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12.07.2021 09:36

Research group at Hof University develops technologies for the care and social economy

Rainer Krauß Hochschulkommunikation
Hochschule Hof - University of Applied Sciences

    Hof, 09.07.2021 - Together with a total of eight other partners, Hof University of Applied Sciences wants to launch one of Germany's seven future centers for artificial intelligence. The research group "Innovative Healthcare" at the Institute for Information Systems (iisys), which was newly founded for this purpose, will begin its work with the project Regional Future Center AI " –healthy work" (pulsnetz AI), which aims to develop AI-based technologies for the care and social economy and establish them there. A service truck is to make the innovations tangible on site in care facilities, kindergartens as well as residential facilities for people with disabilities.

    Shortage of skilled workers, high fluctuation as well as high physical and psychological stress of the employees with simultaneous increase of the number of people in need of care and assistance as well as more and more complex illness and restriction scenarios: This is the most frequently heard description of the current situation in the social and care economy when talking to those who work there. The Corona crisis at the latest also made clear that only healthy employees can care for, nurture and support people in need of help. Healthy working conditions are therefore of existential importance for employees in the social and care sector. This is precisely where the pulsnetz KI project comes in. It is intended to directly address caregivers and employees in the education and social sector.

    Exploiting the potential of AI-based Technology

    "We want to develop the competence for employees and managers in small and medium-sized companies in the industry to recognize and use useful digital or AI-based technologies for their own work and also to develop them creatively. This relieves them of work themselves, saves them time and strengthens their work organization. In our consortium, we are working on this with partners from Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia and Berlin," says Prof. Dr. Dietmar Wolff, head of the new research group, explaining the goal of the project.

    pulsnet AI as a virtual learning platform

    In a first step, the existing platform will be expanded into a knowledge and learning platform. A digital health assistant based on artificial intelligence will advise and guide employees, specialists and managers on healthy working. Various learning forums on different topics on the website will also offer the opportunity to build Germany-wide and cross-industry communities. In addition, virtual rooms will open up opportunities for digital learning. "We want to make technology tangible and present artificial intelligence in a more transparent way," says Sophia Giegold, a research associate in the research group. The virtual spaces and digital networking offered also show advantages when it comes to attending seminars or trade fairs.

    Service truck wants to visit facilities

    However, the digital world cannot replace experiencing and being experienced, the researchers also concede. pulsnetz KI therefore wants to be directly on site at care and social facilities with three mobile service points (trucks). "In this way, we enable uncomplicated on-site testing of the new technologies and break down access barriers," says Désirée Neeb, also a research associate in the research group. Some examples of the technologies on display: heavy loads suddenly feel child's play when lifted with an "exoskeleton," and a simulation takes employees to relax in nature in seconds - including the scents of flowers and forests. Robots can also be tried out, as can new software systems. The trucks function as a trial workshop where a wide variety of digital applications can be tested. In addition, they serve as a point of contact and advice for all questions relating to digitization.

    Individual consulting events and AI Garage

    To sustainably relieve and strengthen the social economy, pulsnetz KI will also offer on-site consulting events: Through a survey conducted in advance, the consultations will be individually adapted to the topics and digitization status of the respective institution.
    "In addition, our AI experts in the consortium are working on new ways of working, cooperating and learning. This will involve, for example, AI solutions for checking and designing duty rosters or evaluations of AI-based recruiting software. Depending on individual needs, AI entry and application consultations are also available here. Here, we rely on the cooperation of both software providers and social institutions," says research group leader Prof. Dr. Wolff.

    Nationwide consortium

    The pulsnetz KI project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and the European Social Fund as part of the "Future Centers KI" funding program. The Future Center, which is being established as part of the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS) funding program "Future Centers (AI) - Supporting Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Employees in Model and Participatory Testing of New Technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, for Operational Practice," aims to relieve and strengthen employees in the social economy through digital and AI-supported applications.

    Working toward this goal:
    - AOK Baden-Wuerttemberg
    - Employer's Liability Insurance Association for Health Services and Welfare Care
    - CAS Software AG (Karlsruhe)
    - Contec GmbH (Bochum/Berlin)
    - Diakonisches Werk Baden-Württemberg
    - FINSOZ e.V. Professional Association for Information Technologies in Social Economy and Social Administration (Berlin)
    - FernUniversität in Hagen - Department of Educational Theory and Media Pedagogy
    - Hof University of Applied Sciences, Institute for Information Systems (iisys)
    - IAT - Institute for Work Science and Technology Management (Stuttgart)
    - Association for Digitalization in the Social Economy (vediso e.V.), Stuttgart

    More Information

    To enable small and medium-sized enterprises and their employees to find local support in the digital transformation, the German Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS) is using federal funds to support future centers in western Germany and Berlin. Interested organizations were able to apply for sponsorship of a "Regional Future Center" and/or the higher-level "AI Knowledge and Training Center" by September 30, 2020. Together with the responsible state ministries, the BMAS decided which sponsors or sponsor associations were invited to apply. The German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence GmbH was selected for the superordinate "AI Knowledge and Training Center". The "Future Centers" started their work at the end of the first quarter and in some cases at the beginning of the second quarter of 2021.

    Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

    Prof. Dr. Dietmar Wolff

    Interdisziplinäre und Innovative Wissenschaften
    Innovative Gesundheitsversorgung

    Hochschule Hof
    Alfons-Goppel-Platz 1
    95028 Hof

    Fon: +49 (0) 9281 / 409 4630

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