There is a tight link between the rhythm of external information (e.g., auditory) and movement. It can be seen when we spontaneously or deliberately move on the beat of music (e.g., in dance), or when we enjoy performing physical and sport activities (e.g., running or cycling) together with music. This propensity to match movement to rhythm is natural, develops very precociously, and is likely hard-wired in humans, as shown by cognitive sciences and neurosciences. In this proposal, we exploit this compelling link between music and movement for boosting individual performance and enhancing health and wellness. This goal will be achieved by creating an intelligent technological architecture - BeatHealth. Our architecture will deliver embodied, flexible, and efficient rhythmical stimulation adapted to the individual's skills with the goal of enhancing or recovering features of movement performance (i.e., kinematics and physiological performance). This endeavour is highly multidisciplinary. It involves (i) fundamental research aimed at improving information parameters, for maximizing the beneficial effects of rhythmic stimulation on movement kinematics and physiology, (ii) technological development to achieve state-of-the-art system reliability, flexibility, and portability of the BeatHealth architecture, and (iii) the creation of a new IT service in the form of a network-based application for collecting on the fly kinematic data and sharing them with online with others (e.g., medical doctors, family, coach, etc). The beneficial effects of BeatHealth will be evaluated in patients with movement disorders (i.e., Parkinson's disease), and in healthy citizens of various ages with moderate physical activity.
The project capitalizes on the cutting-edge expertise and state-of-the-art technology of five top laboratories across four European countries: Motor control and neurosciences at Montpellier 1 University (France), Psycho-Acoustic and Musicology at the University of Ghent (Belgium), Bioengineering at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth (Ireland), e-Health at the Tecnalia foundation (Spain), and Movement disorders at the Montpellier Academic Hospital (France).