D1. Aging and Disability Innovation Garden

Specific Aims
The purpose of this project is to advance the development, deployment, and adoption of software applications (“apps”) to support aging with disability. The work will include apps that are useful not only to the target users, but to all users. Specifically, we propose to work on development of at least 3 apps per year. The number will vary as time and resources needed for any given app will depend on its scope and complexity. Several apps, have already been identified for development in Years 1-3. These are described in greater detail as subprojects D1.1. Cognitive Training, D1.2. ALIGN App and D1.3. Gait Speed. The selection of future apps for development will be done through a competitive open call that is the focus of the Aging and Disability Innovation Garden. In this way, app development will function as an “open shop” where apps may be developed by RERC investigators or others (including students) within or outside the GA Tech community. This will allow us to take advantage of expertise that may not exist within the RERC.

  • D1.1 Cognitive Training Game
    Recently, there has been an increasing interest in activity-engagement interventions to halt or reverse age-related cognitive decline, with considerable effort focused on the use of video games. A new market has emerged for computer-based “brain games” for cognitive training. However, little is known about the effectiveness or usability of such games for older adults with disabilities. In a prior study, GA Tech and NC State developed a cognitive game for older adults, Food for Thought. The game was informed both by research on the types of activities that result in cognitive benefit and extensive usability and play-testing with individuals with mild to moderate mobility impairment. In this development project we will use Food For Thought as a starting point to develop, study, and deploy a cognitive training game that is usable by people aging with mild/moderate motor disabilities, such as MS or Parkinson’s, who are experiencing age-related sensory loss.
  • D1.2 An App for Locational Intelligence and Geospatial Navigation (ALIGN)
    Adults aging with long term ambulatory disabilities generally use familiar outdoor routes that fit their functional abilities and AT. However, the onset of age-related comorbid functional losses associated with progressive chronic conditions, such as MS, Parkinson’s and ALS, create a new set of environmental challenges that often exceed the abilities of these individuals, even on long-used routes. Despite these challenges, the real barrier to outdoor mobility is the lack of information with which to plan safe and appropriate alternative routes. Building on prior work at CATEA, CGIS and the CDC Healthy Aging Network (CDC-HAN), this project will develop and evaluate the feasibility of a mobile app (ALIGN) to inform outdoor route planning by people aging with ambulatory disabilities who are experiencing comorbid functional losses.
  • D1.3 A Mobile Application to Measure Gait Speed
    Multiple studies have shown a consistently strong association between gait speed of frail older adults and negative functional (e.g., survival) and activity outcomes. However, health care professionals have been slow to measure this physiologic parameter, largely due to the lack of a simple, standardized way of measuring it. The purpose of this project is to develop a reliable, simple, and cost-effective mobile app to measure gait speed and demonstrate the feasibility of this measure as a predictive tool to identify risk of functional decline and activity limitation in frail elders who are aging with ambulatory disability.