Government funding boost to help older adults to ‘Breathe Happy’

Breathe Happy, UK based wellbeing platform in collaboration with The National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA) have been awarded Innovate UK grant in to build emotional and physical resilience in older adults who have been adversely affected by COVID-19.

This collaborative project, funded by Innovate UK, the UK’s Innovation Agency aims to deliver a personalised, remote wellbeing program, leveraging artificial intelligence (AI). Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £191 million to fund single and collaborative research and development projects as part of the Sustainable Innovation Fund over the next two years. The aim of these competitions is to help all sectors of the UK rebuild after the effects of COVID-19 and keep cutting edge projects and ideas alive. Currently, the Sustainable Innovation Fund is funding 1,103 projects, 1189 UK businesses and totalling over £130 million in support across the UK.

Breathe Happy, an online yoga and wellbeing platform that connects users directly to world-class instructors, will work with NICA and researchers at Newcastle University to design and deliver a personalised, remote wellbeing program (Move, Breathe and Connect), leveraging computer vision and cutting-edge emotional AI testing tools. Its overall aim will be to build physical and emotional resilience and aid recovery in older adults impacted by COVID-19.

Older adults over 60 are one of the most affected groups of COVID-19, not only by the number of infections but as a result of the change in their daily routines, the care and support they receive, their ability to stay socially connected, lack of physical contact and increased anxiety and fear of illness and death.*

To accurately measure the health outcomes and effectiveness of the programme they will bring together tech partners and researchers at Newcastle University to use a combination of existing and new techniques, including pose estimation and AI, to gather emotional insight. Regular physical and mental activity are evidenced to promote longevity and healthy ageing and this methodology, if found effective, could lead the way in the evaluation of large-scale wellbeing initiatives for both preventative care and recovery.