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Physical activity and successful aging
10th International EGREPA Conference

European Group for Research into Elderly and Physical Activity

14.09. - 16.09.2006 in Köln

Detection and anticipation of multiple dynamic objects - special problems for elderly?

Meeting Abstract

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  • corresponding author A.O. Effenberg - German Sport University Cologne, Germany
  • B. Dierke - University of Bonn, Germany

Physical activity and successful aging. Xth International EGREPA Conference. Cologne, 14.-16.09.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. Doc06pasa018

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: December 18, 2006

© 2006 Effenberg et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.




Complex situations are often characterized by special constellations of multiple dynamic objects, in city traffic as well as in a number of team games in sports. To act succesfully within such complex scenarios it is necessary to detect multiple dynamic objects nearly simultaneously. Beside object-detection also specification of detected objects (anticipation) is essential for action planning. The contribution focuses on a new computer-based visualization-test called ‘DAMDO’ which is created to test the ability of ‘Detection and Anticipation of Multiple Dynamic Objects’. Beside the test itself empirical data will be presented acquired for different age groups and for 4 vs. 8 dynamic object-constellations as well as different typs of scenarios: static collision-condition vs. interactive collision-condition.


A virtual space containing 4 or 8 dynamic objects (rolling balls of different colours) is created with ‚3D Game Studio 6’-Software and presented on a 21`` computer-monitor. Different speeds (constant) of balls had been oriented on typical values for city traffic and sports: 5, 15, 30 and 50 kilometers per hour. Two different typs of scenarios had been realized: (1) Static collision-condition: One of the rolling balls collides with a static pylon at the centre of the space, and (2) interactive collison-condition: Two rolling balls bang together anywhere within the space. Subjects (20-40-year old, 60+-year old) sat in front of the monitor with eyes 75cm distant to the screen and were asked to stop animation with identification of colliding ball(s) immediately. Screen was getting black, time was taken and subjects have to name the color of the colliding ball(s). Time as well as errors had been analysed.


Significant differences had been detected for different age groups, different collision-conditions and different numbers of objects. Older people needed more time and made more mistakes. On 4 objects scenarios (static condition) error rate was nearly identical for both age groups (20-40: 1.34 vs. 60+: 1.41) but time to decision ('costs') was significantly .41sec longer for 60+. On 8 objects scenarios (static condition) costs increased nearly identical for both age groups, but error rate for 20-40-year old remained constantly whereas it nearly doubled for 60+-year-old subjects.


Costs for a larger number of dynamic objects increased as well as for the interactive collision-condition. For older people especially interactive collision-condition seemed to be problematic. Further research is needed to investigate if training in team games in sports enhances the ability of detecting and anticipating multiple dynamic objects.