ACANTO

ACANTO (www.ict-acanto.eu) is a Horizon 2020 project designed to improve people’s social and physical wellbeing and focuses on the 60+, post-retirement demographic. The ACANTO system has four major components that are under development:

• The FriWalk is a robotic guide situated in centres of interests (e.g. shopping centres and museums) which people can use during their visit. It can provide physical support, navigation instructions, and even virtual tours. This device also has a clinical version, used in hospitals and rehabilitation centres to assess patients, recommend exercises, and monitor progress over time. The nexus of these devices provides a system of support for patients who have left rehabilitation and need support to be more physically and socially involved.

• A social network links users together based on similar interests (e.g. local history, art, and theatre) and recommends activities for them to do together. These recommendations are customised, may involve people users do not previously know, and aim to encourage social and physical involvement.

• A recommender system that gathers data from the user both explicitly (via the social network) and implicitly (based on geographical habits and interaction with the devices) to suggest activities for them to do with other people.

• The FriTab is a device/app that allows the user to control the FriWalk and access the social network.

Author: James Nicholson

James is a Lecturer in the School of Computer and Information Sciences. James is interested in many aspects of cybersecurity and privacy, including usable security, social engineering, lay users’ understanding of cybersecurity, multifactor authentication, everyday surveillance, and inclusive cybersecurity. Previously, James was a senior researcher in PaCT Lab working on the Cybersecurity Across the Lifespan (cSALSA) project. The project explores how cyber-security is understood, and the attitudes and behaviours of people to cyber-security and risk. During his time in PaCT Lab, James also worked on Choice Architecture for Information Security (ChAISe), Digital Economy Research Centre (DERC), and the Horizon 2020 project CYBECO. Prior to PaCT Lab, James worked at Open Lab, Newcastle University on the TEDDI and SiDE projects. James’ work has focused on improving user authentication, both by repurposing existing graphical authentication systems and by evaluating novel ones. He is also interested in user privacy and how groups of users (children, parents, older adults) experience location tracking technologies, as well as how CCTV video can be crowdsourced to de-centralise the surveillance landscape. More recently, he has developed tools and methodologies for uncovering and understanding employees’ mental models of security threats with the aim of improving training programmes and/or organisational policies, as well as practical means for improving users’ protection against these security threats (e.g. phishing). James obtained his BSc (Information Systems) from Newcastle University in 2008, and his MRes Psychology from Northumbria University in 2009. James’ PhD work – completed in 2012 – explored user authentication in the context of older adults under the supervision of Professor Lynne Coventry and Professor Pam Briggs.