Category: Usability research

Virtual reality for seniors

COGNISTIM is a new project under development at Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS.

COGNISTIM is a mobile application combined with special glasses and it enables seniors to experience virtual reality through stimulation games. These games were designed to stimulate both physical and cognitive systems of older adults. We have a Master’s student from the University of Coimbra doing his master´s thesis within this project. The student developed the app and now he is testing it with COLABORAR volunteers.

We brought the equipment to a day-care centre and it was amazing to provide older adults with a totally new experience. These tests were great! We hope to introduce more seniors to virtual reality soon!

Validation studies with users of medical devices hilighted in the meeting of MDevNet

The topic of validation studies of technology-based medical devices with users was hilighted in a meeting with the members of MDevNet.

MDevNet is an initiative led by Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS that gathers many R&D institutions, industry, academia, public entities and end-user representatives. What brings the partners in the network together is their active involvement in the process of valuing technology transfer of technology-based medical devices.

The meeting was organized around three themes:

  • clarification of legal issues associated with medical devices;
  • obstacles and promotion of mechanisms for interaction between national entities involved in the process of co-development and validation of medical devices and
  • effectiveness of technology transfer processes.

One of the topics was related to validation studies of medical devices with users and all the certification process.

In general, the conclusion of the meeting was that more information about regulations, processes and formalities is needed.

The new Academic Code of Academic Conduct of the University of Porto

COLABORAR attended the “Ethics Committee of the University of Porto Day” on April 11 at Salão Nobre of Oporto University Rectorate building.

The new Academic Code of Ethical Conduct of the University of Porto was offically presented in this event. It is of our interest to fully comply with the highest ethical standards and regulations regarding ethical issues in research. Our aim is to maintain excellence and integrity in conducting research, respecting the rights and dignity of others.

In this event we got to know the general principles to which we intend to adhere when conducting research activities. We were presented with a paper copy of the ethics code, which will be made available in digital format as well.

FallSensing: fall risk assessment and exercises for fall prevention

We have more news about FallSensing. This project that aims to develop tools for fall risk assessment, falls monitoring and prevention had many advances through the past months.

Researchers and designers together created new games and couldn’t wait to test them! With the help of the volunteers in the user network COLABORAR, for sure. Therefore, we went to a living centre in Porto and organized some research activities. We started with the recruitment of participants, and then we applied tests and questionnaires to assess the fall risk of each user. Then, we scheduled tests with users at the centre. Both fall risk assessment and exercises for prevention were accompanied by a physiterapist. Researchers took notes of some details related to usability issues while seniors were playing the games. Researchers were also paying attention to questions related to comfort of body sensors that older adults were using to capture movements during the game, enabling the evaluation of their performance.

The feedback from users was great, as they said they enjoyed playing in group with their friends. The laughts also indicate that they had a good time playing the FallSensing games. The team could not be as happy with the success of FallSensing!

Project DeMind: beginning of the pilot with older adults

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We are glad that the pilot for the project DeMind has just  begun! The pilot is taking place in Lisbon, at Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa (SCML), a partner of COLABORAR.

This pilot aims to promote technology-based activities for seniors attending 6 day-care centres from SCML and is called “Tec-Conhecimento”. CogniPlay, the Fraunhofer AICOS‘ application for tablets of cognitive games, is available for the participants on this project. ISCTE – Instituto Universitário de Lisboa is also a project’s partner. The consortium comprised by these 3 institutions aims to study the integration of activities supported by technology, particularly tablets, on the daily habits of older adults at day-care centers and seniors’ acceptance. At the same time, usability aspects of the interfaces are also being studied.

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The project began with a presentation of CogniPlay to the technical staff of the centers. This project lasts until July and we are looking forward for its results.

Note: Thank you SCML for the images.

Usability assessment of SmartBEAT: tests with users

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Fraunhofer AICOS’ SmartBEAT was tested by a group of users from our user network COLABORAR.

The user-friendly interfaces were used by seniors and pre-seniors at the Living Lab. Researchers conducted observation evaluations of participants. The tasks included performing measures of vital signs, responding to questionnaires and managing timely reminders of medication.

This study was very important, as researchers could understand if there are any issue to improve in what concerns to usability and user experience.

You can get more information about SmartBEAT here:

http://www.smartbeatproject.org/;

http://www.fraunhofer.pt/en/fraunhofer_aicos/projects/government_contractresearch/smartbeat.html.

Deus ex Machina: research methods

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Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS started working in a new and big project: Deus ex Machina. One of the work packages within this project is called “Mind and behaviour” and will focus on Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).

This is an opportunity for researchers to study research methods and fundamental principles of Human-Computer Interaction related to attention, perception, memory, iconography, language and multitasking. These themes can support the developments under other projects with prototypes and user interfaces of technological solutions.

Researchers will also focus on ethics on research, since at Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS the user is in the centre of the research and development.

We will be back to you with more news on this project soon!