App combined with interactive playground helps young asthma patients

Children with asthma tend to avoid physical activity due to shortness of breath.

They are often found along the sidelines in gym class or do not join in schoolyard games. Unfortunately, physical activity is essential to keeping their asthma under control. For this reason, Medisch Spectrum Twente’s Paediatric clinic opened AirPlay today, a new and interactive playground. The concept merges physical activity with monitoring.

Move, Move  

Paediatrician Boony Thio was in search of a method to encourage asthma patients to get moving and increase contact with other children while also being able to improve monitoring between hospital visits. What better way than to employ the method most effective amongst children: games. We all remember the impressive effects of Pokémon Go; a trend that got large groups of children and young people outside and active again.


Close collaboration between MST, ZGT, University of Twente and Roessingh Research and Development (RRD) resulted in combining an interactive playground with an asthma app. By applying games and technology, children are reactivated, socially motivated and with the help of ‘games’ they are learning everything about physical activity and self-monitoring. 

The doctor knew everything about symptoms and behavioural patterns and the researchers from the UT Biomedical Signals & Systems and Human Media Interaction (HMI) departments are right at home in wearables, data and monitoring. Roessingh Research and Development contributed knowledge of home-based tracking and monitoring. The UT researchers use relevant data trends to uncover and analyse the way these young patients develop themselves. Do they remain stable or do they decline? Together, this forms invaluable information for the patients and their parents, but also for the doctor performing consultations.

Pioneers in Health Care Innovation Fund

The project, AIRplay: Self-management for young children with asthma, was made possible by an innovation voucher from the Pioneers in Health Care Innovation fund. Launched in 2014, the Pioneers in Health Care Innovation fund aims to stimulate cooperation between medical specialists and MIRA researchers. This leads to innovative technologies which improve patient care.

About Medisch Spectrum Twente

The Medisch Spectrum Twente (MST) is a teaching hospital in Twente with complete care ranging from basic to specialised, to (in some departments) academic care. We are also an educational centre where research is conducted. MST has 600 beds. MST is the regional trauma centre with a catchment area of 263,000 residents. MST has 3,750 employees (including 232 medical specialists). MST is a component of the Santeon group of the seven teaching hospitals in the Netherlands. 

About Roessingh Research and Development

Roessingh Research and Development (RRD) is a large scientific research institute focused on rehabilitation technology and telemedicine. RRD words in close collaboration with Roessingh Centre for Rehabilitation and the University of Twente as well as with (international) partners. More information:

Janneke van den Elshout
Press relations (available Mon-Fri)