"One must still have chaos in oneself
to give birth to a dancing star."
from: "Also spracht Zarathustra"
Mobility means freedom, flexibility and autonomy
for all citizens, including older persons. Aging is characterized
by functional changes that can create gait and balance disturbances
in elderly, which are the main risk factor for falling. Elderly
at risk of falling can be considered to be suffering from an involuntary
motor behaviour that restricts their participation in society.
One method to overcome such a situation is to activate a new learning
process to better approach real life tasks, that represents an
The SMILING project is planning to diminish age related impairments
by interfering with mobility disability and improving carry-over
into real life situations. The new approach is intended to challenge
the patient to solve new motor problems in real time by inducing
variable environments that need active response and problem solving
from the target population.
This multidisciplinary project aims at a reorganization of
the rehabilitation process in ageing, through new training procedures
and advanced technologies needed to deliver them.
The SMILING solution, a wearable computer-controlled device, is
aimed to implement a systemic solution to re-model training sessions
used prevalently in fitness clubs or home environments to facilitate
and ameliorate walking schemas.
The end-users needs have been assessed and they are involved
in feasibility tests currently on going.
In the design, special attention was given to the acceptance and
usability of new technology, within the constrains set by the
The SMILING system configures itself as a motorised
shoe driven by a devoted user unit. Two prototypes of shoe,
based on different mechanical actuators, were developed and
on the bases of preliminary tests one was selected to go under
clinical testing. On the other side the control
electronics underwent miniaturisation to set up the final
The final product will improve mobility and functional status
of target populations significantly prolonging independent living,
increasing active participation in society across prevailing age-related
impairments, and provide mobility aspects of active ageing.