AR smartphone exercise game to improve fall risk in older adults

Exercise interventions, especially those focused on balance and stepping are proven to reduce falls by up to 50%. However, poor adherence to repetitive exercises has been a major issue. Exergames are interactive digital games that combine exercise and video games with promising evidence to significantly improve exercise adherence. Motion-based exergames such as Nintendo Wii and Dance Dance Revolution have been successful in improving balance and stepping in older adults. However, the requirement of expensive and specialised equipment can limit the large-scale implementation.

Augmented reality (AR) that superimposes computer-generated images on top of the real view has been increasingly used in smartphone apps (e.g. Google map, IKEA furniture). This AR technology can be utilised to the development of an AR exergame app to improve fall risk in older adults. A smartphone placed on the floor or desk can detect 2D human movement based on moving pixels separated from the static background pixels. The player will be required to interact with virtual game objects overlayed on their own image on the smartphone screen. The AR exergames are currently under development with testing in clinicians and older people for refinement.