Project Elaine (Elderly, AI & New Experiences)

Including  asynchronous exergaming aspects to encourage the elderly to exercise

This project is an initial step towards building the next generation of exergames for the elderly.

Traditionally, players have to perform some form of physical exercise in order to play and win the game, which has surprisingly been reported as unattractive.

We would like to explore the concept of asynchronous exergaming. With this approach, physical exercise and gameplay don’t have to happen at the same time. Instead, seniors can workout at their own pace in their own time, and we asynchronously link this activity to the game.

This can make a significant difference in increasing the motivation towards physical exercise and active aging.

Background and Aims

Elaine* (Elderly, AI and New Experiences) relates to projects whose objective is to improve the quality of life of the Elderly through new experiences, using AI and Technology. 

One successful Elaine project is the StepKinnection Game (www.stepkinnection.com.au). A fall prevention system, mindfully designed for the aged, that delivers stepping exercises in a playful manner. This game allowed us to explore the power of using gaming technology to engage the elderly into physical exercise, however,  we also learned that the aged cohort has very particular needs and preferences when it comes to exercising. While seniors found the concept of exercising while playing very attractive, feedback revealed that they are still more inclined to engage in traditional games and workout at their own time and pace. 

Asynchronous exergames are a new trend in games in the health domain. This concept looks at linking physical exercise and gameplay asynchronously. In other words, you can get power-ups or unlock levels in the game by simply going for a morning walk. This approach will give us the opportunity to answer the elderly’s need. What if they could be rewarded in their preferred game for exercise they did that week? 

The aim of this project is to design and develop an asynchronous exergame prototype that will potentially increase the motivation of the elderly to engage in physical exercise. The project is also to lay the ground for future collaboration between SEDE and SoS in developing serious games for health purposes for the senior community.

Team