Vrada

Project Overview

An extensive amount of research on the benefits of exercise supports that exercise plays a vital role on health, physical functioning and quality of life, and in the prevention and rehabilitation of many deceases such as dementia. People suffering from dementia number 46.8 million worldwide, while 7.7 million new cases of dementia are recorded each year. In Greece, patients suffering from one of the categories of dementia, the Alzheimer disease, have been calculated to be around 200,000 and that they will reach 500,000 by 2050. Inactivity alone, constitutes the cause of 3.8% of all dementia cases worldwide. Recently, exercise has been recognized to benefit these patient populations both as a mechanism for the amelioration of their health and the prevention of dementia as well as a mechanism for the improvement of their cognitive functioning and memory. The difficult part however, is for these patients to recognize the benefits of exercise.

These benefits become apparent when someone is trained in an enjoyable and attractive environment. This proposal aims to develop an attractive, innovative and self-regulating exercise program for the improvement of health that takes place in a virtual environment incorporated by an exercise apparatus. For this purpose, we require a multidisciplinary approach that will be based on the most recent findings of psychology, physiology and virtual reality technology. Specifically, from the field of psychology this virtual reality application will include self-regulation strategies such as goal setting and self-talk. Additionally, this model will provide the participants with the ability to self-regulate the intensity and duration of their exercise in accordance to a number of protocols of the physiology of exercise that can be highly personalized around each participant. These exercise protocols are regulated through a number of factors which will be displayed inside this virtual environment in real time. Meaning that during his or her exercise inside the virtual environment, the patient will be informed of the distance he has covered, the speed, the intensity, his heart rate, the subjective feeling of fatigue as well as the personal levels of satisfaction and enjoyment.

Additionally, this model will provide the participants with visual or auditory cues and directions targeting a number of goals for the participant. The participant will be able to choose which ones to follow and which ones to ignore according to what is more beneficial for him or her at every given moment. Therefore, the user will be able to listen to directions at specific time intervals or repeat them loudly to himself aided by a number of cues given by the program. Cognitive exercises for the improvement of memory will also be provided through the system. This innovative, self-regulating, virtual reality program is going to be designed exclusively around patients suffering from all types of dementia and Alzheimer. The program’s ultimate goal is to exercise these patients and at the same time to improve their memory and their cognitive functions. At the end of the exercise program, the patient will receive immediate information around the amount of exercise he or she did, the time he needed to complete the cognitive memory exercises etc. The cooperating teams will initially develop the virtual environment and incorporate it to exercise bikes, suitable for the exercise of elderly individuals. This virtual environment will be controlled at all stages of its development, by performing test trials on populations suffering from dementia of various levels. These will take place at the gyms of the Hellenic Association of Alzheimer's Disease & Related Disorders.

When the application is completed, the effectiveness and appeal of the system will be tested using experimental methods and neuropsychological, psychomotor and neuroimaging evaluations. With the completion of the project, an innovative tool and highly personalized exercise system be given to the medical society.

Work Packages

WP1. Preliminary research

WP Leader: Dept Sport Science - UTH

Purpose: First stage research to understand the needs of the patients (questionnaires)

WP2. 3D Content

WP Leader: OramaVR (ex OvidVR)

Purpose: To develop 3D content for the VR environment

WP3: Integration of bike to the VR software

WP Leader: BME

Purpose: To integrate the speed of the bike to the VR Software

WP4: Experimental Research 1

WP Leader: Dept Sport Science - UTH

Purpose: To develop exercise protocols for patients

WP5: Experimental Research 2

WP Leader: Medical School - AUTH

Purpose: VR software at its final version. Measurements on Alzheimer patients

WP6: Technical Feasibility Study

WP Leader: OramaVR (ex OvidVR)

Purpose: A report analysing the advantages of the product compared to other market solutions

Contact Us

Episkopou 71
43100 Karditsa
Greece

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F. +30 24410 24585
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