Enhancing Quality of Life in Ambient Spaces

We are editing a joint Special Issue of Frontiers in Computer Science and Frontiers in Psychology on this topic. The focus of this collection of papers will be on ways in which technology can be used to form ambient spaces that enhance the lives of the people living, working, travelling or in other ways experiencing those places.

Visiting PhD students finish their work with us

Photo (taken by Åke Holmlund) shows Ines with John Waterworth in the departmental corridors.

Somaye Rahini and Ines Ayed have been with us for the last few months, on short-term PhD studentship visits. Now they have finished their time here: Somaye has returned to the University of Teheran in Iran, and Ines will return to Palma and the University of the Balearics.

Somaye worked mostly on designing a Virtual Human Resources Development (VHRD) social network, including building an interactive prototype for testing her ideas. She also completed a paper that has now been submitted to a major journal in the area.

Ines has been developing games aimed at encouraging older people to exercise and improve their balance, using the Kinect platform. She made a set of movement games, with and without a cognitive puzzle element, investigating how this factor affects motivation and the sense of presence in the game. We are currently testing them with our Senior-IT group in Åsele.

We wish Somaye and Ines all the best for 2020 and their future careers!

New paper on meditative/restorative environments


Access to leisure and wellbeing can be difficult to arrive at due to constraints in health, income, location and time. With shifting demographics ( inversion of the aging pyramid) and increasing urbanization, there is an increasingly urgent need to improve access to leisure activities, particularly for those living in crowded cities or who have limited mobility.

We propose the use of 3D capture of majestic nature scenes and their display in a therapeutic context, as an affordable way to enhance well-being and to provide care to those lacking adequate access to leisure and wellbeing. Our approach to the application of VR-based nature therapy involves immersive media interfaces employing either contemplative (mindfulness-based stress reaction – MBSR) or active (mind/body based behavioural activation) approaches, both using environmental cues salient to end-users and developed within an inclusive design paradigm. The end goal is to employ immersive virtual reality and suitably designed human-machine interfaces to allow individuals of varying ages, means and abilities to continue to enjoy an optimal level of presence and engagement in the real world to preserve quality (and perhaps quantity) of life.