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Elderly people are concerned about maintaining their mental vitality. However, many among the elderly are computer illiterate, and cannot benefit from the growing number of computer programs designed to preserve cognitive ability. Instead, they resort to television viewing. Today, they represent the largest proportion of the television viewing public. This remains true even though it is has been established that television viewing has adverse cognitive effects on the elderly. This project intends to use a combination of cognitive psychology, the television medium and advanced interactive Information Computer Technology (ICT) to enable the elderly to actively participate in mind fitness exercises while they are sitting in front of their TV set. The Vital Mind Consortium has the expertise to transform passive television viewing into dynamic activities of mental preservation and intellectual enhancement. Such cerebral stimulation in a mentally rich environment is crucial for healthy aging. Because cognitive decline in aging people affects functional outcomes such as frequent lapses of memory (forgetting of where things are placed, forgetting the first names of people, etc…), unsafe driving behaviour, as well as a diminution in autonomy and quality of life , the proposed project will assist in prolonging older adults’ personal autonomy and consequently promote their active participation in Society. Such a tool would easily be integrated in the homes of handicapped individuals to speed the rehabilitation process. It would alleviate common prevailing age-related impairments such as deficits in executive functioning, memory and speed of processing.

Expected outcomes

The ambitious objectives of Vital Mind are outlined in five main areas:

  • Design and develop cognitive activities to enhance the basic elements of cognition and to improve quality of living for senior citizens. Determine which of four approaches to cognitive training will guarantee the greater cognitive gains
  • Develop new methods for user’s control by detection of hands movement using vision and/or gyro
  • Develop new methods for user’s control by detection of non-voice vocal commands
  • Produce Authoring and Production Tools for iDTV STB (Linux MHP)
  • Develop the use of USB Flash Device-UFD (Disk on Key) as an addition or alternative to broadcast delivery system

The project relies on a strong industrial and academy alliance. It aims at reinforcing the MHP standard by adding extensions in terms of natural input and USB auto-loadable software (version 1.1 of MHP, which is not yet applied by current STBs, considers a USB drive as a possible option, thus there is room for and work to do in the direction of the Vital Mind document). These extensions will be proposed to the MHP standardization body, in view of possible upgrades in the touched fields in the future releases of the standard. Of course, these extension concern algorithms and methodologies that can be easily re-implemented and ported also on different hardware/software platforms.

Project Patners

CogniFit Ltd.

Goldsmith College

Philips Innovative Lab

Czech Technical University

University of Genoa

University of Dundee

University of Hradec Kralove

Czech TV


The project Vital Mind is founded by the European Community through the ICT programe under FP7 with the grant agreement number ICT-215387.

;;# Person responsible for the page content: Ing. Jiří Bittner, Ph.D. ;;#

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