Tag Archives: older adult

Home Automation 3.0

Home automation is nothing new. Hobbyists have been connecting gadgets into their appliances and fixtures for decades. But now, home automation is becoming more accessible to the amateur and a lot more aesthetically-pleasing, in terms of design. Google’s Nest allows people to control their thermostat using their cell phone. Its simple circular design most likely appealed to Google since not all of their designs are as clean.

Belkin’s WeMo allows users to control their lighting and view the cost for using each appliance with a simple phone app. Clearly the concept of ‘quantified self’ (viewing data about yourself to inform future behaviors) is extending to ‘quantified space’.

 

Years ago researchers at Georgia Tech began the Aware Home initiative began to think abut smarter spaces, specifically for older adults, mainly using sensors. How can we push the boundary beyond simple sensors to track presence or appliance usage, and towards innovative solutions that are easy for people of all ages to use. The added challenge is that older adults may have a higher chance of disability, and no two disabilities are alike. Universal usability, in general, may be as difficult as an NP complete problem. But, universal usability for quantified living spaces sounds feasible.

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ponder this..

The most recent OpenIdeo challenge is asking people to think about how we should maintain a state of wellbeing and thrive as we age. Sponsored by the Mayo Clinic, a non-profit medical research group, I think think poses an excellent question. With more people preferring virtual exercise, the rise of computer desk-jobs, and fewer people buying fresh (as opposed to canned and frozen) foods, how can we promote healthier lives as we age?

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A paper by Dr. Becca Levy shows not only did younger people have negative ideas about aging, but older adults often negatively self-stereotype themselves. And, these negative thoughts begin to form long before becoming an older adult. My solution to this problem? Older adults need to play an active role in new age culture. With my research, I plan to engage this demographic in today’s digital culture but also to link the virtual world with the real world, encouraging intergenerational collaboration both online and offline. While that may be a lofty and seemingly impossible goal, I don’t think we’re too far off. HCI researchers are developing tools to promote integenerational communication for family members. Collaboration is the next step, and we need to look beyond the family. Such a narrow point of view!

What to IDEO-ers think?

See for yourself.

 

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Crowdsourcing + Things

I recently received a travel scholarship from Google to attend the NSBE National Convention! How exciting!! Also included is a special technical interview bootcamp on behalf of the Google Pittsburgh office. I get so nervous even with the idea of technical interviews, even though I know I can do the work with my eyes closed.

That being said, I’ve finished my presentation for the crowdsourcing and DIY tech talk that I will be giving at the NSBE National Convention. If you’re going, be sure to check out the Engineering Our Future tech talk series on Saturday.

Still waiting to conduct interviews for my Wisely Connected project. (I just made up that name for my communication + older adults project, cool?) But when legal offices give my independent living homes the OK, I will surely be excited to interview at least 4 people in 1 day. By the time I get done, I’ll be the interview queen!

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