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2018 Conference Presentation

Digitalization and technology Austria

11 September 2018

Progress in playful motivation for daily multimodal training of persons with dementia and multisensory analytics for decision support: amicasa and the PLAYTIME game suite

Maria Fellner, Joanneum Research, Austria


The effect of serious games for cognitive stimulation of people with dementia has been thoroughly tackled on several lines of intervention. However, it has been identified that the impact of motivational support and emotion requires more investigation in the context of serious games and dementia. Sensitive understanding and assistance in the psychosocial contexts and persistent behavior change through the engagement of people might not only play an important role in the adoption and acceptance by the end users, but probably beyond this, enable a substantial increase of activation, awareness, positive stimulation for persons with dementia. Emotion-oriented care approaches are in principle known to offer the opportunity to tailor the care to the individual needs of dementing elderly. Emotion and cognition not only strongly interact in the brain but are often integrated so that they jointly contribute to behaviour. Assessment in this context is highly relevant to make efficient use of the monitoring of consequences in daily life over long periods of time.

The key objective of the intervention using the amicasa theratainment app is to increase quality of life of dementia patients but also of caregivers and – by means of multimodal playful stimulation - getting capable to stay active at home as long as possible. A substantial innovation in the playful training suite amicasa is represented via the integrated, multimodal training unit concept. Tasks with the purpose to stimulate cognitive processes are not separated from the tasks that excite physical activities but are in a functional context for the end user. The global task with cognitive, auditive, visual, social and sensorimotor aspects is within the focus and integrated through the serious game framework, i.e., the motivation to gain performance through training. amicasa is an interaction platform with an already very high number of task units (200) that is continuously increasing through additional themes that incorporate an exciting database for knowledge and exercises. The game character of the training engages the player and motivates for “knowledge acquisition and physical activities”.

However, longitudinal quantitative studies about dementia are rare. The game adjusts the requirements of home based playful training to the individual objectives of the individual user and from this involves the end user into an infinite series of dependable motivations. Since the solution contains a mobile app, an interactive mat, a diagnostics toolbox, a caregiver serious game and a recommendation toolbox, these tools enable to collect a long-term series of data for monitoring the status of the disease and to enable additional diagnostics.

First results are presented from an overall intervention long-term study that was performed over a 6 months period and demonstrate that a group (N=25) of persons with dementia using amicasa did not significantly decline in MMSTE (M values) whereas the control group (N=25) showed an expected decrease. Amicasa will in the future be optionally extended for (i) optional eye tracking using a web camera for cognitive control analysis, as well as by a (ii) component of long-term motion analysis (company McRoberts, The Netherlands) and (iii) serious game based psychosocial analysis (company Mindbytes, Belgium) under development in the European project PLAYTIME.

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