This week we attended (remotely) the BFHA2020 conference in Zagreb, presenting a paper entitled: Not “the computer” but “the place”: designing and evaluating future ambient spaces for improved quality of life in the elderly.
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!
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.