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.
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!
Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS’ researchers developed a new tool that enables the automatic detection and recognition of eating and drinking activities. The aim of this research, within the project DEMSmartMoves, is recognizing the activity pattern of each user regarding meal intake and then detect these activities. In the case the user is missing out on a meal, the system should be able to automatically send reminders to its user. A smartphone and a wearable device to be used in the wrist comprise the system, which might be very useful for older adults, who frequently miss out meals, due to forgiveness, lack of appetite or being unable to cook. This situation usually results in nutrition deficits in the old age.
After an initial set of tests with users at a day care centre, researchers are testing again the devices with older adults. Volunteers from the user network COLABORAR took this challenge, using the sensor in the wrist for 5 hours; the test began in the morning and finished in the afternoon. Between this period, participants performed their daily activities at the centre, such as playing board games, talking, walking around and also eating lunch meal and drinking.
COLABORAR volunteers enjoyed being part of this investigation and hope that in the future, this technology will help other seniors.
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.
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.
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.
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.
COLABORAR organized the test sessions for the FallSensing project. This project results from a consortium between Fraunhofer Portugal, Sensing Future Technologies and ESTeSC – Coimbra Health School and focus on the evaluation of multiple fall risk factors and the implementation of fall prevention programs for individuals aged 50 years old or older, given that this is the population most affected by falls.
Participants arrived early and motivated to test the prototype. Researchers tested the exercises for fall risk screening and a physiotherapist from ESTeSC joined us and conducted the tests with the clinical app. Following the instructions of the app, each participant were evaluated for their fall risk factors and then, according to their risks, the application provided a personalized exercise plan for fall prevention. Participants used inertial sensors in their legs during the exercises, so to their body movements were monitored.
This app has the potential to help people over 50 stay strong and reduce their risk for falls. We hope that in the near future it will be available!
You can see more information about FallSensing here: http://fallsensing.com/project.
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.
COLABORAR provided users to test the sensors used to detect the movements of the arm. This sensors are being used in the scope of the thesis SmartReminders, under development at Fraunhofer AICOS, with the purpose of monitoring daily activities such as eating or drinking.
The first tests were conducted with a sample of 20 seniors at a day-care centre. Participants had the sensors in their wrists while taking their meals.
Thank you all participants! You always receive us warmly at the centre!
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.
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.