Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Exergaming to promote health in elderly

High-tech combination of gaming and exercising presented in a simple, attractive product can help the elderly to exercise and stay fit. This will have a positive impact on mitigating age-related ailments and encumbrances.
Exergaming to promote health in elderly
Higher life expectancy in Europe, coupled with decreased fertility and mortality rates, means more Europeans are reaching old age, often by themselves, depending on an increasingly pressured health system. One way to minimise the impact of this major demographic shift is to encourage healthier habits in the elderly, empowering them with technologies that can make them more independent.

The EU-funded AISENSE (Human-Computer Interaction and Computer Vision for Improving Healthy Living of Elderly through Exer-gaming) aimed to achieve this through exergaming, which combines video gaming with exercise to improve physical health. It developed a video game where players manipulate a virtual character through their body movements, simulating different activities such as jogging or walking. The system invites the players to virtually move around the room searching for objects and performing certain tasks with them, while rewarding success.

While exergames already exist on the market, the proposed concept has been developed specifically for the elderly. Neither too easy nor too difficult, the AISENSE game was designed to be simple and keep the elderly engaged, offering the benefits of mild exercise, developed with the backing of experts in neurology and physical training.

Developing the exergaming system required in-depth research in human activity recognition and 3-D object recognition, supported by input from depth sensors and cameras. In this context the AISENSE project articulated technology that recognises certain human actions based on a motion descriptor which exploits 3D human skeleton data. While the project team faced challenges in developing fusion algorithms that combine spatial and temporal data, it achieved its aims through cutting-edge research in 3D technology and electrical engineering.

The outcomes of AISENSE have been promoted locally to hospitals and relevant government agencies in Turkey, the project’s home base. If these stakeholders can integrate exergaming to improve the lives of the elderly, it could spell a new era in prevention and treatment for today’s ageing populations.

Related information


Exergaming, elderly, AISENSE, human-computer interaction, computer vision
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