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After four years of owning his own business, Jens Lundström chose to go back to school. As a researcher he now combines his passion for innovation and progress, making the Intelligent Home even smarter.
After earning his Master’s degree in 2005, Jens Lundström went into business on his own. After four years as a self-employed software developer, he went back to Halmstad University for a postgraduate degree in Information Technology. Today he is an Assistant Professor, and even though he now focuses on research and teaching, he uses his understanding of the corporate world to combine the researcher’s view of sustainability and long-term development with a focus on the application of innovations and the use of products for the good of society.
– Going from having my own company to being a researcher here at Halmstad University was not such a big step. The way you work here is based on collaboration, understanding of commercial interests and companies’ need for growth. It’s about listening, seeing possibilities and linking research to development, says Jens Lundström.
Like his colleagues, he is always looking for funding to realise new ideas and explore new areas of research. But his main focus at present is SA3L, “Situation Awareness for Ambient Assisted Living”. The project is about the Intelligent Home, how to monitor and model people’s behaviour in their home environment. This research can be applied in domestic help services and geriatric care, so that the day something happens and the system alerts, you can act immediately, giving assistance, preventing suffering and using public resources where they are most needed.
– We are developing methods to detect changes in be-haviour through simple sensors and self-learning systems that can alert attention when something is out of the ordinary. With today’s home care alarms, you have an alarm with you to activate if something happens. But when it does, you might be unable to call for help. With this solution, the system will alert for you, says Jens Lundström.
For this innovation to work, you need to collect data over time. In order to have an intelligent system that can detect individual changes in behaviour, the system has to get to know you. This is the strong point of the concept, but also the greatest challenge.
– Integrity for the client is an important question. Jens Lundström is collaborating with the company Neat Electronics in Löddeköpinge for the project SA3L, and studies have been done in homes of elderly people who have agreed to allowing sensors in their home, and to discuss their thoughts about the technical supervision and security with the researcher.
– What I love about the work is the wide range of tasks. One day I’m lying underneath a bed attaching a sensor, having coffee and talking to a participant in the study about their lives and feeling of security at home. The next day I can be deep into analysing data, drawing new conclusions in a project that I will discuss with colleagues at a conference on the third day. I get to do everything.
Halmstad Intelligent Home (HINT) is a flat located at the University. Last autumn, a guest lecturer stayed there for three weeks, allowing colleagues to collect data from his everyday life. They have signed a confidentiality agreement that this data cannot be used in research, but there is much to learn from examining the sensors and algorithms at work. The technique of using sensors and algorithms for behaviour modelling in geriatric care is not unique; others are exploring it and Jens Lundström thinks there will be a product in use within a few years. But he’s aiming higher. He wants to go one step further and create a truly dynamic system that won’t collapse if somebody moves a bookcase or if a change in medication gives an altered behavioural pattern. The results of his research will help the collaborating company in taking its products forward. His goal is to find a dynamic, reliable and smart system that can make people feel and be secure in their home, regardless of age or health situation.
– We already have a static system without individual adaptivity, though the users are unique, complex and dynamic. I don’t want to create the same kind of static system in a new form.
The vision of Halmstad University is to be an arena for creating value, driving innovation and developing society. Can you apply that vision to your work?
– That basically describes what I am trying to do in my research and in my projects. I think the amount of collaborations that happen here and the clear focus on synergies, from research to development and application, is something quite unique, says Jens Lundström, whose personal driving force is to keep learning new things.
– You are never fully taught. Saying that as a researcher would be biting your own tail. The world is full of unanswered questions.
Text: LOTTA ANDERSSON