As age increases a person's motor skills/schemes tend to decrease gradually.
The currently existing training and rehabilitation methods are based on movement repetition and correction
or balance training for standing, and not on problem solving for active walking.
Although activities of daily living often require maintaining balance during the performance of several concurrent tasks,
balance is most often trained under single-task conditions (e.g. standing, walking, and transfer).
In light of research indicating that inability to perform concurrent tasks is a contributing factor to instability and falls
in many older adults, it has been suggested that training balance under both single- and dual-task conditions
is necessary to optimize functional independence and reduce falls in elderly people.
Elderly people adapt themselves towards a slower and safer gait in order to avoid falling.
Most common alterations are increased double support time and reduced stride length and velocity.
Fallers can be considered as suffering from a Mobility Disability -
defined as a reduced ability to manage complex environmental demands on walking,
due to an involuntary and stereotyped motor behaviour that restricts their participation in society.
One method to overcome such a situation is to break the stereotyped motion schema
and activate a new learning process to approach real life tasks in a better way,
by directly influencing motor behaviour, i.e. the way an action is designed and not muscular force or joint mobility only.
The SMILING project merges innovative theories in walking and balance training with state-of-the-art ICT technologies
to implement an effective, cheap and easy to use solution to be spread widely in health centres,
fitness clubs and rehabilitation environments.
The SMILING project plans to diminish age related impairments through the interference of diminished neural plasticity
that limits walking ability and by continuing these functional improvements into real life situations.
If you want to keep informed on the SMILING system from a clinician perspective, let us know
To learn more:
See how the SMILING system works
An introductory movie of the SMILING system (28Mb)
Headlines in European Research