Fostering the wellbeing
and active lifestyle of
elderly adults

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Introduction:

Elderly people are frequently affected by a decline of mental and physical abilities, which results in anxiety, frailty and reclusiveness. Often, they live alone, spatially separated from their families or friends, unable to meet them on a regular basis. The risk of developing dementia grows with declining mental and physical abilities. Previous studies show, that the combination of cognitive and physical training has a positive effect on preventing dementia. The TACTILE (Preventing Dementia and Social Exclusion with Mixed Reality Technology) project addresses these challenges by providing a mixed reality (MR) system.

Aims:

Foster an active lifestyle and well-being of older adults, through a solution that enables training both the cognitive and physical state and maintaining social contacts by connecting seniors with family and friends

The focus of TACTILE is to develop a mixed reality (MR) software for elderly people for playing board games and doing physical training exercises on MR glasses. The MR environment will support the high usability of the overall system by combining a common board game setup (including real game pieces) with virtual game pieces and by providing a virtual avatar that accompanies the seniors during the pyhsical trainings.

Expected Results:

Previous studies show, that the combination of cognitive and physical training has a positive effect on preventing dementia. TACTILE uses novel MR technology to support elderlies in keeping a healthy lifestyle by providing mental and physical training and keeping them socially included.

  • Social Interaction: Social interaction will take place by playing board games remotely within a common mixed reality. During the game, the playing partners can talk to each other and thus stay in contact with their beloved ones.
  • Mental health: Playing board games is an optimal way to achieve (a) brain training combined with (b) entertainment that motivates elderly people to proceed and play on a regular basis.
  • Physical health: TACTILE helps to maintain and improve the physical fitness by offering physical training sessions. The exercises are highly motivating thanks to the unique MR design that includes a virtual assistant demonstrating the movements. The physical training exercises can be individually adapted to the physical restrictions of the end-user via a web portal.

Materials and Methods:

A novel mixed reality (MR) system is used to play real board games with a remote partner. Moreover, a virtual avatar guides the user through physical training exercises. The training exercises can be adapted to the individual user needs and physical restrictions of the users. During development end-users are constantly providing feedback via end-user workshops. The final system will be tested in field trials in Austria and the Netherlands.