The elderly population worldwide faces medical, psychological, emotional and social limitations that reduce their quality of life and prevent them from actively participating in everyday life. The MERITT project proposes a coherent set of activities (and related modules and applications) that positively influence autonomy, participation in social life, and the accumulation of digital skills and competences for the elderly population.

To this end, the MERITT project exploits gamification to motivate and educate older people to maintain an active life while maintaining social connections. In addition, it proposes a strategy for developing digital skills in a fun and engaging way. Thus, addressing both the health challenges brought by aging, with the needs of relationships and social functioning, the MERITT project offers a comprehensive continuum of support services.

In order to improve the quality of life of the elderly through the activities presented above, the MERITT project proposes the following objectives:

  1. Creating an integrated platform that allows constant monitoring of the health status of seniors, which could also be used remotely;
  2. Creating cognitive games and a personalized motivational system to prevent mental disorders in seniors;
  3. Promoting inter-generational social and cultural exchanges (through the social interaction module present in the games);
  4. Increasing the social inclusion of seniors by improving their digital knowledge and skills.


The project starts from the considerable experience of the partners from previous projects within the "Active Assisted Living" (AAL) program that emphasizes the use of digital technologies to promote active aging.


IT Centre for Science and Technology


Stefan Cel Mare University of Suceava


Politehnica University of Bucharest


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Phase I

The aim of phase 1 (2022) was to 1) define the methodology for the usability, user experience and user needs analysis 2) identify the gamification elements to be used in the new games developed in the project or adapted from the existing games, 3) develop the first version of the MERITT platform architecture and 4) disseminate the project via website, Facebook page, Linkedin page and press release.

Activity 1.1: Usability and user needs analysis (intermediate): consists of obtaining information that provides the possibility to adjust and implement technologies within the MERITT platform, and is composed of three components: 1) usability (in particular), 2) user experience (in general), and 3) needs. In this phase we have established all the necessary steps to obtain this information. This will be inferred by using semi-structured interviews combined and completed with the application of questionnaires on a target group of minimum 15 people, aged 65 years or older. We will focus on the following aspects: A) utilitarian motivation for use: expectations of performance/efficiency in use, required effort, social influences when used, perceived value, integration with existing habits and intention to use and B) hedonic motivation for use: perceived ease of use, perceived usefulness, curiosity, satisfaction/pleasure, degree of control in use, level of immersion and intention to use. Quantitative data will be analysed using statistical software and qualitative information will be analysed using the thematic analysis method.

Activity 1.2: Defining the gamification elements needed for the platform (intermediate): in order to establish the gamification elements needed for the MERITT platform, we have carried out the classification of existing serious games for elderly people. We have concentrated on those which address the maintianing and improving their cognitive abilities. For this purpose a number of existing cognitive games were analysed, such as Smart Thinker, Gifts Purchase, MCI Rehab, Memory Game, Brain Farmer, In Anticipation of Death, Kitchen and Cooking, Live Well, Live Healthy!. In order to identify the parameters necessary to adapt the reward system to the user, a meta-analysis of the literature on rewards. We have considered rewards any type of feedback that assures the user that he/she has succesfully performed a task during the game, e.g., score, voice and/or text message, vibration. These are usually offered to elderly users while playing various games. Any game relies on the actions and challenges which the users (players) have to peform during the game. Thus, we extracted information about the type of actions implemented in the analysed games: placing objects, moving, collecting objects, destroying elements in the game, communicating, constructing a building or object. Possible challenges were also analysed: time limit to complete an action, use of limited resources, use of opponents, existence of obstacles, actions that can be solved by deductive or inductive reasoning, answering test questions to progress, searching and finding objects or the possibility to save a state.

Activity 1.3: MERITT architecture design and development (intermediate): we have described the current state of the MERITT platform architecture which is a centralised architecture. The interface uses the Android system, via a tablet, which serves as the primary means of user interaction and provides both the interface to the platform and the data collection. The health and activity devices use a software gateway installed on the tablet to transfer data to the tablet from where it is transferred via the local WiFi network or via a mobile data connection to the central server. Data viewing is implemented through a portal installed on the tablet. In order to establish the communication between the components of the platform, possible solutions have been analysed: REST and gRPC and a technical evaluation of synchronous communication has been carried out.

Activity 1.4: Dissemination via website and social media, press release on the project page or in social media: dissemination via website, Facebook page, Linkedin page and press release.

Phase II

The aim of phase 2 (2022) was to 1) presenting the completed questionnaires and interviews, 2) establishing the gamification elements necessary for the platform: designing the multi-player game and adapting the reward system to the individual background of each user, 3) finalizing the design of the MERITT architecture, the design of the platform interfaces, 4) the implementation of the main functionalities of the MERITT platform with the finalization of the software interface characteristics and the development of the virtual trainer and 5) the dissemination of the project through the updated web page, social media and the publication of 5 articles in international conferences with BDI indexed proceedings and ongoing of ISI indexing.

The activities implemented in phase 2 were the following:

Activity 2.1: Analysis of usability and user needs (final): consists of a study carried out with two groups of users. In the first, eight people aged 65 to 78 participated (five women and three men). All participants had a good cognitive level and their independence in everyday life is very high. The second group (20 users aged between 65 and 80) aimed not only at evaluating the games but also the other elements of the MERITT platform. They provided feedback using a dedicated questionnaire developed to gauge interest in the platform as a whole, but also in its specific features.

Activity 2.2: Establishing the platform’s gamification elements (final): consists in describing the multiplayer game that involves interaction between several users, analyzing existing games in order to identify how to establish rewards adapted to the background of each user. An important identified aspect was the creation of difficulty levels to adapt to the different abilities and preferences of the players. Existing games Match Game and Collect Objects were extended with new difficulty levels.

Activity 2.3: Design and development of the MERITT architecture (final): to finalise the design of the MERITT architecture. The interface of the system uses Android, via a tablet, which serves as the main means of interaction with the user and provides both interface with the platform and the data collection means. The devices use a software gateway installed on the tablet to transfer data to the tablet from where it is transferred via the local WiFi network or via a mobile data connection to the central server. The server also hosts the web interface for the platform. Communication between the portal and the Android components is done at the operating system level, through a monitoring service implemented as an Android daemon - watchdog. The virtual coach will generate the next level of the game based on the current state of the user. The microservice for gesture recognition (movement and touch) allows users to interact with the application using body, limb or finger movements. A study was conducted on the perceptions and preferences of older people regarding smart rings, the results showing an openness towards the adoption of smart rings, which were perceived to be useful to help with different activities. The user interface was also designed and implemented.

Activity 2.4: Implementation of the main functionalities of the MERITT platform (intermediate): the characteristics of the software interface have been defined: the interfaces intended to be used by elderly people must ensure good quality and ease of interaction, they must be attractive and intuitive to use, so as to lead to familiarity in use. The virtual coach for the two games Match Game and Collect Objects has been implemented by creating rules based on decision trees to create the next level adapted to the user's abilities and performance (including the quality of the parameters collected in the MERITT project).

Activity 2.5: Dissemination of minimum 2 publications, updated website, social media: The dissemination of the MERITT project was carried out through:

  • Dissemination through the website: http://www.citst.ro/cms/index.php?id=meritt
  • Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/people/Proiectul-Meritt/100087557150971/
  • Linkedin page: https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/meritt-project/
  • Publication of 5 papers in international conferences with ISI and BDI indexed proceedings:
    1. Bilius, Laura-Bianca and Vatavu, Radu-Daniel. I Could Wear It All of the Time, Just Like My Wedding Ring:” Insights into Older People’s Perceptions of Smart Rings, 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2023, DOI: 10.1145/3544549.3585771, https://doi.org/10.1145/3544549.3585771.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.

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