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A Social Virtual Reality-Based Application for the Physical and Cognitive Training of the Elderly at Home

Istituto di Sistemi e Tecnologie Industriali Intelligenti per il Manifatturiero Avanzato, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, 20133 Milano, Italy
Dipartimento di Elettronica, Informazione e Bioingegneria, Politecnico di Milano, 20133 Milano, Italy
Applied Technology for Neuro-Psychology Lab, I.R.C.C.S. Istituto Auxologico Italiano, 20149 Milano, Italy
Department of Psychology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, 20123 Milano, Italy
Department of Geriatrics and Cardiovascular Medicine, I.R.C.C.S. Istituto Auxologico Italiano, 20149 Milano, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2019, 19(2), 261;
Received: 14 December 2018 / Revised: 30 December 2018 / Accepted: 3 January 2019 / Published: 10 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue From Sensors to Ambient Intelligence for Health and Social Care)
PDF [3137 KB, uploaded 17 January 2019]


Frailty is a clinical condition affecting the elderly population which results in an increased risk of falls. Previous studies demonstrated that falls prevention programs are effective, but they suffer from low adherence, especially when subjects have to train unsupervised in their homes. To try to improve treatment adherence, virtual reality and social media have been proposed as promising strategies for the increase of users’ motivation and thus their willingness to practice. In the context of smart homes, this work presents SocialBike, a virtual reality-based application aimed at improving the clinical outcomes of older frail adults in their houses. Indeed, SocialBike is integrated in the “house of the future” framework and proposes a Dual Task training program in which the users are required to cycle on a stationary bike while recognizing target animals or objects appearing along the way. It also implements the possibility of training with other users, thus reducing the risk of social isolation. Within SocialBike, users can choose the multiplayer mode they prefer (i.e., collaborative or competitive), and are allowed to train following their own attitude. SocialBike’s validation, refinement, and business model are currently under development, and are briefly discussed as future works. View Full-Text
Keywords: ageing; virtual reality; social media; collaboration; competition ageing; virtual reality; social media; collaboration; competition

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Arlati, S.; Colombo, V.; Spoladore, D.; Greci, L.; Pedroli, E.; Serino, S.; Cipresso, P.; Goulene, K.; Stramba-Badiale, M.; Riva, G.; Gaggioli, A.; Ferrigno, G.; Sacco, M. A Social Virtual Reality-Based Application for the Physical and Cognitive Training of the Elderly at Home. Sensors 2019, 19, 261.

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