Following the initial tests of the Active@Home project, we gave a demonstration to a Portuguese news agency and once again we counted on the COLABORAR volunteers.
In this way, the Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS made known this technological project consisting of traditional dance exercises and Tai-Chi, which works on TV, along with some sensors, and therefore allows the elderly to perform strength and balance training at home. António Santos, the researcher responsible for the project, highlights the “playful and entertaining component” of these training program.
COLABORAR was highlighted as well, as journalists wanted to know about this network of about 1000 volunteers, who help to test and validate Fraunhofer’s applications. One of the volunteers who participated in the demonstration session, Mr. Jorge Mendonça, was interviewed and spoke about his experience, saying that he likes to participate because he gets to know important applications, especially in the area of health, and that this project of technology for home gymnastics can be very helpful for seniors.
The news piece appeared in many Portuguese newspapers and we are very proud. You can see them here (Portuguese only):
COLABORAR organized a session of tests for the project Active@Home.
Within this project, television games for physical exercise and fall prevention are being designed and developed. Users must use some sensors to detect physical movements, as well. In this first test session with real end users, researchers tested the acceptance of the demo and collected some datasets using the sensors.
Participants seemed to enjoy and we are grateful for the precious help!
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.
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.
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!
In the past, we noticed about the Fraunhofer AICOS’ prototype for detection of Diabetic Retinopathy. This system is comprised by an optic adapter attached to a smartphone with an application that enables the detection of early signs of Diabetic Retinopathy. Now, we tell you all that we are making tests at the hospital with real patients.
The application processes images of the eye fundus and automatically detects micro-aneurysms, which are the first visible signs of Diabetic Rethinopathy. This mobile-based solution enables an effetive pre-diagnosis in a non expert context, which means that it can be used in a regular medical appointment and thus diagnose and treat this disease that can cause visual impairment and even blindness.
In order to test the solution, we have been conducting tests in a Portuguese hospital. We have been collecting images from the eye fundus of patients with Diabetic Retinopathy and we have been assessing the quality of images. The sample of patients has different stages of Diabetic Retinopathy.
These are good news, especially today, the World Diabetes Day! The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) chosen Diabetic Rethinopathy as this year’s theme and created the campaign “Eyes on Diabetes“, which intends to raise awareness of the importance of screenings to early detect this complication of Diabetes. IDF reports that “early detection and timely treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy can prevent vision loss and reduce the impact of diabetes on individuals, their carers and society”. At Fraunhofer, researchers are working to create a low-cost and mobile prototype that will enable a reduction of screenings’ costs, that can be used in primary health care and in developing countries.
We will be back with more news regarding this project, for sure. Stay tuned!
In this special occasion we celebrate the importance of usability studies, in order to make products and services more usable for everyone. It’s all about user-friendliness of all devices we use on our daily living. At Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS, the Human-Computer Interaction team focuses on making smartphone, TV and tablet interfaces simple to use for its end-users, which are the people who will use the applications and devices.
We highlight the fact that usability studies require researchers, designers and users to collaborate. Thank you all our volunteers from the user network COLABORAR!
Recently, researchers working on CordonGris interviewed some seniors from the user network COLABORAR to pre-test of the script they used for the guided interview by questionnaire. We could count on volunteers to be interviewed about their nutrition habits and nutritional choices. The final interviews will be made in Portugal, in the Netherlands and in the United Kingdom.
Thank you to all the participants! Your insights were really valuable as we were able to validate the scrip of the interview that will be used in three different countries!
Considering the number of seniors living alone and their physical and mental frailty, and considering also the complex schemes of medication they must strictly follow, it is easy to imagine that many do no take their medications properly. At Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS this problem is being address in the scope of a Master Thesis called SmartMedBoxes. It joins boxes of medications, sensors and smartphones. The outcome is an intelligent medication box that allows caregivers to monitor seniors’ medication intake by using sensors to detect the opening of the boxes.
We already tested the prototype, asking some senior volunteers of COLABORAR to open and close the box, pretending they were using the box to pick up their medications. The data collected in these tests will contribute to the evaluation of the prototype, enabling researchers to know if it is accurately functional.
We hope this prototype will be available in the near future and will help seniors and their caregivers!