SERIGAMEX 2013 – 21st March, Rome


Testaluna presented the VERVE project at SERIGAMEX 2013, a workshop about serious games held in Rome, at VIGAMUS (Italian Museum of Videogames), on the 21st of March.

The audience, made of mainly professionals in the field of serious games, were presented with an overview of the project and its components, with a particular focus on Kitchen Scenario, our serious game created for helping patients suffering from Alzheimer disease.

Human Computer Confluence (HCC) Summer School 2013 – 17-19 July, Paris

Application deadline: 17th April 2013

Human Computer Confluence summer school 2013

Human computer confluence (HCC) refers to an invisible, implicit, embodied or even implanted interaction between humans and system components. New classes of user interfaces may evolve that make use of several sensors and are able to adapt their physical properties to the current situational context of users.

HCC originally emerged out of various European research initiatives aiming at fundamental and strategic research studying how the emerging symbiotic relation between humans and ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) can be based on radically new forms of sensing, perception, interaction and understanding.

The HCC summer school invites participants to understand the various technological aspects of our symbiosis with ICT, but also the impact of this confluence on society. It aims to share scientific knowledge and experience among participants, enhance and stimulate interdisciplinary dialogue as well as provide further opportunities for co-operation within the study domains of Human Computer Confluence.

Call for Papers: The 6th International Conference on PErvasive Technologies Related to Assistive Environments – PETRA 2013, Rhodes

PETRA 2013, Rhodes, Greece, May 29 – 31, 2013

Workshop on Interactive Multimedia Technologies to Support Vulnerable People

Theme and Goals

The VERVE workshop seeks to generate dialogue and debate on the use of interactive multimedia technology to support vulnerable people in everyday environments. The workshop builds on the growing use of serious games in many aspects of modern life such as defence and education, and in particular its increasing use in healthcare settings. The intent of such technology is to improve the quality of life for disadvantaged groups including older people and those with neurological disorders, taking into account cognitive, emotional, and behavioural aspects of the person. Of particular interest is the use of serious games to help in everyday activities outside the home, for example when shopping or being in crowded situations. We are also interested in understanding the use of interactive multimedia technology to help those at risk of social exclusion, as well as their careers, families, health professionals and relevant support organisations, and to solicit ideas and feedback.

Topics of Interest

We invite papers about research in and application of interactive multimedia technologies that provide support to elderly or vulnerable people. Such tools could help sufferers from Parkinson’s disease, or those suffering from apathy related to cognitive decline and behavioural disturbances, for example due to Alzheimer’s disease. Although focusing on these areas initially, the workshop encourages submissions on the use of interactive multimedia technologies in a much wider range of healthcare settings. Topics addressed include:

  • Technology acceptance by the elderly and those suffering from anxiety-related disorder
  • Gaming technology as a therapeutic capability
  • The use of virtual agents as assistants in health care and therapy
  • The use of games to provide support and information to carers and family members
  • Human computer confluences applied to health
  • Technologies linked to pervasive computing, health science and human neuroscience
  • Methods for measuring the effects and benefits of serious games in healthcare settings
  • Use of game technology to develop physical and cognitive improvement in patients
  • The use of gaming technology as a means of social inclusion for vulnerable adults

VERVE showcased at two major conferences in June

The recent Movement Disorders Conference in Dublin ( was attended by over 5,000 people, mostly clinical neurologists and Neurophysiologists but also from multidisciplinary backgrounds. Partners from VERVE took the opportunity to showcase the programme and to promote its ambitious aims and goals. Feedback was very positive, and the level of interest was high. Said Richard Reilly (Professor of Neural Engineering, who is part of VERVE and who attended the conference: “It was an important and high-profile event, so raising the profile of the VERVE programme will help us create new collaborators and supporters.”

VERVE was also showcased at the first Joint World Congress of ISPGR (International Society for Posture & Gait Research) and Gait & Mental Function in Trondheim in June ( Again, significant interest was shown in the programme, particularly on its focus on Freezing of Gait and Fear of Falling. VERVE’s aims were of great interest to many of the clinical attendees, who were excited to see such innovative and collaborative research.

The effect of balance training on audio-visual integration in older adults

Niamh Merriman, Caroline Whyatt, Annalisa Setti, Nicholas Gillian, William Young, Stuart Ferguson, Cathy Craig, Fiona Newell


Although the vestibular system is involved in maintaining balance and posture control, recent studies have provided evidence for the crucial role of other sensory modalities in this task. In older adults, reduced visual capacity, specifically impaired depth perception and contrast sensitivity, has been associated with an increased risk of falls. Moreover, using the auditory-flash illusion (Shams et al., 2000) we recently reported that auditory-visual perception is less efficient in fall-prone older adults than in their age-matched counterparts (Setti et al., 2011) and that susceptibility increases with ageing. The aim of this study was to investigate whether balance training is associated with changes in how efficiently auditory and visual information is integrated in older adults. We tested 58 older (65+ years) adults, half of whom took part in a balance training intervention programme over a series of 5 weeks and half of whom were controls. Pre- and post-training measures of balance control (e.g. Berg Balance Scale) and movement-based signals (e.g. displacement of centre of pressure) across groups suggested that the intervention was successful in improving overall balance control. Furthermore, we found that susceptibility to the auditory-flash illusion did not increase for the intervention group, but did increase in the control group over time. Furthermore, following balance training our data suggest that audio-visual integration becomes relatively more efficient in fall-prone than in non-fall prone older adults. Our findings suggest important links between balance control and multisensory interactions in the ageing brain.


Setti, A., Burke, K. E., Kenny, R. A., & Newell, F. N. (2011). Is inefficient multisensory processing associated with falls in older people? Experimental brain research, 209 (3), 375-84.

Shams, L., Kamitani, Y., & Shimojo, S. (2000). What you see is what you hear. Nature, 408 (December), 788-788.

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