Project Details


Elders living in assisted facilities suffer a serious sense of isolation and affective impoverishment, easily falling into a vicious cycle of demotivation and inactivity. Moving from the tenets of Self-Determination Theory, we propose to stimulate elders’ motivation to well-being by leveraging on the coupling of outdoor motor activity and social/affective relationships. To this aim, we will realize an innovative device, named Telecyclette, enabling elders to remotely ride a real bike in a real environment together with real buddies and in real time: elders will pedal on a stationary bike wearing a virtual reality setup that uses live video streaming to create the sense of telepresence onboard a bike actually ridden by a biking buddy. For that, the buddy’s bikes will be equipped with a 360-deg action cam mounted frontally (elders’ “eyes”), microphones (“ears”) and loudspeaker (“mouth”) to let elders feel as if they were physically biking and chatting together with the buddy on a tandem. Thanks to a tight collaboration between academics, assisted living facilities, families and local communities, we will i) develop the device; ii) study visuo-motor optimizations to improve interactions between elders and buddies; iii) assess the impact longitudinally on elders’ health along bio-psycho-social dimensions in real-world conditions at assisted living facilities; iv) stimulate public awareness. By adding environmental, social and affective motivational layers to motor activity, we will measure the capability of the Telecyclette to counter elders’ motivational decay. We expect this project to collect objective evidence demonstrating that combining recent technologies can make a change in how elders living in assisted living facilities and their families/friends reciprocally dedicate (part of) their time. This project will pave the way to large-scale adoption of the device in elders’ assisted facilities, contributing to opening these institutions to the outside world.
Effective start/end date01/05/202330/04/2027

Collaborative partners

  • Vita-Salute San Raffaele University (Joint applicant) (lead)
  • Università degli Studi di Milano (Project partner)


  • Velux Stiftung: DKK3,900,000.00


  • health and well-being
  • Physical activity
  • Socialization
  • older adults
  • Motivation
  • Virtual Reality
  • 360-degree video


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