Being elderly does not mean that you are in any way incapable of learning new things. In fact the older people relish a challenge and are always keen to pursue new ways to keep the mind and body active.

Being reminded how to do something that they haven’t attempted for some time can also prove beneficial to the older person. Pursuing such activities can improve a person’s quality of life by encouraging an active mind and even light exercise in some circumstances.

VITAS platform has provided an Education System to assist the older person with these challenges. The application suggests a number of courses available under different themes. The user can choose a course and partake in the activity. Courses can include things that test the user mentally, physically or both.





Educational applications retrieve data via the UCH and UiTV. All text material is relayed to the user interface (UiTV) via the Target Adapter in the UCH. This data is updated as required when the user navigates through the application.

The Target Adapter may also return URL’s for audio, video or image media to the UI. The UI uses the Microsoft Windows Media Player API therefore the URL points to compatible files via the following streaming protocols:

  • Microsoft Media Services (MMS)
  • Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP)
  • Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)

A fail-over mechanism is built into the media server which will switch the streaming protocol if the attempted protocol fails in the order listed above. Multiple users can view the same data at the same time.

Application Navigation




Selecting Education from the VITAS Main Menu brings the user to the Education on TV main menu as shown in the above figure.

The screen consists of a list of educational course themes retrieved from the VITAS Central Server and a description/summary area on the right hand side.

The list of course themes consists of an icon describing the themes and the title. In the description/summary area on the right hand side there is a description of the highlighted theme.

The user is able to navigate around the list of themes by using the left/right/up/down keys.

The OK button on the remote displays a list of categories that available for each theme.




Having selected an education Theme the user can now navigate through the available categories for that theme. This information is retrieved from the VITAL central database via the UCH.

Using the up/down arrows and the buttons available at the bottom of the screen a user then selects a category using the OK button. This takes the user to the course index screen to the user containing details of the highlighted theme.




Once the course has been selected by the user they are taken to the Education on TV Playback screen. This screen is made up of a screen description, a text area for course content, a video/media area for any available multimedia and navigation buttons at the bottom of the screen.

The course material is retrieved from the VITAS Central Database and displayed to the user. Text based content is placed in the text area and is formatted to give the user an easy to read set of instructions/information set.

Multimedia content description is retrieved from the VITAS Central Database but the actual Multimedia is streamed from the VITAS Central Media Server and displayed in the media area of the screen.

The content may consist of more than one page therefore navigation is provided via buttons displayed at the bottom of the screen. If the multimedia material is video or audio feedback it can be controlled by the media control buttons displayed just underneath the media.


VITAS and the VITAL project were co-financed by the European Commission.