A Novel Electronic Musical Instrument Used as an Aid in the Prevention of Dementia

Natsuki Asakura, Yoshinobu Maeda, Mamoru Iwaki, Koji Tanaka, Tomoko Ichinose, Ryuhei Okuno, Kenzo Akazawa
Vol. 12 (2023) p. 253-260

The prevention of dementia is a pressing issue on a global scale. One of the most important recommendations in the World Health Organization’s guidelines entitled “Risk reduction of cognitive decline and dementia” (PA guidelines) is to take part in physical activity, “maintaining at least 3 metabolic equivalents of task (METs) per exercise for at least 10 minutes”. The authors believe that adding a musical performance to aerobic exercise makes the exercise more appealing, and provides the motivation to exercise and the encouragement to continue. The purpose of this study was to develop a new electronic musical instrument, Cymis-Foot, which has a built-in music score and has two functions. The first is that novices can play their favorite pieces easily using their feet to repeatedly push down onto a balloon, i.e. foot-stomping, while in a sitting position. When they do this, they force the pressure in the balloon to reach a threshold, and at a constant tempo the music is played smoothly. The second is that the PA guidelines can be easily satisfied with a performance of the Cymis-Foot. The METs can be calculated, as described in a previous report, by monitoring the heart rate during the performance and at rest. Eleven cognitively normal novices in their 20 s were able to perform pieces easily at between 40 and 160 bpm. The guidelines were still satisfied with foot-stomping from a greater height at a slower tempo, whereas five participants reported difficulty in satisfying the PA guidelines at 40 bpm.