An exercise and gaming app for senior users with mild cognitive impairment is set for its first user tests, report developers from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

The app, called mPACT, integrates low-impact chair exercises and brain training games. The goal is to boost cognitive function and mind-body coordination in adults with cognitive decline, said Lenora Smith, Ph.D., RN, and colleagues.

 A one-year study, funded by the American Nurses Foundation, will measure the app’s appeal and effectiveness among senior users. Developers will test ease of use, the app’s impact on heart rate and cognition, and the amount of low-impact exercise necessary for users to reach a target heart range. 

Design features such as large type cater to senior users, the developers said. Future versions may also incorporate a social media function and cumulative gold star scoring, so that users can communicate and compete. 

Motivating senior users is a key goal, the developers added. “We hope … to do more gamification of this app and exploit those features to encourage users to do the exercises,” reported Vinny Argentina, UAH assistant professor of art, animation and game design.