Supporting an Active Lifestyle for Seniors through an innovative App-based system for Fitness and Physiotherapy
Duration: 2019- 2022
Project website: www.salsa-project.com
Funding: UEFISCDI and CE
- LIFEtool gemeinnützige GmbH (Coordinator)
- Netural GmbH
- Youtoo GmbH
- Stichting Nationaal Ouderenfonds
- Roessingh Research and Development
Physical activity is known to improve many of the factors associated with ageing and helps older adults to maintain their well-being, functional ability and independence. However, maintaining an active lifestyle or recovering from injury/illness is a challenge, especially for the elderly, motivation is a key factor. SALSA supplies a smart, app-based-solution that optionally includes (body) sensors to support physiotherapy and all aspects of starting and maintaining an active lifestyle for older adults – age 55+ (primary target group) – with or without the supervision of a physiotherapist (secondary target group). Sport clubs, gyms and institutions who want to promote an active lifestyle in their local communities (secondary end-users) and insurance companies (tertiary end-users) were identified as important stakeholders. In order to design the necessary functionalities, the different end-user groups are involved throughout the project. This co-design focuses on usability and user experience, as well as service and business model design. More specifically, primary, secondary and tertiary end-users are involved in four stages: 1) service model design 2) prototype development 3) business model development 4) evaluation of the SALSA solution.
SALSA specifically targets at seniors in terms of design, functionality and content underpinned by gamification elements, which boost motivation and adherence. It offers comprehensive social community and scheduling functions, which increase motivation, connection and community building. The content appeals to users of all fitness levels and ensures personalisation and adaptability. SALSA integrates body sensors that allow an in-depth evaluation of movements for feedback used in video exercises and exergames. It offers special functionalities for therapeutic use that deliver more information about the client’s state, which leads to an increase of quality of treatment.
The objectives of the project are to develop a solution called SALSA that promotes an active lifestyle and motivates elderly people to be involved in performing their physical recovery therapy consisting of exercises and exergames. The solution also proposes community involvement to help these people and encourage social integration and independent living. The development and evaluation of the solution will be done with the groups of beneficiaries.
The envisioned results of this project would be an integrated platform, proven to support older people to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle, living an independent and integrated social life for longer.
- Engage with stakeholders in European countries – 2019 (done)
- Establish technical requirements – 2019 (done)
- Design new features for SALSA app – 2019 (done)
- New motion sensor integration requirement analysis – 2019 (done)
- Implementation of new app features and exergames - 2020 (done)
- Testing and feedback implementation (internal and with stakeholders) – 2020 (done)
- Integration of SALSA Health Solutions – 2021 (done)
- Testing (internal and with stakeholders/clinicians) - 2021 (done)
- Implement feedback – 2021 (done)
- Maintenance, updates and technical support during pilot -2021 and 2022 (2021 done)
Enhancements for the underlying MIRA software platform with additions to address the SALSA Health specific use cases addressing the rehabilitation of older people have been developed in this phase by extending the MIRA platform. MIRA Rehab has finalized in Q2-2020 the implementation of a novel MIRA Schedule Item, ‘Mirror Exercises’. Mirror exercises are a variant of existing exergames, in which the game-component is removed, such that the user’s focus is only aimed at the movement they are performing.
Daily activities inspired Exergames
Based on the user feedback regarding content preferences, MIRA has developed several new game environments specifically for older people. These have been developed to simulate day-today activities in order to create more motivation for users, but also to help them recover specific functionalities required in daily activities. One example presented below is the Best Chef cooking game.
As part of this project, considering the current context of the COVID19 pandemic situation and the limitations regarding the delivery of physiotherapy, the consortium decided to integrate as a new form of motion sensor tracking the technology that is better suited for home case environment, by lowering costs and reducing set-up complexity. The technology uses sophisticated AI algorithms which are able to detect and track body motion using a simple video RGB camera, compatible with most consumer existing devices.
Mira is now compatible with standard, off-the-shelf or device-integrated 2D webcam through integration of real-time pose estimation models, such as Posenet or Posenet Tflite. Our webcam implementation increases accessibility and enables the opportunity to use the solution at home, as part of telerehabilitation or continuum of care models.
Our commitment to providing engaging and accessible solutions for at-home use is ongoing, and so are our efforts to bring constant improvement to our webcam implementation both in terms of performance and system requirements.
MIRA now offers support for video exercises, which are based on the existing mirror exercises, but which do not rely on a motion-tracking sensor (webcam or other types of devices). With the aid of video exercises, therapists can now include exercises that might not be compatible with existing tracking sensors to their patient's treatment plans. Therapists can also upload their own exercises to the platform, which unlocks the opportunity for more comprehensive content specific to the patient's condition or need.
While video exercises do not include the gamified or motion tracking component, they do bring benefits in terms of guiding the patient through their treatment plan. They also provide much-needed structure and planning when included in exercise schedules in MIRA. Finally, they can be paired with the interactive or gamified content in the platform to create more diverse exercise schedules, that, as a whole, are both engaging and comprehensive in terms of provided content.
SALSA Health integration
For a more unified and consistent approach, MIRA can now also be accessed as SALSA Health, with localization support for German and Dutch.
Security and GDPR
Launch of MIRA Education Series
With regards to dissemination activities, MIRA has launched its Education Series, a set of webinars and live public events that cover key concepts of MIRA and other relevant developments in digital health and physical rehabilitation. These events are followed online by physiotherapists and other researchers from over 12 countries from Europe, US and Asia. In Episode 03, MIRA Rehab has presented the current achievements and objectives of the SALSA project.
Please download here the project brochure.