We interviewed the CEO of MIRA Rehab, winner of the AXA PPP Healthtech & You Awards where The Age of No Retirement was a partner. MIRA Rehab is a software platform that turns physical and cognitive exercises into video-games, making therapy easier to follow no matter how old or young you are. We were delighted that Cosmin and his colleagues won the award as it shows that good design works for all ages.

Can you tell our readers a bit about who you are?

I’m Cosmin Mihaiu, CEO & Co-founder at MIRA Rehab. I was born in 1989 in Romania, where I grew up. In 2012, after graduating Software Engineering at the Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, I moved to London where I founded MIRA Rehab, together with 3 of my Uni colleagues.

Can you tell us a bit about your role in this project/your motivation for making it.

MIRA started off as a student project between myself and my 3 Uni colleagues: Andrei Cantea, Andrei Dascalu and Alina Calin. The four of us realised people have a difficult time following their physiotherapy treatment, so we asked ourselves if patients wouldn’t be interested in playing their way to recovery. This led us to opening our own company, MIRA Rehab, with the mission to motivate people to get better in a faster, easy and fun way. MIRA is a software platform that turns physical and cognitive exercises into video-games, making therapy easier to follow. It’s designed as a tool for therapists, to be applicable to any patient of any age, and we’re very happy our system is used with patients varying in age between 3 to 102 years old. My role in MIRA is to find commercial collaborators to help their patient population have a fun and convenient time during their therapy. We’re very pleased MIRA is being used in over 60 institutions worldwide, helping about 600 patients each month.

"I would say that a society in which age does not define us would mean that everyone, no matter their age, has access to the same services and opportunities, with no differences in offering."

Cosmin Mihaiu.

Photo by Mira, Cosmin Mihaiu

Has this project changed how you view age?

I wouldn’t necessarily say it has changed how I view age, but it has certainly confirmed my believes that any person, no matter their age or condition, can play video-games to improve their health. When we started, most people directed us to work with children, given that we had built video-games. But we were sure that seniors could enjoy our games just as much and I’m glad we have proven the benefits MIRA can bring to older people.

Do you think how old you are today, is relevant to how you think about yourself and why?

I am sure my age influences my views on life. My priorities now are building our business and establishing a career for myself, so that my future will be better. In the future, when I will be older, hopefully wiser and will probably have a family with children, my priorities will be on making sure my family has the best they can.

"MIRA is a tool for therapists, to be applicable to any patient of any age, and we’re very happy our system is used with patients varying in age between 3 to 102 years old."

Cosmin Mihaiu.

Photo by Mira, Cosmin Mihaiu

Do you think how old you are today, changes how people think about you and why?

I do think age has an important factor on how a person is being seen. I remember, at the beginning when we started out with MIRA, we were four 21 year olds, which had many people doubting our credibility. Had we been as twice as old we would probably have shown more credibility. But I also think the person’s history and accomplishments are actually more important. For example, as time went by and we established more collaborations, our company started getting taken more seriously, especially due to the highly respectable institutions we were working with. So, in a way, the track record is more important, but it takes time (i.e. age) to build.  

Is there a difference between people who know you and people who you have just met? Could you give us an example?

I think there is a difference in how I view people that I know, compared to people I have just met. People that I know, especially closer people, I know I can trust and I usually know their capabilities. Although I tend to trust meeting new people, I wouldn’t know them enough to be able to trust them as I do people I already know.

Photo by Mira, Cosmin Mihaiu

What is the biggest stress in your life at the moment? Does this have anything to with how old you are?

I don’t think it has to do with how old I am. My biggest stress at the moment is building the company with all the challenges it presents. The same stress I could be having in 10 years’ time if that’s when I would have decided to build this company.

What do you think are the biggest challenges we share across all ages?

I think the biggest challenge has actually to do with our wellbeing and maintaining or building a healthy life. Some people already do it much better than others, but I find that my biggest challenge is to prioritise myself and do healthier things. For example, having a healthier diet, going to the gym more often and enjoying the moment.  

Mira, Cosmin Mihaiu

What can you learn from people who are older?

I strongly believe it’s important to learn from older people, given the life experience they have and help they can provide for us not make the same mistakes they might have made.

What can you learn from people who are younger?

We can see in the younger generations the trends the world is going towards and it’s important to observe these, potentially using the advancements for everyone’s benefit. The younger generations have or will have access to opportunities and technologies we may only dream of, which can strongly improve our way of living, especially wellbeing.  

What do you think is the benefit of a society where our age does not define us?

I would say that a society in which age does not define us would mean that everyone, no matter their age, has access to the same services and opportunities, with no differences in offering; all products are built for everyone to enjoy in the same way. I think our most important purpose (for any age) is to ensure the younger generations, our children and grandchildren have access to a better world than we do. 

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