Using the modular controller architecture (mca) in ambient assisted living
The concept of ambient intelligence requires software architectures enabling machine intelligence in unstructured dynamic environments. Research in mobile robotics tries to address this field since many years and has successfully created several architectural concepts for behavior-based reactive systems. We describe the architectural and communication-oriented capabilities of the modular controller architecture (MCA) and how ambient intelligence systems may benefit from these. Especially the shared memory approach of MCA offers a great possibility to facilitate distributed dynamic applications. MCA has been developed for mobile robotics research, initially at the FZI in Karlsruhe (K.U. Scholl et al., 2001) and is under continuous development. MCA addresses primitive and object-related communication, re-usability, component-based development, hardware access and application distribution. We want to take a closer look on the MCA framework and how it is already in use within an assisted living environment, established during several projects at Fraunhofer IESE (J. Nehmer et al., 2006) (M. Becker et al., 2007). Several sensors and a mobile service unit were provided by the Robotics Research Lab and the MCA framework was used for service interconnection. An intelligent refrigerator, two human localisation technologies and the mobile service robot ARTOS have MCA running as described in section 3. We present our experiences with the modular controller architecture regarding the parameters identified by the ubiquitous community (M. Weiser, 1991). The outline of this paper is as follows: first the architectural approaches in other projects are mentioned. The modular controller architecture is described in detail, with focus on the requirements of ambient intelligence. We continue by describing our assisted living demonstrator and the services and applications relevant to this work. With reference to our example implementation we conclude the features of MCA that comply to the requirements. Furthermore it is described which future work shall lead to addons and concepts to overcome certain weaknesses in the current system architecture.