MASAKO

KITAZAKI

Interaction Design & Design Research

Project Summary

Connected Resources is a family of combinable objects and its online platform that add digital capabilities to mundane objects, in order to support everyday strategies of resourcefulness in older people. Deviating from the mainstream assistive approach of designing technology for older people based on stereotype images of them as passive and technology-incompetent, the project saw them as diverse and capable of dealing with the daily challenges they encounter as they age. By creating Connected Resources, we aim to define the design of so-called gerontechnologies that can be adapted and improvised by its users while remaining appropriate for and generating value in a wide variety of situations.

Connected Resources was designed in a project Resourceful Aging which  brought together designers, computer scientists, social scientists and professional practitioners from Delft University of Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology, Avans University of Applied Sciences and Philips Design.

Client: Connected Everyday Lab, faculty of Industrial Design Engineering in TU Delft

Duration: September 2017 - April 2018

Methodologies: Research through Design, ethnographic study

My Role: Design research, conceptualization, interaction design, product design, UI desgin in the second iteration

What we made: Product mock-ups, Application, Design fiction video

A messaging bell plays and records voice messages when moved intentionally or unintentionally.

A lighting clip can be

pinched to objects and glows

in response to human proximity.

A linking frame allows users to keep digital pictures and videos together, accessed by a phone or tablet placed close to it.

A navigating compass records

the locations where it has been and helps users trace back their steps.

When two objects are physically combined, the new capability is configured by exchanging the objects’ input and output functions.

An application shows how objects are used based on user- and crowd-generated data, allowing users to learn new coping strategies.

Background of the project

The demographic trend of ageing society has spurred designers and developers to provide the older people with smart-connected products that support vital and valuable activities in homes (Nicenboim, Giaccardi, & Kuijer 2018; Soro, Ambe & Brereton 2017; Vaisutis et al. 2014). However, these so-called gerontechnologies tend to be created based on single-use scenarios that are narrowly predefined based on stereotypes of the older people as passive, immobile and technologically incompetent. Failing to address the variety of situations older people experience, these smart products may limit such individuals’ meaningful activities and autonomy, as well as create economic losses (Giaccardi, Kuijer & Neven 2016; Hyysalo 2006; Neven 2010).

To address this issue,a project named Resourceful Aging was developed by bringing together designers, computer scientists, social scientists and professional practitioners from Delft University of Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology, Avans University of Applied Sciences and Philips Design with the goal of researching and designing an internet of things (IoT) solution that empowers the older people to age resourcefully. Stepping away from stereotypes of the older people and instead viewing them as capable of overcoming daily challenges (Giaccardi, Kuijer & Neven 2016), Connected Resources was created, forming a set of connected objects that can be adapted and improvised during use. This generated value in a wide variety of situations and allowed the design to encourage resilience and independence among the older people during their day-to-day lives.

The book "Resoruceful Ageing" shares you findings and lessons learnt of this project. Go to ISSUU

2017 Masako Kitazaki