Using Technology to Increase Activity, Creativity and Engagement for Older Adults Through Visual Art

  • Alexander Paczynski
  • Laura Diment
  • David HobbsEmail author
  • Karen Reynolds
Part of the Human–Computer Interaction Series book series (HCIS)


With an ageing population it is critical to develop strategies to assist older adults to remain physically and cognitively active and to reduce sedentary behaviour. Previous research has shown a positive relationship between art therapy and successful ageing, yet traditional art practices may be challenging for older adults. Virtual reality systems eliminate mess and the need for fine motor control, allowing people of all ages and abilities to access an alternate artistic environment. Digital art, created using novel software, has the potential to encourage physical activity, creativity and provide a leisurely experience. Splashboard uses the Microsoft Kinect camera and enables participation in art through virtual button activation. Through arm and body movements a multi-coloured digital canvas can be created, saved, printed and displayed. The software was trialled with 15 older adults within a residential aged care setting. During the art sessions the system tracked body position and hand movements. An exercise was integrated into Splashboard to assess reaction time, attention, memory and hand-eye coordination. Participant feedback on the joys and challenges of using Splashboard was collected via questionnaires. Results indicated that the software successfully engaged most participants, encouraged physical activity and cognitive thought, and allowed the residents to enjoy the process of creating art.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander Paczynski
    • 1
  • Laura Diment
    • 1
    • 2
  • David Hobbs
    • 1
    Email author
  • Karen Reynolds
    • 1
  1. 1.Medical Device Research Institute, College of Science and EngineeringFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Engineering ScienceUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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