The CAREUP project investigates how to implement the “inclusive health & care approach (health prevention, preservation of physical & mental health, social participation)” of the AAL Call 2021 ”by taking into account the specific needs of end-users. To reach its goals, the CAREUP project will develop an ICT-based solution to continuously enhance the quality of life of older adults following a life-course framework and using the guidance offered by the “Positive Health” concept and the WHO “Healthy Ageing” recommendations. The CAREUP solution allows older adults to adhere to these two guidelines thorough self-monitoring of two key elements: Functional Ability and Intrinsic Capacity.
Gamification is introduced in CAREUP as an incentive to self-monitoring adherence but not only. The CAREUP system requires the design of games which shall aid in both diagnosing and improving the physical and mental health of the primary users. We will develop and implement an innovative gamification strategy based on a shared topic for the games to provide homogeneity and usability along with an attractive and motivating platform. The selected topics (social skills, cognitive skills, and mindfulness) will be the basis for sets of minigames with various aims. The aims will be two: help with diagnosis and mitigation. The diagnosis part will mostly entail gamified tests (a core innovation of the project) while the mitigation part will focus on long term adherence, the main challenge that many platforms for seniors struggle nowadays, and one that AAL calls have intensively insisted on. To cope with this challenge, co-creation will be given a lot of relevance to have games that users feel engaged with. The games will extract data: scores, reaction times, usage time, participation of other people, cognitive, social parameters.
The CAREUP activities are grouped in five work packages (WPs):
- ● WP1 is dedicated to identification of primary end-user goals, interventions having impact on IC components and development of IC measures. Platform requirements, functionalities and services are also specified. Results of WP1 are the basis for implementation of AI/ML algorithms, design of multicomponent care plans, development of new platform components and platform integration performed in WP2.
- ● Three of four tasks in WP2 require feedback from trials with end-users participation. It is crucial for development of new components, design of algorithms and platform integration.
- ● WP3 groups tasks related to pilots organization: protocol specification, preparation of formal consents and exit strategy development. Two of WP3 tasks are directly connected with field trials.
- ● WP4 is designing business models and disseminating project findings. It extends over the whole project duration.
- ● WP5 conducts management throughout the project.
The CAREUP project consortium is well-balanced both in terms of geographical spread 9 partners from 5 countries, and representing organizations. The consortium consists of three categories of partners, i.e. one university, one national institute, two NGOs and five SMEs.
Act 1.1 CAREUP platform specification and architecture: The CAREUP project proposes an ICT-based solution to enable older people to adhere to Healthy Ageing (HA) by monitoring its key elements, i.e. functional ability and intrinsic capacity. The monitoring will be based on data collection from different sensors such as health parameters (e.g., blood pressure, glucose levels, weight, pulse, etc), from digital questionnaires and through interaction with gamification elements. The data collected using different technologies will be processed using artificial intelligence algorithms to asses the intrinsec capcacity of the elderly user. The CAREUP platform builds on previous results and therefore the architecture development has started from the architecture of the IONIS and NITICS projects. We have presented here the main physical components (e.g. subsystems, devices, networks, software modules) of the platform as well as how these are interconnected.
Act 1.2 Analysis of usage scenarios based on the identified functionalities: In this activity we started from a central scenario developed at the beginning of the CAREUP project. Based on this scenario and the architecture developed in Act 1.1, we have developed scenarios for the use of the various components of the platform. We focused mainly on gamification which is the main contribution of the CITST partner in CAREUP platform but we also included a scenario on the positive health component. The following scenarios were developed: Gamification scenario - patient perspective; Gamification scenario - informal caregiver perspective; Gamification scenario - family doctor perspective; Health scenario - family doctor introduces recommendations in AIHAP; Health scenario - informal caregiver and attending physician. These were presented both descriptively and through UML diagrams.
Act 1.3 Studies on existing gamification elements on the market or in the literature that address the CAREUP target aspects: In order to develop new solutions for gamification elements, an analysis of existing serious games for older people was carried out. We focused on games that address the maintenance and improvement of physical and cognitive skills. For this purpose, a number of existing cognitive games were analysed, such as SynapseToLife, Rhythm, MemoreBox, FallSensing game suite, Mimic Instruments, A-go!, MobileQuiz, ElderGames, HitIt and Reach, Out in Nature, VIRTRA-EL web platform 3D game, Harvest and Cook.
Act 1.4 Development of new solutions for existing CITST gamification elements: In order to develop games which, address the intrinsic capability of the users, we will be developed gamification elements that build on the Cogstate (Brain Health for All) principles. For example, starting from the Match Game developed in INCARE AAL, new games will be developed that will involve selecting images which contain elements from a predefined domain (e.g. selecting all images containing flowers). Starting from the Collect Objects game, a new version will be developed (based on Cogstate - Visual Learning) which: will require the collection of all objects that have already appeared in the environment; each level will have a fixed time - the user will have to collect the objects as correctly and as quickly as possible; the score will be calculated based on the number of correctly collected objects and the time they have been collected. An important part of the user experience in interacting with gamification are the characters in the game and their personality, i.e. the way they react to the story that is unfolding (how they animate). This aspect will be taken into account in the development of gamification elements. Algorithms will also be included that link the games to the rest of the CAREUP platform.
Act 1.5 Dissemination of results (web page, Linkedin, etc.): The project page is maintained by the CITST partner in English and Romanian at: http://www.citst.ro/projects/careup/. The Linkedin page is maintained with contributions from all partners at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/careup-project-890156243/. Other dissemination events include promoting the project at BeHEALTH 2022 and the AAL Forum during the European Week of Active and Healthy Ageing.
Act 2.1 Development of the CAREUP solution with integrated gamification elements: a number of gamification elements have been proposed to support the concept of intrinsic capability, such as estimation of: cognitive decline, mobility, auditory acuity, visual acuity, depression symptoms.
Act 2.2 Development of new solutions for the gamification elements existing at CITST: : in this phase two new games were created (based on existing games), as follows: 1) the Puzzle game allows solving a puzzle, without receiving indications of correct/incorrect placement of pieces and 2) the Find Path game involves walking a specified path in a maze (with or without the existence of enemies), in a predefined time.
Act 2.3 Development of new gamification solutions for the CAREUP users: in this phase new games were designed and implemented that require attention, memorizing and speed of reaction: detection of certain specified objects, selection of an object of a certain color in a certain time or selection of an object when its color becomes a specified color, speed of performing simple mathematical calculations (addition / subtraction / multiplication) in a fixed time.
Act 2.4 Widespread dissemination of the results: The project page is maintained by the CITST partner in English and Romanian at: http://www.citst.ro/projects/careup/. The Linkedin page is maintained with contributions from all partners at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/careup-project-890156243/, publication of 5 articles (1 Q2 journal article with impact factor and 4 conference papers with proceedings indexed BDI and undergoing ISI indexing). Other dissemination events presented the project at the COST Network on Privacy-Aware Audio- and Video-Based Applications for Active and Assisted Living (COST Action CA19121 GoodBrother) Summer School, 13-16 June 2023.
- Velciu, Magdalen, Luiza Spiru, Mircea Dan Marzan, Eva Reithner, Simona Geli, Barbara Borgogni, Oana Cramariuc, Irina G. Mocanu, Jerzy Kołakowski, Jaouhar Ayadi, and et al. 2023. "How Technology-Based Interventions Can Sustain Ageing Well in the New Decade through the User-Driven Approach" Sustainability 15, no. 13: 10330. https://doi.org/10.3390/su151310330 (IF: 3.9, jurnal Q2), under ISI indexing process.
- Stanciu, I. D., Cramariuc, O. T., & Mocanu, I. G. (2023, July 15). Types of affordances and their role in quantitative and qualitative UX/UI research. A scoping review of affordances-focused literature. 17th International Conference on E-Learning and Digital Learning, https://www.elearning-conf.org.
- Irina Mocanu, Oana Cramariuc, Dorin Ionut Stanciu. An Intelligent Application for Improving Health Conditions through Gamification. 24th International Conference on Control Systems and Computer Science – CSCS24, 24-26 may 2023, in press.
- Irina Mocanu, Alex Imad Awada, Oana Cramariuc. A System for Engaging Older Adults in Maintaining an Active and Healthy Life Through Games. 19th eLearning and Software for Education - eLSE Conference, 27-28 april 2023, in press.
- Roxana Elena Stiuca, Irina Mocanu. Character Animation using LSTM Networks. 46th International Conference on Telecomunications and Signal Processing, TSP 2023, 12-14 july 2023, in press.