In collaboration with KU Leuven and residential care centre Witte Meren in Mol, VITO researchers have developed an exercise bicycle which the elderly can virtually cycle with through their old hometown. VITO aims to encourage physical activity among the elderly and at the same time to monitor their health.
The new exercise bicycle is linked to a display that simulates the feeling of a ride through the village using images taken from Google Street View. The smart bicycle not only motivates seniors to exercise, it also provides a range of information on their health and physical activity: cadence, heart rate, ability to orientate …. This allows the early detection of health problems such as heart failure or Alzheimer's disease. The exercise bicycle not only provides the residents of the care centre with their daily portion of exercise, it also stimulates social contact.
In September 2014, the interactive bicycle project was awarded the biennial Janssen Open Innovation Award by the Kempen Innovation Council, and it has received the support of the King Baudouin Foundation and the Flanders Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VOKA) Health Community. Residential care centre Witte Meren is now looking for a commercial partner to implement the project elsewhere.
In partnership with KU Leuven, VITO developed software that allows for people to cycle along a route of their choosing. VITO uses the data obtained while cycling to monitor the health of the cyclists.