It’s time for field studies

Researchers at Fraunhofer AICOS are working in a new application to be integrated in the SmartCompanion system.

We have in our team a student from the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto. She is carrying out field work, namely interviews with older adults within her work of user research. The student will be using the insights to build a smartphone application and she is applying human-computer interaction principles in her work, specifically for the elders, since the user interfaces of this app should be simple and easy to read to the user.

We expect to test the prototype with volunteers in the network very soon!

DctivPR web application for visualization of user’s physical activity information tested


Smart Companion, the android customization for smartphones targeting older adults, enables the collection of data related to physical activity. In order to provide an easy and effective way to analyze the data collected, a web application was developed.

Then, tests with possible end-users was carried out so to verify that the user easily catches relevant information from the application. Participants answered to a questionnaire about the habits of the predefined Smart Companion users.

This work was carried out in the scope of the master thesis entitled “DActivPR – Daily Activity Pattern Recognition Tool“.

Master thesis presentation in the area of Social Education


In the scope of DEMind, Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS supported a Master’s thesis from the Master Course in Community Intervention – Area of Specialization: Active Ageing, of Escola Superior de Educação de Paula Frassinetti, entitled “Active aging: the support of information and communication technologies and social support networks”. Among Fraunhofer‘s projects, the Exergames was selected, since it is a platform of physical exercise games for older adults, enabling them to stay active, preventing their risk of fall.

Troughout COLABORAR, the ExerGames platform was integrated in the weekly plan of a day-care centre in Porto. Participant observations of the activities enabled the student to collect information regarding the implementation of a new activity for seniors with Information and Communication Solutions. Then, the acceptance of the technology was assessed, as well as its usability and user satisfaction.

Finally, the student presented her work within her Master’s thesis for Fraunhofer‘s researchers. Her study is very interesting because it shows the perspective of the Social Education about the ExerGames in activities for older adults.

Older adults experiences with ExerGames: case study for two theses


We have received excellent feedback from users regarding ExerGames. These games are being available for users from a day-care centre in Porto, partner institutional in the scope of COLABORAR. Activities with the application were included in the weekly activities planning of the centre.

A doctoral degree student and a master degree student have been accompanying the process of introducing a new activity for seniors based on Information and Communication Solutions. Non-participant observations were carried out troughout several weeks, as well as questionnaires for initial and final assessment. The information collected will enable the doctoral student to develop a dissertation about the aspects involved in customer experiences of Ambient Assisted Living Technologies and the master student the role of Information and Communication Solutions in active ageing.

Thank you to participants who took this challenge from COLABORAR!

Master theses’ presentation 2017


The master students who  choose to develop their theses at Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS this year, have just presented their work.

Fraunhofer organized a workshop in which each student made a presentation about the work carried out within the theme of the master thesis. Then, students discussed the work with researchers. Later, Fraunhofer welcomed students in a demonstration session. The prototypes are ready and students proudly showed the solutions they developed during the semestre, along with a flyer for each project.

COLABORAR congratulates all students and is happy to see them succeed in constructing solutions for a better future.

Playing Exergames: the perspective from the users


These past weeks we went to the centre in order to collect information about the use of the ExerGames. Participants in the tests answered to questionnaires about their experience with the games, their opinions and preferences.

Along with the observations carried out, these information is very valuable from the point of view of a researcher, as it will enable us to understand the aspects older adults like the most about ExerGames: the user interface, doing exercise, a good hobby, amongst others. Researchers want to know if users think the system is easy to use and if they are aware of the benefits of doing exercise for fall prevention.

A master thesis is being developed to study these aspects and evaluate the impact of information and communication technologies on older adults´well-being, contributing, therefore, to seniors’ autonomy.


Interactive games are being used by older adults at a day care center


Older adults of a day care center in Porto are using Fraunhofer AICOS’ interactive games for physical exercise.

The software is available for seniors at Centro Social de Soutelo so that they can try out the games and have fun doing exercises specifically developed for their age and needs regarding physical exercises. These exercises promote  muscular strength, balance, mobility and flexibility in a playful way. Besides these benefits, seniors are getting to know the application of new technologies in real life; in this case, they can see their movements being tracked by the sensors in the smartphone and the indication of their performance in the game. Therefore, they can gain the sense of being integrated in nowadays digital society. At the same time, attention is required to play the game, which is positive for older adults.

With the aim of understanding the role of technology on the active aging and well being of older adults, through the promotion of autonomy and security, a study is being carried out. Volunteers are participating in the study and giving important insights on their perceptions and opinions regarding their experience of using ExerGames. Simultaneously, we are studying de factors that contribute to the motivation of seniors  to participate in activities with interactive games.

These studies are very useful to researchers and we like seeing older adults have fun while playing the ExerGames.



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


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!


Thesis presented at an international conference


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.