The consequences of a fall have a great impact on the person’s quality of life. In order to provide a solution to this growing concern, a consortium including Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS, Comfort Keepers (Portugal), Unie KBO (The Netherlands), ETH Zurich, MIRALab SARL and Dividat (Switzerland) have launched Active@Home, a project based on exergames, dance and Tai Chi. The proposed solution, focused on physical, cognitive and social aspects, aims to promote physical activity at home and foster fall prevention.

Falls are one of the most common health related problems in the elderly population, representing more than 50% of the hospitalizations due to injuries, in this age group. Falls are also considered one of the main causes for institutionalization and loss of independence.

Active@Home intends to be a holistic approach to increase physical activity of elderly population, while motivating them through captivating and challenging multi-player exergames, video games played through physical exercise. The user will be able to choose the type of exercise that suits him/her best: from sequences of games composed together to create workouts, dance exercises based on traditional dances from different European countries or Tai Chi training. With this, social capabilities will be promoted to foster community engagement and enhance cultural and cognitive aspects.

The project will be designed for large screens (TVs) and all exercises will be monitored using available motion sensors. The special focus on inertial sensors allows and promotes the development of AICOS’ own inertial sensors, the Pandlets, used as wearables with bracelets. The socio-cultural component will also be thoroughly explored, revolving around multi-player features and community events. The traditional dances are of particular interest in this area since dance is typically a social activity and older adults are keen on traditions and customs.

The goal is to stimulate a sense of social connectedness, contributing not only to maintain a healthy social life, avoiding isolation and depression but also to reinforce the role of the community as a support network, which has been demonstrated to be a key factor for achieving longer independent living.

The three years project had its official start in Geneva, on May 26th-27th and is co-founded by the AAL Programme and Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia.