How can we motivate elderly hypertension sufferers to build their stamina on a regular basis and thus improve their overall health? In Germany alone, over 85% of 70-year-olds suffer from high blood pressure. ART+COM has developed a mixed-reality training programme to tackle this problem as part of a research project called BewARe. The aim is to awaken the joy of movement through classic stamina exercises, new kinds of games and relaxation sequences.
An avatar trainer guides the elderly users through the training session: she shows them how to do each exercise correctly, gives them instructions and generally encourages them. Users see her via either a screen, AR glasses or a VR headset. They make use of real objects like dumbbells which means the workout is also a haptic experience.
An external tracking system and sensors are used to monitor the user’s movements. The user’s readings are analysed to provide feedback on how well they are performing the exercises. Therapists and doctors can supervise and evaluate the patient’s pulse during training via the BewARe dashboard. They can then use this data to tune the training routine to the person’s individual needs.
The prototype was developed in an iterative design research process taking the requirements and preferences of potential users into consideration. User tests were carried out on a regular basis to check and adapt the design concept, the gamification approach and the usability.
BewARe was set up in close cooperation with project partners Ascora GmbH, Berliner Hochschule für Technik and the geriatric medicine research group at Berlin’s Charité university hospital. ART+COM was responsible for the interaction concept that has created an enjoyable user experience in a mixed-reality environment. We also implemented the content and tracking data in the whole system.
The research project was funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research under a scheme called “Interactive Systems in Virtual and Real Spaces – Innovative Technology for a Healthy Life”.