Hélène Pigot

Full professor

Domus laboratory co-founder

Contact information


  • Ph. D. in omputer science, reconnaissance de la parole, Université Paris VI, France (1985)
  • B. Sc. in occupational therapy, Université de Montréal (1988-1991)
  • Equivalent of Master's degree,  Diplôme d'Etudes Approfondies,  Université de Paris VI (P & M Curie) (1982)


  • Cognitive assistance
  • Gerontechnology
  • Intelligent habitat
  • Diffuse computing
  • Human Machine Interface
  • Activity modeling
  • Cognitive modeling
  • Cranial trauma
  • Cognitive disorders


Hélène Pigot co-founded the DOMUS laboratory in 2002 with Sylvain Giroux. Professor Pigot combines her knowledge in computer science and in occupational therapy to design and evaluate cognitive assistance. Participatory design is a way for Prof. Pigot to harvest the wishes and needs of individuals and their caregivers to support them to stay in their home. She is therefore interested in design approaches, including description of persona, design of distributed interfaces, tangible interfaces and interface learning. She previously taught speech recognition at the Université de Sherbrooke and occupational therapy in gerontology at the École de réadaptation of the Université de Montréal. She is an active member of the Research on Aging Centre of the CIUSS-Sherbrooke and the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation of the Greater Montreal.

Research program

The ubiquitous computing in our societies invades large areas of human activity, including the search for information, the organization of daily life, entertainment and communication with friends. But elderly people and people with cognitive disorders due to illness or trauma do not benefit as much as they can from the use of new technologies to make it easier to stay at home and stay in touch with their loved ones.

The purpose of my research is to identify the guidelines that applications must meet in order to be accepted and used by people with specific needs. In previous research, I designed assistance technologies using participatory design and a multidisciplinary approach. These technologies include technologies that facilitate the organization of schedules and technologies accompanying complex activities, whether on mobile devices or integrated into a smart apartment.

Research questions are at various levels of design

  • how is the acceptability of assistive technologies built and evaluated throughout the participatory design?
  • how is the interaction with assistive technologies anchored in a familiar environment with modalities providing pleasure and emotion?
  • how to introduce assistive technologies so that people with cognitive impairments easily take ownership of it?
  • how do technologies offer assistance to people with cognitive impairments and facilitate support from those around them?

The analysis frameworks of my research are thus user-centered design, participative design, instrumental approach, diffuse computing and tangible interfaces. My current research focuses on the design of pleasant and emotional interaction through a virtual agent, multi-layer interfaces to facilitate learning and integration of assistive technologies in intelligent habitat to make more effective reminders of activities.


My research focuses on cognitive assistance in intelligent housing to support home support. I rely on the domains of human machine interfaces and diffuse computing. My research is interdisciplinary and emphasizes participatory design to ensure a meaningful and enjoyable cognitive assistance for people and their caregivers.

  • Pigot, H. & Giroux, S. (2015). Living Lab for Designing Assistive technologies. 17th International Conference on E-Health Networking, Applications & Services (HealthCom).  Boston, MA, 2015, pp. 170-176. DOI: 10.1109/HealthCom.2015.7454493

This article presents the laboratory DOMUS co directed and created by Sylvain Giroux and myself since 2002. It traces the numerous past and current research that have been carried out in a spirit of Living Lab and gives a report on the various approaches put in place.

  • Pierre-Yves Groussard, Hélène Pigot & Sylvain Giroux (2018) From conception to evaluation of mobile services for people with head injury: A participatory design perspective, Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 28:5, 667-688, DOI: 10.1080/09602011.2015.1117499

This article presents a co-design research in which people with head trauma and their caregivers participated in design groups of an application offering calendar and budget management. An evaluation at home showed the benefits of this application.

  •  Hélène Imbeault, Lise Gagnon, Hélène Pigot, Sylvain Giroux, Nicolas Marcotte, Perrine Cribier-Delande, Julie Duval, Christian Bocti, Guy Lacombe, Tamás Fülöp & Nathalie Bier (2018) Impact of AP@LZ in the daily life of three persons with Alzheimer’s disease: long-term use and further exploration of its effectiveness, Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 28:5, 755-778. DOI: 10.1080/09602011.2016.1172491

This article presents a research on the effects of a timetable application specifically designed for people with Alzheimer's. It follows a research in co-design with computer scientists and a neuropsychologist and shows the need to associate an appropriate method of learning to people with Alzheimer's to integrate in their daily life this alternative to the maintenance at home.

  • Chikhaoui B., Wang, S. Pigot, H., (2012) ADR-SPDLA : Activity discovery and recognition by combining sequential patterns and latent Dirichlet allocation. Pervasive and Mobile Computing. 8(6). p 845-862. DOI:10.1016/j.pmcj.2012.08.004

This paper presents a method for recognizing activities with unsupervised learning that takes into account the temporal characteristics of an activity.

  • Loued W. B., H. Pigot (2016) Emotional Virtual Agent to Improve Aging in Place with Technology. DH'16. In Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Digital Health Conference (DH '16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 169-170. DOI: 10.1145/2896338.289638

This article presents the methodology for the integration of a useful, emotional virtual agent in the Amelis interactive calendar conceived in co-conception with 35 elderly Quebecers and French people. The emotional model is based on the Big Five theory of personality and is inspired by the SIMPLEX model.

  • Gobeil J., Pigot H., Laliberté C., Dépelteau A., Laverdière O., David-Grégoire M.A., Laprise N, BeauchampI. Adelise Y., Couture M, Bier N.  (2019) Facilitating day-to-day life management of older people with Alzheimer’s disease: A revelatory single-case study on the acceptability of the AMELIS interactive calendar.  Gerontechnology Journal vol. 18(4)

This article discusses how multilayer interfaces make learning a calendar easier for someone with neurodegenerative disease. By adding features as the previous features are acquired, the person selects the information better and lives more success.

For other publications, please consult Professor Pigot's page in the UdeS Specialist Directory.