Vitalise-Project / When experience and innovation are met, they VITALISE success. These are our partners’ stories!

When experience and innovation are met, they VITALISE success. These are our partners’ stories!

If Living labs are the most dynamic version of improving and promoting knowledge for life, then the VITALISE project is the cradle of modern science and research. It provides fertile ground for innovation, flexibility, collaborative learning and progress with the aim of building more sustainable and well-functioning societies. It guarantees convenient access to research infrastructures, proper training of the research community to optimally exploit all the crucial Living Lab tools in various fields of study. It emphasizes on developing high standards of science literacy, acquiring and spreading the knowledge. VITALISE is the most promising opportunity to consider and redefine education and healthcare systems which can cooperate suitably in order to produce advanced forms of living and wellbeing.

That’ s why we chose to realize the VITALISE project along with significant partners. Our collaborators share the same vision with us. Each and every one of them contribute to this venture by living up to the expectation of a wider understanding and valorization of Living Lab methodologies through pioneering and creative training methods of research. Their success stories inspire trust, admiration and respect. And they certainly deserve to be known!

WAALTeR, an Ambient Assisted Living technology that can potentially improve the quality of life of elderly people

Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) with a long expertise on the realm of development and evaluation of care and support actions, had a leading role regarding “Wiener Active and Assisted Living Testregion” (WAALTeR), a 3-year project funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency. It took place at the participants’ homes in Vienna.

Objective & Methods

The aim of the project was to evaluate whether an Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) technology can improve the quality of life of urban citizens aged 60 years and older. Overall, 150 individuals participated in the study, 90 in the intervention group and 60 in the control group. A mixed methods approach (quantitative questionnaires, qualitative interviews) was applied, and outcome variables were measured at five measurement points over a period of 12 months. The multifunctional system that was developed, was implemented for a specific target group, applying a user-centred design approach, containing both custom and popular commercial applications, available in a regular app store. Various interesting results derived from this effort.

Results & Conclusions

Interesting differences in the motivation for participation were identified. This concerned individual and technology-related aspects (e.g., improving digital competencies) along with social and care-related aspects (e.g., social exchange, explore opportunities for aged care). Moreover, the study revealed the importance of engagement within the context of the study, i.e., regular meetings in person. Meeting other people of the study was expressed as key aspect of engagement by participants. Finally, the use of technology needs to be understood in a socio technical context regarding the interaction, the discussions and the complex life-worlds of participants, taking part in these studies.

A digital assistant supporting patients in managing their chronic disease

This study was part of a 2-years project and took place at the participants’ homes, basically in Vienna. AIT, Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH was responsible for the exploration of the needs of users with a chronic disease. AIT developed personalized strategies for prevention and behaviour change and strategies in dealing with the disease.

Objective & Methods

The project aimed at developing a digital assistant (app) supporting patients in managing their chronic disease through persuasion and gamification by motivating them to engage in physical activity. To encourage the formation of ad-hoc support groups and real-life meetings, participants could connect digitally. The digital assistant was designed to support patients in significantly reducing crises thanks to a user-centred design approach focusing on the requirements, wishes, and concerns of the patients. A total of 20 people consisted of patients, physicians, and experts were involved in this three-months venture which delivered useful and safe scientific results. Field trial user satisfaction as well as changes in health, quality of life and physical activity behaviour and the persuasive effect of the app’s design elements were investigated. A mixed methods approach was applied. Firstly, all participants were invited to a meet-up in order to be informed about the procedure of the study and the app. Participants were using the app in everyday life and were asked to use a diary, to document their experiences. Quantitative data (from questionnaires etc.) and qualitative data (participants’ notes from the diary) were analysed.

Results & Conclusions

During the study, user satisfaction increased, however only one third of the participants regularly used the assistant. Those users indicated that they found the app useful and were motivated by the assistant. A positive impact in terms of health and quality of life was identified. The data support evidence that there may be a strong relationship between individual characteristics and the impact of persuasive elements.

Open, accessible and inclusive cultural theatre experience for all

The project was carried out from 2019-2021 in Montréal, by researchers from McGill-UdeM-CRIR, the Segal Centre for Performing Arts and other partners.

Objectives & Methods

Its goal was the co-creation of a ‘relaxed performance’ in a performing arts centre in Canada (Segal Centre), through an approach that provides strategies for an inclusive theatre environment, with stakeholder participation both throughout the research process and from within the theatre itself. Participants included persons living with a disability (person on the autism spectrum, person with mobility or visual impairment, elderly), the various personnel at the Segal Centre, local community partners, cultural groups, and local rehabilitation centres. An interdisciplinary, participatory action research approach was applied, wherein an interactive series of phases occurred. Data collection consisted of four phases during the rehearsal, the performance, the meetings held with the participants and the researchers’ involvement in each phase of the project. The strategies used included specific support methods and tools that emerged from the study.

Results & Conclusions

The outcomes of this project were theatre-specific adaptations that would benefit participation in future theatrical performances including accessibility and security improvements of the theatre space, as well as adapted notes on performances and information materials, strategies and technological tools for patrons (by developing of a tactile map, an audio description of a theatre performance etc.). The Centre was very open to receive and act upon the adaptive materials that were provided, and integrated ideas immediately into the preparation of the performance and the spaces. With the continuation of the implementation of project findings, the cultural experience of the theatre became more inclusive for all.

Physical and cognitive function participation and inclusion optimised altogether

The study was conducted in 2016-2018 by researchers from McGill-UdeM-CRIR, at the Virtual Reality and Mobility Lab at the CRIR research in Laval, Québec, Canada. This venture was part and a continuation of the Mall as A Living Lab (RehabMALL) project (Kehayia & Swaine, 2011-2016).

Objective & Methods

It aimed at developing technology and promoting interventions to optimize physical and cognitive function participation and inclusion, identifying the environmental, physical and social obstacles and facilitators to participation. Through the whole process, CRIR researchers, clinicians and collaborators had the opportunity to conduct concerted work in a naturalistic setting, within the environment of a shopping mall. There were more than 50 researchers, academic and clinical collaborators, as well as commercial/industrial, and community partners in the shopping complex and the rehabilitation research labs in Montreal and internationally. The team sought to investigate dual-task ability during walking in the community. On the one hand, the aim of the study was to assess locomotor and cognitive dual-task costs (DTC) in activities indicative of daily living, by using virtual reality (VR), in healthy adults, and on the other hand, to explore the influence of the nature and complexity of cognitive and locomotor tasks on DTC.

Results & Conclusions

A VR setup was used to assess DT ability in a virtual shopping mall corridor, where participants had to walk while remembering a shopping list. In challenging locomotor and cognitive conditions within the ecologically valid, real environment of the shopping mall, healthy young adults presented DTC in cognitive accuracy, which was influenced by the locomotor task complexity task and the cognitive task nature. A similar VR-based protocol was being planned to investigate DT abilities in older adults and individuals with a stroke.

MinD the gap… of memory by investing in self-empowerment, social engagement and support of people with dementia

MinD was carried out during the period of March 2016 – February 2020. This project was designed for mindful self-empowerment, social engagement and support of people with dementia. It identified and addressed the wishes and the needs of patients with early to mid-stage dementia concentrating on enabling and placing people first. MinD had 3 stages: data collection, design development, and evaluation. INTRAS participated in it coordinating 6 secondments with access to the INTRAS regional network of infrastructures and services. MinD was based on a novel partnership of designers, researchers, healthcare professionals, technologists and people with dementia. It has included 18 partners from 8 European and international countries, and partner groups with lived experience of dementia, working together, in the development of a framework involving mindfulness, participatory involvement and co-design and in its implementation.

Objective & Methods

This venture aimed at a joint collaboration on identifying and developing design solutions that can help people with dementia manage, enjoy and get the most out of their daily lives. Thus, two distinct design products improving patients’ quality of life were developed: This is Me (TIM) a mindful life-storytelling and interactive decision-making board game, and Let’s Meet Up!, a digital platform for social interaction with chosen family or friends.

Results & Conclusions

These products helped to reduce anxiety, and enhance quality of life, well-being, confidence and social contact for people with dementia. Their combination created a climate of mutual respect, meaningful social interaction and team working, and it encouraged acceptance of the past and present situation. Impacts were noted in feedback after or during sessions. MinD design guidelines and policy set out how to plan for, engage and work with people with dementia, ensuring also a cultural partnership across Europe of dementia orientated designers, design informed health professionals and people with lived experience as potential co-researchers. In relation to professional practice, education and policy, the MinD Design Guidelines summarise the experience and insights of working with people with dementia and they include guidance aimed to benefit education and service provision planning.  Incorporating good design into care practice requires a change of thinking. And MinD has a significant influence on this.

Promoting transnational collaboration to increase participation in procurement actions

The PROCURA project, Promoting Innovation Procurement for Active ageing and the Autonomy of people, started in April 2018 and ended in September 2021. The project consortium involved a multidisciplinary team consisted of professionals from France, Spain and Portugal, with an expertise in social and health care, technological development, research, innovation, commercial field, public services. The INTRAS Foundation also participated in the project through the RDi department and its living lab MINDLab which has a research team with extensive experience in the field of working with people in vulnerable situations, research, participatory methodologies, co-creation, co-design sessions and pilots.

Objective & Methods

The project aimed at promoting transnational collaboration to increase participation in procurement actions, seeking engagement between administrations, businesses, innovation ecosystems and citizens to support innovation procurement opportunities in the SUDOE area. INTRAS Foundation focused on the valorisation of the Innovation Model and access to business opportunities and collaborations in the field of RDi to bring new care solutions to the market. Within the constitution and formalisation of the Community of Regions, INTRAS, a pioneer in co-creative methodologies, oversaw the collaborative framework, designed the governance model adapted to the regions, created a horizontal and participative model and constituted the CRP with its inscription in the corresponding specific register. Moreover, INTRAS coordinated the activity of defining the participatory design and co-creation methodology through its Living Lab, MINDLAB certified by EnoLLL (European Network of Living Labs), which promoted open innovation and involved real users who participated in all phases of design, execution, testing and validation of the prototypes. One of the most important activities that was organised was the piloting of technologies (testing and validation process of the prototypes), with a work plan specially designed to guide the Innovative Public Procurement. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected through scientifically validated methods and provided socio-demographic and clinical information about the users and their experience with the use of the technology.

Results & Conclusions

INTRAS’ participation in PROCURA has brought benefits such as increasing participation in PPI processes and integration of Participatory and Co-creative Design methodologies with stakeholders (including users) in the definition of new or improved care pathways involved in PPI. It also facilitated the intervention potential of resources such as the Research and Innovation Centre “IBIP-Lab” co-financed by the POCTEP Operational Programme. In addition, INTRAS’ participation gave opportunities for the interoperative boosting of the development of the regional RDi ecosystem for health, wellbeing and independent living, generating knowledge, its transfer and the promotion of a better connection with the market for the scaling of new care solutions. Furthermore, a synergy with other European projects such as CAPTAIN or MIND was promoted, and one more benefit was co-creating of assistive technologies that respond to identified needs.

Enhancing physical activity with aging people through recreational football activities

Laurea UAS was the coordinator of the project 6-0! – Promoting health through recreational football which was realised in Finland. Local football club was a major partner. Finnish FA was collaborating by giving needed support and learning from the activities. Professors and personnel mainly from the sports and exercise departments, and people with living lab background were associated with the project as well. This venture focused on enhancing physical activity with aging people through recreational football activities.

Objective & Methods

It aimed to strengthen health and functional ability via fun physical and social activity. Each partner collected a group of persons 65+ years of age for 12 weeks, twice a week, and scheduled program. Prior and after that period training session the actions each participant´s physical capabilities were monitored. Also, during the sessions, the intensity of the activity was assessed in different ways. Most of the participants had no prior experience on football. One of the carrying ideas of the project was to activate senior citizen in a new, fun and social way. Social interactions between participants before, during and after the activity session were important. As there are over 150 scientific papers to support football fitness program, project activities had solid evidence-based background for all actions.

Results & Conclusions

Results showed football fitness very effective and feasible for participants of this age group. These results were very much in align with the research evidence. Football fitness was fun and social. Participant´s measured physical capacities were improved significantly. One major result from the project was a wake-up for the football fitness possibilities. Testing protocol was sharpened and gave the whole project an indication that the protocol was feasible and easy to administrate to this target group. The project showed that this kind of measures can also be applied for football fitness and this age group. Also, K5 wearable metabolic measure can be applied also for the ball sports. From the project partners’ point of view two doctoral thesis works have been started from the project materials. Perhaps the biggest impact of the project has been that the participants have found a new hobby and many of them continue with football fitness activity.

Improving one’ s professional Finnish by using innovative means

Boost your professional Finnish by simulations (HoitoSisu) was a pedagogical development project funded by the Ministry of Culture and Education (Finland) and executed in simulation facilities in Laurea’s Tikkurila campus by two nursing lecturers and a Finnish language lecturer. It was conducted 2019-2021 in Laurea University of Applied Sciences.

Objective & Methods

The project was focused on improving professional Finnish of the non-native speaker nursing students in the English nursing program. The aim of the project was to develop a pedagogical model (a course) utilising simulations to improve nursing students’ Finnish language skills in clinical nursing practice. The students were selected to the pilot group based on their results in mid-studies Finnish test. The course was carried out within seven weeks’ period and it included lectures in Finnish focusing on the clinical nursing themes, which the students had studied earlier in English. The lectures were followed by Finnish language workshop, and finally in the end of each week, the students trained their clinical nursing and Finnish language skills in the simulated patient scenarios. The project utilised facilities of the simulated hospitals such as patient manikins, camera and recording system and various healthcare equipment. There were 20 nursing students participating in the pilot course. They were selected from the Laurea’s English nursing degree program. Laurea Simulated Hospital is commonly used in various study units in nursing programs, and this project used same facilities such as patient manikins, camera and recording system and various healthcare equipment.

Results & Conclusions

Feedback from the students participating in the pilot course was collected. Based on the students’ and teachers’ good experiences the course has been implemented in the curriculum as an elective course for the students who wanted to improve their Finnish language skills related to the clinical nursing practice.

Multiprofessional teamwork makes the difference in trauma care practice

Improved Multi-Professional Teamwork through Trauma Team Simulation Training Feedback was a project conducted in 2011 in collaboration between of Kanta-Häme Central Hospital and Laurea University of Applied Sciences. The project was executed in Kanta-Häme Central Hospital (KHCH). The training was led by a KHCH senior orthopaedic surgeon or anesthetist and a Laurea University of Applied Sciences simulation training experts.

Objective & Methods

The main areas of focus and the aims of the training were leadership, teamwork and communication skills, as well as specific medical techniques and situations. Multidisciplinary professional teamwork was a key element of the project. For example, when deploying new technology or devices in the care process, it is important that the whole multiprofessional team can utilize it. Therefore, simulations provide an opportunity to test how new technology affects the multiprofessional teamwork and how it could be improved. Each trauma team simulation training began with a team briefing, followed by the actual simulation training, and ending in a team briefing session. The simulation training cases were based on actual trauma cases that had previously occurred in KHCH. The minimum personnel in each training session were trauma team leader, anesthesiologist, surgical nurse, anesthesia nurse, laboratory technician, x-ray technician, radiologist, department secretary, and triage nurse. The simulation training took place in the hospital (KHCH) and used simulation manikins, camera and recording system and various medical devices.

Results & Conclusions

The structured feedback was collected from the participants. Based on the feedback, it can be concluded that simulation training is a good forum to introduce new working practices and standard as well as train multiprofessional teamwork.

Supporting sleep hygiene and early detection of sleep disorders

LiCalab was implemented by a project manager (MD – researcher), a panel manager (Master socio-economic sciences) and visiting researchers during June to December 2020. It took place at the citizens’ homes in Turnhout. The general objective was to offer an integrated approach for sleep disorders to citizens by testing and adapting two applications (device and mobile app) to support sleep hygiene and detect sleep disorders early.

Objective & Methods

The aim was to make citizens aware of good sleep hygiene and to offer support in their self-management. The initiative also aimed at integrating the solution with the practices of care experts in the field of sleep disorders, mainly primary care professionals. Through live testing, two technological applications in the home environment were tested and assessed by 30 subjects over a period of three to four weeks per test subject. The live tests aimed to capture user feedback about the prototype versions with specific attention to the user-friendliness and accessibility of the applications. This allowed further improvements to be implemented in a timely manner before the roll-out to the general public. Adults between the ages of 18 and 70 with chronic sleep disorders, where these sleep disorders have been present for at least one month. These adults have a smartphone or tablet and sufficient knowledge to get started with smartphone and/or online applications (in Dutch). Furthermore, there is no apparent underlying condition of the sleep disorder and there are no signs of dementia. LiCalab provided services such as: coordination of Living lab activities and of Medical-ethical application, recruitment of participants, selection of validated measurement scales (in close collaboration with the visiting researchers), facilitating an info-session and training session (to instruct the usage of the applications), conducting a pre- and post-measurement, analysis of data pre- and post-measurement, in close collaboration with the visiting researchers, and reporting along with the visiting researchers. The project utilised certain technologies such as: Moonbird device, Moonbird mobile app and Faresa mobile app. Personal data shared in pseudonymised way with visiting researchers.

Results & Conclusions

Moonbird was able to bring their device from a TRL4-level to a TRL7-level, based on the users’ feedback that came out of the live tests. As part of the larger study: new target populations were defined together with a group of care professionals. Moonbird was testing their application with professional football players and was co-creating a derived version of the device for children. Both in collaboration with LiCalab and care experts in the field of sleep disorders. Faresa could improve their blended care program they offer towards citizens (a combination of the mobile app and the professional advice given by psychologists).

Get fit without leaving the house thanks to Motiphy+

LiCalab case 2 was realised during the period of January to April 2022. It was a transnational set-up and infrastructure, a collaboration between: LiCalab (Belgium, City of Geel), University of Tübingen (Germany, Tübingen) and Central European Initiative (Italy, Trieste). LiCalab team members included a project manager (Master of mechanical engineering sciences), a panel manager (Master of communication sciences), a scientific coordinator and visiting researchers from company Clynx.

Objective & Methods

The Portuguese start-up Clynx developed Motiphy+, a game application for remote rehabilitation exercises. Motiphy+ was a telerehabilitation tool for exercising at home, in combination with sessions at the hospital. The physiotherapist and patient can follow-up the evolution through the online platform, the usage of a camera and a software which gave access to an online platform to track motions and to analyse the results of the exercises. Since the product (Motiphy+) was already developed, the co-creation has an added value in evaluating the concept and was set up as a group discussion with creative methods and techniques. The co-creation sessions focused on usability, user acceptance, willingness to pay and integration in existing care facilities, by means of context mapping of challenges in regional rehabilitation pathways, demonstration and ideation of the application. The human factors study aimed at investigating user interactions with the software and assessing comprehension of the instructions and user preferences in terms of design. Clynx was very positive about the collaboration with the living lab and the professional way of delivery of the services. For them it was their first international pilot action, the first time to work with end users outside their region.

Results & Conclusions

The end users made specific suggestions to enhance the design of the application, the instruction videos and gave their opinion about their willingness to pay. They said that a digital exercise solution like Motiphy+ has the great advantage that the patient doesn’t have to leave home and can plan their exercises in their own time, while having a great “fun factor” that motivates them. Some specific recommendations were made to improve functionalities of the application by the care professionals as well.

Mental fitness and well-being boosted by Menta 50+

Menta 50+. Learning to take actions for mental fitness and wellbeing in older age” (MENTA) was realised between 2012 and 2014, it was a part of a series of projects and research focusing on ageing adults.

Objective & Methods

It was an ambitious venture aiming to provide innovative solutions to a palpable need characteristic of most European countries. The main target groups of Menta were composed of facilitators and trainers dealing with adults over 50 years of age, providers and decision-makers. This project was proceeded by a 2-year programme on Maintaining Physical Fitness of people over 50 (with project acronym KIFLI), where various theoretical and practical support was given to this age group to preserve and develop their physical fitness. It developed online tools to ease measurement and was enriched by videos on recommended exercises. MENTA and its research and other activities were carried out by partners from various countries such as: Spain, Hungary, Austria, Italy, United Kingdom, Greece, Cyprus and Israel. The idea came from Trebag in Hungary as this programme was a direct continuation of their previous activities focusing on older adults. Trebag composed the project application and was the coordinator of the project, while the University of Malaga took over the role of promoter. The project sought to capitalize upon the experience and pool of knowledge of consortium members who endeavoured to empower providers, educators, and social actors as well as adults over 50 to take actions for their mental fitness and well-being with the help of the guidelines and materials provided within the project.

Results & Conclusions

The impact of this project included intensive communication between countries as well as among experts, older people, and project leaders, which led to a better understanding of the new approach and to wider dissemination. The research results and the main materials were made public on platform of research and reached a high number of downloads and references. The training materials developed got integrated into course curriculums of partners and associated partners programmes in the related field. Certain versions of the handbook were given ISBN numbers and compulsory copies were sent to the national libraries. As a matter of fact, the general public can easily and for free reach the product and benefit from it. Regarding the visibility of the project, it was increased, and its success became widespread with articles being published in several newspapers. The MENTA material was incorporated in adult education programs of institutions. The Hungarian partners has channelled this project into activities related to its Living Lab services for older adults. In Austria the Red Cross and its associated organizations use parts of the material in their daily cares.

InnoMe gets you adept at innovation culture and sharing knowledge thanks to new good practices

The InnoMe project (Training on Corporate Innovation Management System for Competitiveness) was a transnational project which was implemented between January 2015 and January 2018 and funded as part of the “Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices” action by European Commission’s Erasmus+.

Objective & Methods

The aim of InnoMe was to develop an educational material based on Innovation Management Standard for senior and middle managers of corporations, to enable them to establish and manage a process – controlling system. The research and development phase of the project was executed and implemented both at the headquarters of the participating organizations (consortium members), and also at those partner institutions – SMEs and large enterprises as well – that took an active and engaged role both at the research, development, and co-creation activities of the project. Trebag Ltd., was the leader of the consortium. The organization’ s professional portfolio includes quality management, innovation, e-economy, and e-learning. What can be considered as a novelty regarding co-creation and collaborative development, is that the project involved PhD students in project development itself from the Technical University of Kosice. The aim of the project was to facilitate the spread and use of the innovation management standard among small and medium companies, to promote its efficient implementation within their company management system, through the development of an educational material, that facilitates the implementation of the standard in a complex way and provides a system of tools for organizations/decision makers. Another objective of the project was raising awareness regarding innovation culture and promoting the preparedness of staff members involved in innovation activities by means of increasing and developing skills that are necessary to achieve innovation targets. One of the most important outcomes of the project was the creation of a community of experts in innovation management and a network of organizations and communities that will be interested in sharing their knowledge and practice. Therefore, the final strategy of the project was focused on building these paths of collaboration and using them as key dissemination channels. In order to drive efficiency and promote an international cooperation, InnoMe consortium proposed to work closely with various networks and other projects to share data, best practices, lessons learned and resources. Trebag as a Wellbeing Living Lab played a significant role in several developments because of its diverse experiences in co-creations and training activities related to the innovation standard and the implementation of the standard. Trebag provided a knowledge-base and a knowledge-transfer in order to scaffold the project. When developing the new training materials in the framework of the InnoMe project, the experiences of previous projects were incorporated by Trebag and the Consortium;

Results & Conclusions

An important impact of the project was familiarizing the participating organizations with the new standard. The project created new attitudes and new value systems in the partner organizations and helped in identifying risks. The innovation standard as a management tool was considered a new method in this field and may also be used as a tool for organization development.

Our project was a step towards our long-run goal that more and more domestic and foreign companies could efficiently apply the IMS standard, thus increasing their innovation capability and efficiency. The project reached both the academic and the business sector via the network of the partnership, which includes educational and training organizations, HR consultancy companies, innovation associations, businesses in the car and related industry as well as governmental bodies and NGOs. All the intellectual outputs are available at the project website in each partner language and in English, and the members of our network have been informed about these via the above-mentioned methods. Therefore, the project has fostered the cooperation and communication between the educational and private sectors. The training material related to the innovation standard helps in developing products and services and represents an added value in corporate culture. Further impacts on the partners, who started to establish and use IMS, that their staff have developed their competences in generating new products and services, technologies, organizational and marketing solutions. The experiences the partners gained from each other as well as those related to project implementation help in developing a new attitude which may promote the generation of training elements related to innovation and management on the long run.