Great news again in our group! On April 25th an article about Lifeshare was presented in Corriere Innovazione, one of the top Italian news website for innovation and technology. In the article, Juan Jara explains that thanks to Lifeshare grandparents will feel less lonely, even if their grandchildren are far away. He presents Lifeshare as a touchless app that runs without the need of touching anything. Grandparents can now get updates from their grandchildren through an automatic slideshow that can be visualized direclty on the screen of their mobile phones.

Read the article on Corriere Innovazione

We set up an trial with 40 older adults from Trento, Italy, who were performing a tailored exercise program for a period of two months (October ~ December, 2014). The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of personalised home-based physical activity programs for older adults using Gymcentral, and to explore the relationship with physical, psychological and social wellbeing. Participants were divided in two groups: a study group using the full Gymcentral application, and a control group using a simple application focused only on the training aspect. All participants were provided with a sensor to measure their overal physical activity.

One of the indicators we considered as part of the study in relation to the feasibility of home-based exercises is the persistance rate. From the total number of sessions (24) planned for the 8 weeks of study (3 sessions per week), we asked participants to carry out at least two of the three sessions prepared for each week. To calculate the persistence rate, the total number of exercise sessions in which each participant took part was divided by 24 (the total number of sessions).

Below we show the persistence rate of the of the two groups over the training program. The general persistence rate in the two groups was 76% (SD=22.5%), well above the threshold of 70% that was considered an acceptable criterion for success. More specifically, in the study group the persistence rate was 85%, while in the control group it was 65%.

If we group the participation by week and disitribute the users by number of participations per week (1, 2 and 3), we can see that participants of the study group not only complied with the coach's instructions, but they did more. This indicates that the features of the Gymcentral app were more engaging than those from the simple app. See the results in the chart below.

The activity programs were designed with the purpose of improving specific body functions. By measuring the improvements on the trainees as a result of the training, we're not only assessing the effectiveness of the program per se, but the effectiveness of the GymCentral as well. Two types of assessment exercises, developed and validated within the Otago Exercise Program (A. J. Campbell et al., 1997; J. C. Campbell & Robertson, 2003), were used to measure participants' leg muscle strength and walking ability at the beginning and at the end of the study. Below we illustrate the difference between both measurements.

With regard to leg muscle strength, a mixed between-within subjects analysis of variance was conducted to compare pre- and post- scores in the 30 second Chair Stand test between participants in the study and in the control group. Participants in the study group performed better that participants in the control group. This could be due to random variability, possibly related to the small sample size, but still does not affect negatively the results confirming that leg muscle strength significantly improved in both groups after the eight weeks period of training. Moreover, multiple comparison tests with Bonferroni correction showed that both groups significantly improved after eight weeks of training (p < .001 for the study group and p = .032 for the control group).

For gait speed, a mixed between-within subjects analysis of variance was conducted to compare pre- and post- gait speed in the Timed Up & Go test between participants in the study and in the control group. Although the interaction was not significant, multiple comparison tests with Bonferroni correction showed that gait speed significantly improved for the study group (p = .002) but not for the control group (p = .285).

For more information and insights about these studies, contact us at gymcentral.net

Juan Jara presented LifeShare in the ICTdays 2015. The ICTdays is an annual event organized by the Department of Information Engineering and Computer Science of the University of Trento, Italy. The event is dedicated to the broad subject of Information and Communication Technologies, and devoted to bringing together the representatives and members from both the academy and industry.

Watch the video below and learn about LifeShare in 200 seconds.

LifeParticipation in collaboration with care home Toblini in Malcesine (http://www.caatoblini.it/) is launching a new study where older adults visit the new museum of natural sciences in Trento (MUSE) with the help of tablet application. The participants will be presented with a virtual museum interface and follow a group of people (e.g., family members) in the museum visit through a narrative that connects the exhibits on the path. This research aims to understand effects on engagement, enjoyment and social and spatial co-presence for remote museum visiting.

In collaboration with Tomsk Polytechnic University, we are conducting user studies to evaluate the impact of Lifeshare in the wellbeing of its users. More specifically, we are measuring the changes on self-reported loneliness, happiness and connectedness of the users after one month of use of Lifeshare.

Each group of participants of the user study is composed of: an older adult, and one or more younger relatives that live in a different city than the older adult. The older adult needs to have a tablet with the Lifeshare Tablet application installed on it, and the younger relatives need to have each a smartphone with the Lifeshare Mobile application installed. If you would like to participate in the study, please contact us.

Good news for a good start of 2015! On 10th February GymCentral went live on the Italian National television to take part of Rai3's TGR Leonardo, a regional headlines and news program that presents the latests news from the world of science: tecnology, health, economy, environment and society.

We are happy to share the video with you. Just click on the image bellow to watch it and go to minute 06:28.


We have put all our passion into making GymCentral a great tool and we want you and the world to know about this. At gymcentral.net you can find the lastest news and releases of our tool, meet our team, get an early access to our platform, explore our APIs for developers, and much more. Go on and visit our website and discover that excersicing at home isn't boring anymore!

We're happy to announce that our paper Come Along: understanding and motivating participation to social leisure activities by Beatrice Valeri, Marcos Baez and Fabio Casati, won the best paper award at Social Computing and its Application, SCA 2013. The conference was held in Karlsruhe, Germany, and started on monday the 30th of September with the workshops and continued for two other days.

The paper reports on a series of studies we run aiming at understanding what shapes people's decision in participating of leisure activities. A summary of the paper can be found in the abstract below:

In this paper we study the factors that affect people's decision in participating in leisure activities in the social and cultural environment. To this end, we collected the ratings of local people from three different cities around the world on standard leisure activities, and looked at the personal, social and contextual features shaping their preferences. We then used this dataset to evaluate how these features can be exploited to recommend places people would actually like. Our initial results suggest that friends are a good source for recommending places, with higher precision and recall than considering only popular places; but these can be improved reducing the scope to similar friends in the context of the particular activity. We have also found that people preferences are sensitive to the companion (e.g., partner, friends, tourists) for which they look for different features. The results also suggest that similarities in the preferences of people can be extended to other activities, which points to the potential of profiling users based on lifestyle. We finally present the design and prototype of a system, namely ComeAlong, which aims at helping people discover, find and participate to social and leisure activities.

At the conference 18 full papers and 15 short papers were presented, coming from all around the world. We had a good keynote of Jennifer Golbeck about state of the art of user profiling and its risks. The conference was held together with the CGC conference about cloud and green computing. The assignment of the best paper award was very discussed by the three chairs of the conference and the other two candidate papers were really good. One was about the integration of microblogging into spreadsheets and more in general into domain specific language editors. The authors created an easy way for a person to ask questions about spreadsheet formulas to the community of experts on his same domain thanks to the integration with twitter. The other paper was about the prediction of the result of the republican presidential preelection by analysing people's opinions on social networks.
In occasion of the inauguration of MUSE, the new museum of natural sciences of Trento (Italy), ComeAlong has been published in its version dedicated to museums and their cultural events. This smartphone application will allow people to be aware of all cultural events and exhibitions organised by the involved museums and to receive a gift in exchange of a Facebook message advertising the event or exhibition they want to participate to. If you are interested in attending the opening of MUSE on the 27th July (this Saturday!!), check its program with the app "MUSEI TRENTINO", available for Android and iPhone only in Italian language!.

Download the Andoid version

Download the iPhone version

When we got in touch with the people from Selección Texo a month ago, we got very excited about their project: they wanted to bring together pieces of popular and native art from Paraguay into one great exhibition. Quoting the organisers:

A community proud of its culture is a community that moves forward, a community that grows and evolves. We want to share our art and culture with the entire world!

Our team at Lifeparticipation.org, with the great help of paraguayan engineer Maximiliano Báez , put its hands to work own ways of i) helping organisers provide great experiences to their visitors and ii) helping them disseminate the great work their were doing. As a result we developed an Android application, namely Selección Texo, based on our previous research, to help visitors learn more about the artefacts in the exhibition, bookmark the artefacts they like the most, and share their experiences with friends and family. The Android application comes with an accompanying virtual booklet that visitors receive by email as souvenir from their experience.

From 8 to 12 of July, Juan Jara participated of the International Conference on Web Engineering, in Alborg, North Denmark. At the conference, Juan presented a paper entitled "Social spreadsheet" a tool for performing social media analysis using a spreadsheet-based approach. Given the interesting approach and quality of the tool, it was invited to participate of the demo and poster session where it got a lot of attention and positive feedback. In a co-located workshop, ComposableWeb 2013, he also presented the paper "From Simple Flow to Social Applications", a tool for designing and executing social applications using a process-based approach.
At lifeparticipation, we try to involve interns, as any other team member, in all aspects of our research: from the conceptualization to the design, development and evaluation of our IT solutions. We try to give them a full experience that can help them grow professionally and personally. This is why it makes us very happy to see our students culminating successfully this process. On Tuesday 16th 2013, Endrit and Nicola presented the work that we briefly describe below:

Endrit in his work "Storytelling the museum experience" contributed to the design, development and evaluation of a tool for facilitating and increasing the storytelling of museum experiences, targeted at users of all abilities

Nicola in this work "Knowledge base for reminiscense" modeled and built a knowledge base and a set of core services that aggregated and ranked contextual resources (pictures, video, audio), to provide structured and meaningful information to applications for reminiscing.

Congratulations to Endrit and Nicola for their excellent work!

On May 14th 2013 at the Careum Bildungszentrum, the Fachstelle für Präventive Beratung Spitex Zürich and the ActiveLifestyle team won the Projektwettbewerb 2013 prize given by the Gesundheitsnetz2025 (www.gn2025.ch) as the best interdisciplinary and innovative project in 2013. The Gesundheitsnetz2025 is an association of healthcare-organisations in the greater area of Zürich. It promotes innovative forms of interdisciplinary cooperation towards integrated care.
During the last weekend of Christmas holidays, we ran a study at the Museum of Sciences in Trento (http://www.mtsn.tn.it/). We provided visitors the possibility to have a memory of their visit to the Homo Sapiens exhibition, a personalised digital photo album containing maximum 10 out of the 32 exhibits in the exhibition.
This study is part of an on-going work related to the Liquid Galleries project that we are carrying on to understand how to support visitors' sharing of the museum experience once back home, in particular to people that are not able to directly visit the museum because of physical or cognitive deficiencies.
Most of visitors appreciated our application and many of them also answered to a questionnaire about the sharing of their personal memories. The results show that if people are able to collect some memories during their visit, like the photobook, they find it easier to share their experience with relatives and friends.
On the 10th December we concluded the ActiveLifestyle study with the control group in Horgen, Switzerland. During 12-weeks 17 participants of the control group followed balance and strength training plans independently at home without any technological support, in other words, without the support of the ActiveLifestyle app.
We felt very happy and glad for noticing physical improvements also in this group. It's motivating to see elderly people aiming to improve or keep their independence and physical condition. Moreover, it was interesting to noticed that some elderly participants using only a piece of paper, without any extra motivation, presented high level of adherence to the training plans.
We felt especially glad for seeing one of the participants standing up of a chair without using his arms. During the pre-test, this men was not capable of doing that. Physical exercises definitely help!!!
Soon we will be back to share with you what we learned from this 12-weeks study, be tunned.
At last, but not least we would like to thank Katharina Mayer and the Alterswohnungen Turm-Matt (http://www.az-turmmatt.ch/site/home.aspx ) care center for their support.
After two successful period of tests, many improvements and tests, Active Lifestyle app is available in App Store (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/it4life-activelifestyle/id465295073?mt=8).

The Active Lifestyle app offers three levels of dedicated Strength and Balance physical exercise training plans for elderly. Using an interactive, friendly and easy to use interface, old adults, without any computer skills, are able to perform workout sessions and improve their balance and lower body muscle strength. The Active Lifestyle app offers videos and rich written information about the exercises, stores the trainer's performance and progress toward the plan. Yet, to make the exercising activity more motivating, the trainers can share their performance and interact with other training partners who are following the same training plans. However, sharing is not mandatory: the app also supports a version where nothing needs to be shared.

The Active Lifestyle app is free of charge! To start training you only need a gmail account and some specific physical training material (i.e., one Pilates ball, one resistance band, and a pair of ankle weights).
In 3 hours of intensive and fun activity, they shared with us their most valuable memories and stories, including pictures, old post-cards and even a letter from 1928!. It was an inspiring a touching experience. To hear all those stories and be part of them for a couple of hours.

After sharing and telling their stories, some groups were organized with people that shared similar experiences and around the most common topics of the stories, including school days, friends, affections and work. Each group later prepared a poster to share these stories, using elements that could later be part of an application.
From the beginning to the end, they were reminded about the fact of them being the engineers for the afternoon, while we were listeners and observers looking forward to learn from them.

All in all, it was a great activity that gave us tons of feedback, notes and observations that will influence and lead our design. And not only was it helpful from this perspective, but also from the experience itself: they seemed very happy while sharing their stories among them, while we were listening. Yet another wonderful afternoon of participatory collaboration and fun.
On 5th and 6th October our 24 participants answered some questions and performed the post-test physical evaluation.
During these last two meetings, we received very nice feedback about the app and the exercises.

Most of the participants noticed physical improvements with the strength and balance training plans, they feel more active and stronger after these 12-weeks, and according to them the app motivated them to follow the training plan.
They also expressed a high desire to continue using the app and lean more about the iPad world.
Regarding, the impressions of the Active Lifestyle team, we are very very proud and glad! Our participants did a great job, presented high performance and were enthusiastic during the whole study.

We also want to say thanks to all the participants. And thanks to the Fachstelle für präventive Beratung Spitex Zürich and the Senioren Begegnungszentrum Baumgärtlihof for their support during the study.

Soon we will be back with details about the App Store version of the Active Lifestyle app, and statistical results of the study. Be tunned!
Yesterday we started the second edition of the ICT Laboratory that we run in collaboration with Kaleidoscopio's Elderly Services Centre.
There are 30 people enrolled for this edition, our of which 20 are participants from the First Edition!
Yesterday morning we gave the kickoff of the Lab with a fun brainstorming activity where we have imagined with them what they would learn at the end of the lab.
From this exercise, a long list of topics have been compiled with their expectations, which we will use to draw the program of the laboratory.
Going to conferences is always exciting and fun, and #collaborateCom2012 was not the exception. We were able to show to our fellow research folks not only what we do but how we do it, for whom and how passionate we are about it. The feedback was encouraging and confirms our strong scientific foundation.

A very interesting crowd gathered at the poster and demo session. Drinks and snacks fueled the discussions, with Bea presenting all the attendees the work done in ComeAlong.

We presented ComeAlong: Empowering Experience-sharing through Social Networks on Tuesday at the Collaborative Social Applications session, with Prof. Akhil Kuma as Session chair. Marcos stood in front of the audience and delivered the message.
Just to mention
  • Some people read our paper before the presentation
  • Some of them wanted to use ComeAlong right there!
Some interesting things about the venue
  • Pittsburgh has 446 bridges!
  • Some scenes from The Dark Knight Rises were filmed in Pittsburgh, and you could see people wearing Gotham-Pitt shirts.
  • There are hundreds of Italian restaurants, and there's even an Italian neighborhood.


Our team continues growing up!!! We are looking for passionate, fun and enthusiastic developers with experience in web, mobile or back-end development. You will be part of a big international group that works in a vibrant environment. We will offer you a scholarship and all the support for Visa / Immigration procedures. If you think you could be the one we are looking for, please contact us (email subject: deve_tn2012).
Simone Melchiori have worked to implement our future synchronized picture sharing feature for What's Up that will provide the means for a young user to guide the other through a set of resources that have been previously shared in real-time. Massimiliano has been working hard to implement a Web version of What's Up so that users can share pictures directly from their facebook albums and display them as in the What's Up version for the iPad. Simone Casagranda developed from the ground the whole version of What's Up for Android phones.

Simone Melchiori

Massimiliano Battan

Simone Casagranda
At the beginning of August 2012, the Active Lifestyle team with the support of Spitex Zürich and the Baumgärtlihof Center, started the Second Active Lifestyle Study in Switzerland. The study started with two classes to teach how to use the Active Lifestyle app, an iPad, and perform the strength and balance exercises supported by the app. At the end of the classes, all of the 27 participants received an iPad installed with our app and the material for performing exercises at home (resistance band, a pair of ankle weights and a Pilates ball).
This second study is 12 weeks long and aims to evaluate possible physical improvements in the balance and strength of our participants. Additionally, the study also investigates how the participants react to a social environment and to different motivation techniques.
Very soon we will be back with some videos showing images of the classes and impression of the participants, follow us!
Recently the Active Lifestyle team at ETH, Zürich, Maria, Eling de Bruin and Patrícia Silveira gave an interview to Linus Baur, from the seriorweb.ch (www.seniorweb.ch). During the interview they discussed the benefits of improving balance and strength, and how the Active Lifestyle app can help on that, while motivate and integrate them socially.

To see the complete news click here.
On 13th of August we will start the second ActiveLifestyle study in Zürich (Switzerland), in which the participants will follow a 12-weeks Balance and Strength training plans. The objective of the study is to discover how different persuasion techniques stimulate elderly people to perform physical exercises.

To collect participants had a meeting on 14th June 2012 at Baumgärtlihof, Horgen near Zürich. In this first presentation we explained the benefits of being physical active and showed the ActiveLifestyle app. The outcome was really motivating, and we already have some elderly participants willing to join our study. The next step is to perform more presentation with the support of Spitex Zürich.
On June 18th, our friends from Kaleidoscopio's Daily Center in Trento, visited us in our headquarters of the ICT Doctoral School in Povo, Trento. We have shared with them a wonderful and full day of playing with our apps, interacting with and learning from them.

The workshop was structured in two main sessions. The first one aimed at demoing our applications in focus groups where each of them had the opportunity of using the application directly, while a group of collaborators observed the activity with the goal of detecting posible usability issues that can be the input for our design.
The second session was about brainstorming with them around three main topics: communication with family and friends, keep ourselves active in both body and mind and sharing our life experiences and stories. The goal of the session was to get ideas directly from our potential users about what should we improve in our designs.

After 5 hours of collaboration, with pizza and sweets around, we finished the workshop with the hope of repeating the experience as soon as possible. Stay tuned for the news around what we have learnt from the workshop. There are lots of feedback and field notes to analyze now and work has just started.
Soudip Roy Chowdhury has presented "Assisting End-User Development in Browser-Based Mashup Tools" at 34th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2012) and has won the third prize under graduate category in the ACM Student Research Competition.
On May 29th, we have finished our first participatory designed technology lab with elders of the Daily Center, Kaleidoscopio. During the course of two months, we shared with them our knowledge and experience, following a program that was based on their own requests, which continuously evolved according to their advances and that ended up with the creation of a blog that will be updated and maintained by them. By all means, a wonderful experience that we will detail more in a future blog post. It was an amazing journey of learning not only for them, but, more importantly, for us.
And the best is yet to come: next Monday June 18th, they will be visiting us to see us working for real and to participate on the future design of our applications. They will become Software Engineers for a day! Stay tunned for more.
Eva van het Reve and Patrícia Silveira performed a two-week study to investigate the feasibility of the ActiveLifestyle app at Wollerau, Switzerland, as reported by the "Höfner Volksblatt" newspaper. The ActiveLifestyle app offers strength and balance exercise training plans to be performed autonomously at home by elderly users.
A total of 13 participants were involved in the study (75-85 years old) and most of them had never used an iPad before. The ActiveLifestyle app was approved by the participants, who expressed high intention to use it again, and affirmed that before the study they didn't feel motivated to perform exercises, but with the app's support, and it's inherent social connectedness, it was fun and exciting.
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University of Trento
Via Sommarive 5,
38123 Povo,
Trento, Italy
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University of Trento
Trento, Italy