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2008.04.30 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@mail.unomaha.edu

UNO Students Develop Therapy System for Residents at Douglas County Health Center

Omaha - A stimulation therapy system for older adults living with various physical and mental disabilities, developed by graduate students at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), will soon be tested in Omaha.

UNO students in the College of Information Science and Technology (IS&T) developed the computer-assisted system in conjunction with the Douglas County Health Center, 4102 Woolworth Ave. Douglas County Health Center residents will be the first to use the system on Monday, May 5.

The Computer Assisted Recreational Therapy System allows residents to interact socially, connect to the outside world and improve their physical and emotional wellbeing. It is an arcade-like environment that offers games and fitness to improve the physical and cognitive functioning of the residents using custom developed and off-the-shelf hardware and software. Examples include memory-building games, puzzles, Internet news, music programs, and bicycle and automobile driving simulators.

The Douglas County Health Center provides long-term care and assisted living services for approximately 275 residents in Omaha. It was founded in 1887.

“The UNO students played a vital role in bringing computer technology into the lives of our residents,” said Mary Powell, director of nursing at the Douglas County Health Center. “Many of our residents are unable go out into the world due to physical and medical limitation. Through this project, the students have brought the world to them.”

IS&T graduate students seeking a master of science degree in Management Information Systems created the project in a newly created course.

UNO professors Ann Fruhling and Gert-Jan de Vreede guided the project this semester.

* *

UNO will celebrate its 100th anniversary beginning October 8, 2008. This celebration will recognize the partnership among the City of Omaha, its citizens and UNO to build a vibrant and dynamic community. The centennial theme is “UNO: Central To Our City Since 1908.” This theme acknowledges the past contributions of UNO to the community and sets the stage for great things to come.

UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908. For Centennial information, go to http://www.unomaha.edu/100/.

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