Events10

New FallSensing game tested with older adults

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On July 11th Fraunhofer AICOS hosted a group of older adults from a day-care center from Abiúl, near Pombal, in the center region of Portugal. Researchers from the FallSensing project were holding some tests for the new physical exercise game and COLABORAR invited Fundação Dr. José Lourenço Júnior to try out the game.

The activities at Fraunhofer included a visit to our facilities. They saw our work areas, with many computers.  Then they went to the Software Lab, the laboratory in which we usually perform tests with users. The view from the office delighted our guests, since we have open spaces with large windows and we can see some universities and research centers, as well as one of the biggest Portuguese hospitals.

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The new FallSensing game is an easy, fun, physical game for fall prevention and is suited to be played by groups of three. The exercises required to play the game are based on a certified fall prevention program. The seniors from the day-care center were divided into groups to play the game. We can tell, by the laughs, that our guests enjoyed the game very much. This is a fun activity for the elderly! Furthermore, researchers tested the platform that aims to implement fall prevention programs in individuals aged 50 or older. The well known Fraunhofer‘s cognitive games for tablets named “Cogniplay” were available for seniors, over tea, juice and some biscuits.

We are happy to be able to receive at Fraunhofer AICOS real end users giving important inputs to the study. And we are glad to provide older adults from Abiúl a different and happy day.

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COLABORAR celebrates its 5th anniversary

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Time flies! Five years ago, when we started the project COLABORAR, we were far from imagining how the project would grow up, evolve and transform itself.

Project activities started in the Fall of 2011, with institutions being contacted to be part of an innovative project that aimed to create a user network comprised of seniors to take part in research studies with technology. Many would think that seniors and technology seemed not to combine. At the time, smartphones and tablets were not as popular as they are nowadays. However, and happily, many institutions accepted the challenge and were enthusiastic with the idea of seeing older adults interacting with technology.

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It has been a very good experience for both researchers and older adults. We watch them becoming more experienced with touch screen devices, taking part in conversations about technology and using new technologies to communicate with distant relatives. They participate in our research studies because they think they are an important part on the process of building good solutions for future’s older adults. The insights we gather from all of them are important for researchers and enriches our studies.

 

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We celebrated the projects’ anniversary with an event at Fraunhofer AICOS’ facilities. It is called Open Lab Day, in which we receive the stuff and attendees from Day Care/Living Centres to have some tea, cake and play games with us. This year was no exception and we invited two Day Care/Living Centres. The preparations started with the decorations of our Software Laboratory, the space we use for showcasing projects. Each year we make different decorations. We set up some tablets on the table and we played CognipPlay, the Fraunhofer AICOS’ platform of cognitive games designed to stimulate seniors’ memory. Then, we showed our guests how to take photographs and selfies with tablets. We could see how much they enjoyed taking selfies!

We are happy that we could provide a special day with lots of fun to our senior volunteers!

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COLABORAR at the Festival LisBoa IDADE: International Day of Older Persons celebrations

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COLABORAR participated in the celebrations of the International Day of Older Persons in Lisbon, the national capital of Portugal. The Municipality of Lisbon organized a big event that took place at Jardim da Estrela, from September 30th to October 3rd, called “Festival LisBoa IDADE – a city with rights for all ages“.

There were 4 days of activities for seniors: healthy food market, live show cooking, gymnastics, cardiovascular screenings, presentations, workshops of security at home, herbs and senior volunteering, to name a few. Jardim da Estrela welcomed entire families with activities such as peddy papers, performing arts, walkings, workshops of tricot, introduction to cycling and ateliers of painting.

Fraunhofer AICOS shared the stand with Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa and did demonstrations of projects related to fall prevention, games for cognitive training, chronic diseases management, namely heart disease, and detection of health risks, particularly Melanoma. We showcased Fraunhofer‘s projects FCC Fall Risk Assessment, ExerGames, CogniPlay, SmartBEAT and Melanoma Detection. We received great feedback from the visitors, who expressed their enthusiasm in seeing the things we can do with smartphones to prevent diseases. Once again, Fraunhofer AICOS‘ Exergames were a huge success amongst children and seniors!

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Fraunhofer AICOS‘ director Pedro Almeida made a presentation about our research centre, the main areas of Research and Development (R&D) and introduced as well the projects we were showcasing. Maximiliano Romero, senior researcher at Fraunhofer AICOS, participated in the “Speed talks“, a space of debate, with the theme “Research methodologies in projects of technological innovation”, which was very useful for disseminate our work with older adults in the scope of R&D projects. He explained some basic principles for including seniors in research studies on technology.

We feel honored to had the opportunity of participating in the first edition of the Festival LisBoa IDADE and be part of this initiative that gave the public of all ages many moments for having fun and showed several ways for seniors keep active and healthy for many years.

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ExerGames and Active@Home at Older Adults’ Day in Pombal

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Fraunhofer AICOS’ scientist António Santos traveled to Abiúl, a Portuguese village near Pombal, to present the projects ExerGames and Active@Home in the Seminar Envelhecimento + Activo e Saudável (+ Active and Healthy Ageing).

The event was organized by Fundação Dr. José Lourenço Júnior, a nursing home and day-care centre, in partnership with the Municipalities of Pombal and Abiúl. The seminar take place on the 3rd of October, inside the celebrations of the International Day of Older Persons.

Presentations were organized into 3 panels with the following themes: Physical Activity and Nutrition, Challenges for a Healthy Ageing and “I am a Senior…So what?”. Guest speakers addressed many issues related to ageing and talked about the challenges for all of us as a society regarding Ageing.  Additionally, they gave some practical examples of healthy habits and activities to stay active and healthy in the Older Age.

ExerGames and Active@Home received many positive comments from the audience that congratulated us for the innovative concept of joining interactive games and exercising for seniors!

Note: We thank Fundação Dr. José Lourenço Júnior for the images.

The video of the Workshop of Master Students 2016

You can watch below the Fraunhofer’s video of the Workshop of Master Students 2016, in which are displayed the best moments of this event. The workshop was organized so that master students could present their work. In this video, you can also discover what last year’s master students have to say about the experience of developing their theses at Fraunhofer AICOS.

Workshop MSc Students 2016

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Following tradition, students presented their theses developed at Fraunhofer Portugal.

Each year, Fraunhofer AICOS receives final year students – mostly from Engineering programmes – and offers them the opportunity of being integrated in a research team. Thus, they are allowed to develop their work, within a theme of their choice, with the guidance of experienced scientists. Moreover, considering that Fraunhofer AICOS makes research with practical utility with close relationship to industry, chances are that their work will contribute for improvements on the quality of life of many people, especially older adults, disabled people and caregivers (formal and informal).

The themes of the theses were diverse, focusing on: Fall and Activity Monitoring, Chronic Diseases and Well-being Management, Assistive Environments and Information and Communication Technologies for Development.

We congratulate them all for the good work they did!

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COLABORAR workshop: gathering with institutions in the network

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The partner institutions of COLABORAR from Porto gathered at Fraunhofer AICOS to discuss a range of issues related to older adults and the partnership we have.

Held at our Software Lab, the meeting was meant to be an opportunity to show our facilities and gather with the staff and directors of the different institutions: day-care/living centres, services of home care and municipalities. We were joined by different professionals who work with older adults: social educators, social workers, sociocultural animators, sociologists and a nurse.

Despite spending much time at the centres, we had never had the chance of bringing professionals together at Fraunhofer. We also never had the chance before of listening to their perceptions on our work with seniors, as well on the positive and negative aspects of the partnership.

Some statistical data extracted from the COLABORAR questionnaires were presented. We also presented some of Fraunhofer’s projects already finished. We told our guests that they can always come to us to explain the needs they identify in the field, because they know seniors, their conditions and even the main problems they face. This meeting was also an opportunity for professionals to get to know each other and exchange contacts.

And finally, on the agenda were photos of the event and a video!

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Thesis presented at an international conference

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Last year we let you know about the Master Thesis KneeGraphy – Classification of knee arthropathy with accelerometer-based vibroarthrography.  Now, we are delighted to share with you that Dinis Moreira, the student who developed this thesis, presented his work in a prestigious international conference.

The topic was presented at pHealth2016, the “13th International Conference on Wearable, Micro & Nano Technologies for Personalized Health”, in Greece, from the 29th to the 31st of May. The accelerometer-based system for knee data acquisition and data feature extraction enables the detection and assessment of knee Osteoarthritis, which is a condition that affects many seniors. The differentiation between a pathological and a non-pathological knee is made using some sensors, which is an innovation in the diagnosis of Osteoarthritis, as it is a non-invasive method.

The system was tested by some senior volunteers who are part of the user network COLABORAR. The project continued under development at Fraunhofer AICOS and then several patients of a hospital in Porto were assessed with the system. The results from the validation tests show good efficiency in the differentiation of knees with Osteoarthritis and non-affected knees. We cannot but share the wonderful news, as we believe the people who collaborate in the tests will be happy to hear about the success of the project. We thank you again for your help!

Well done Dinis and congratulations!

Photo: Fraunhofer Portugal.

Participation at Feira da Família – Gaia + Saudável

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This past weekend, Fraunhofer AICOS participated on “Feira da Família – Gaia + Saudável”. We were invited by CliniCuidados, a partner institution of COLABORAR, to display the ExerGames.  The event was organized by CCSaúde, having Câmara Muncipal de Gaia as the main sponsor, and took place at Centro Cívico de Gaia, in Vila Nova de Gaia.

Fraunhofer showcased the ExerGames, the serious games for fall prevention. The visitants of the fair had the opportunity of trying out the games and achieve awareness of how one can, in the comfort of their own home, work to reduce the risk of fall by exercising with the guidance of these interactive games. COLABORAR was also present and senior visitants were invited to join the user network.

This was an event for the entire family. Adults could make some health screening tests; seniors, on the other hand, got some advice related to the promotion of healthy habits and technical aids. For the kids, the fair was animated by spider men, giant mattresses, popcorn and candies. And the performance of Rancho Folclórico was a moment of happiness for everyone!

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Fraunhofer Portugal supported Hack for Good, a programming marathon

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Fraunhofer Portugal is amongst the organizations that supported the Hackathon named Hack for Good, organized by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. This Hackathon aimed at fostering the development of innovative technological solutions and in this 1st edition the theme was “Ageing and active living”. The initiative had the purpose of generating solutions to address ageing-related challenges.

Fraunhofer Portugal helped to define the main topics for the event: Communication and Social Relations, Cognitive Stimulation, Knowledge Transfer and Shared Economy, Health and Welfare, Formal and Informal Caregivers, Nutrition, Mobility and Personal Finances. Furthermore, Fraunhofer Portugal produced instructions to support groups in designing inclusive solutions which take into account older people as users.

Ana Correia de Barros, from Fraunhofer Portugal, participated as a mentor and as a member of the pre-jury team during the two-day event, taking place on April 23 and 24, in Lisbon. At Fraunhofer Portugal we work in projects related to these topics and we already have a large experience in developing products and services for seniors. Therefore, Ana, as a mentor, helped participants to  understand the challenges related to ageing. As a pre-jury member, Ana helped to select the 10 finalist ideas, which were presented to the final jury.

From a total of circa 400 registrations, 157 participants were distributed into 36 small teams. Participants had different backgrounds, such as engineering, health and social professionals, design and management. This interdisciplinary nature is a plus and it was an excellent opportunity to get specialists in technology and ageing to work together. Additionally, seniors were present as well, giving important feedback about the idea.

There were also entertainment activities, workshops and networking moments for participants. In the end of the event, the 10 finalists pitched their ideas to the jury and three winners came out. These three awarded ideas were solutions to: support informal caregivers (1st prize), encourage self-monitoring of health and social interaction through gamification (2nd prize), and support to self-mannagement of medication (3rd prize).

At the closing sessions, we were delighted with two great announcements: all 36 teams will be invited to pitch their ideas and receive mentoring, and this Hack for Good is only the first of many to come! After such a successful first edition, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation wants to repeat the initiative.

What an excellent weekend! COLABORAR is glad that Fraunhofer Portugal was a partner of this development marathon to put technology at the service of seniors.

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