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

Sara Arlati, Vera Colombo, Daniele Spoladore, Luca Greci, Elisa Pedroli, Silvia Serino, Pietro Cipresso, Karine Goulene, Marco Stramba-Badiale, Giuseppe Riva, Andrea Gaggioli, Giancarlo Fserrigno, Marco Sacco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSensors (Basel, Switzerland)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 10 2019


  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognition/physiology
  • Exercise Therapy/instrumentation
  • Female
  • Frail Elderly/psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Postural Balance/physiology
  • Social Media
  • Virtual Reality


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