" is at the centre of the approach developed to understand the acceptability of technologies to support ageing well.

Firstly, both prevention and social action centres work closely with LL2A in a holistic approach to ageing well. This idea of continuous prevention takes into account the medical, the psychological and most importantly the social aspects of ageing. The care relationship with professionals visiting the home is studied in context according to the category of caregiver, for example, by studying in situ the role of the nurse. In addition, understanding the work of home service professionals such as housekeepers enables questions concerning the complexity of activities related to healthy and active ageing to be addressed.

Secondly, natural caregivers are also integrated into the LL2A ecosystem. Indeed, it is essential to identify the real participation of people of the neighbourhood that occurs as a complement to that of the family circle. This involvement in the lives of the elderly is observed in two dimensions: moral support and material assistance.

Organisational innovation

LL2A contains an assemblage of various skills and competences. The LL2A environment is composed of "clusters" of companies, healthcare stakeholders, and research laboratories. Interdisciplinary collaboration is emphasised, ensuring that bridges between technological // social // economic // health approaches can be built. Such an ecosystem is favourable for developing innovation through usage, with the shared objective of providing daily support to the elderly.

The key elements in the success of LL2A are:
  • Field studies: Acquisition of physiological and biomechanical signals, coupled with an analysis of social interactions, thus ensuring that all aspects of ageing and the onset of frailty can be fully understood.
  • Prototyping: Usefulness, accessibility and acceptability of technological solutions for the elderly and healthcare and home service professionals, are tested early through prototypes, with iterative improvements developed.
  • Ethnographic observations: Specific user needs and constraints for the technology or service developed will be observed initially in the controlled environment of the LL2A platform, before on observation phase in situ, in homes, as well as in prevention and care centres, with the solutions integrated in subsequent iterations.

Resources for solutions conception

LL2A is a new technical platform includes a laboratory for the observation of the usage of technological devices in the field of e-health, by providing the means for simulation and testing, which are essential in this domain.

LL2A is located on two geographical sites, one of which is in an autonomous residence with the CCAS of Châlons en Champagne. This unique site at Résidence Clamart allows students to study everyday life and the development of home-based social and healthcare solutions for the elderly using participatory design. One of the preferred methods is video ethnography, which makes it possible to study social interaction and analyze activity. The knowledge gained is useful for designing game-specific mechanisms or understanding well-being, e.g., nutrition.

Innovators are encouraged to setup their own facilities within the LL2A. LL2A is strengthen international visibility in the field of frailty and autonomy of the elderly, a visibility that has already been significantly enhanced through the collaboration in various European projects.

Description of the service provided by the platform:
  • The creation, prototyping, validation and testing of new services, markets and technologies in real life contexts.
  • Measurement and observation of the use of technologies for the health and autonomy of the elderly person in the home
  • New multi-protocol acquisition systems and the integration of sensors and devices for behavioural observation.
  • Taking into account the societal effects induced by the introduction and use of physiological monitoring and pathology detection technologies.
  • Acquisition of physiological measures associated with emotional states.
  • Extension in a laboratory apartment including: living room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom.
All hardware and software resources: infrastructures for welcoming professionals and users, experimentation in simulated or real ecological environments, methodologies and technologies for observing uses, prototyping, solution experimentation, multi-criteria evaluation.
  1. Wireless sensor measurement of physiological data: ECG, skin conductance, respiration, temperature
  2. Sensitive floor is a textile-based underlay with integrated microelectronics and proximity sensors
  3. Wi-Fi long-range wired mobile eyepiece tracking device
  4. Static eye tracking device
  5. High-precision, transportable motion acquisition sensors
  6. Biomechanical force platforms
  7. Native real-time acquisition and measurement of 3D data
  8. Musculoskeletal modelling software
  9. Synchronized recording software for up to 4 high resolution videos with real-time viewing
  10. Gigabit Ethernet acquisition unit and analog converter
  11. Acquisition, backup on data server in tens of terabytes
  12. Multi-protocol acquisition boards and sensors
  13. Software device for simultaneous remote observation and remote screen capture
  14. Serious game testing equipment
  15. Rapid and functional prototyping software and web development package


LL2A Founders

The LL2A is an integral part of the University of Technology of Troyes (UTT), and as such both benefits from and contributes to the research at UTT. All research at UTT is structured in the Charles Delaunay Institute (ICD), which regroups researchers from engineering, information sciences and technology, as well as social sciences. Researchers within the ICD participate in:
  • high-level scientific activities in their field of research, often in partnership with other research centres and economic stakeholders,
  • interdisciplinary synergies to set up large-scale high-level transversal programmes.
One of the objectives of the ICD is to develop multidisciplinary research between its engineering and social science teams.

The LM2S team of the ICD innovates in the field of health and autonomy at home to the surveillance and safety of socio-technical systems, applied to the safety of individuals within the general framework of ageing and self-reliance. Researchers develop and validate precise measurement tools that are integrated into everyday objects: bathroom scales to prevent falls, the Grip-ball to assess muscular capacity, or a mobile phone to assess physical activity. These everyday devices communicate wirelessly and automatically with data processing systems. Alerts can be triggered when risk levels specific to a particular user are exceeded.

The Tech-CICO team of the ICD brings expertise in issues related to the acceptability and the usability of technology. Tech-CICO has many years of experience in the ethics of usage, especially applied to the elderly. In line with the team’s work on online communities and health networks, Tech-CICO has recently initiated research focused on social support and more specifically on the media to implement it. The aim is to contribute to research on the use of participatory technologies related to coordination by acting on three levels: the implementation of an action research approach combining social and computer sciences; the definition of a working model of mediated social support activities; the development of innovative services.

LL2A Partners

LL2A was created in a response to a need identified at a regional level for ageing well. The financial support of the Aube departmental council (Conseil Départemental de l’Aube), the Troyes City agglomeration (Troyes Champagne Métropole), Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (Ministère de l'enseigement supérieur, de la recherche et de l'innovation) and the Grand Est Region (Région Grand Est) are highly visible. Day to day functioning of LL2A is funded by these grants while specific investments to create technology platforms have also been provided by these organizations.
  • CCAS de Châlons en Champagne
  • Berger Levrault
  • Pluria Novilia
  • Centre de Rééducation et de Réadaptation Fonctionnelles Pasteur de Troyes
  • Groupement Hospitalier Aube Marne
  • Centre hospitalier universitaire de Reims
  • Régéma
  • Troyes Habitat
  • Sorbonne Université
  • Télécom Physique Strasbourg